How to Optimize Facebook Ads Campaigns for Tours and Activities | Orioly

How to Optimize Facebook Ads Campaigns for Tours and Activities

Striking visuals and compelling storytelling are key when promoting travel products. And when it comes to inspiring travelers by combining these two elements, there are no better social networks than Facebook and Instagram.

However, reaching your goals may take time if you rely only on organic engagement. To speed things up, tour operators usually run paid ads.

But be careful!

If you don’t have a strategy and your campaigns are not optimized, you might be spending more on advertising than you will get back through bookings.

You will learn in this article how to optimize your paid campaigns on Facebook and Instagram in order to spend less and increase your bookings.

This is why tour operators should be using Facebook Ads to promote tours and activities

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With more than 4 billion active users combined, Facebook and Instagram are among the most popular social networks worldwide. Because of that, it is most likely your ideal customer is active on these networks, and so should you.

A big plus of running paid ads through Facebook’s ad platform is that it is very easy to target specific types of people there. Facebook Ads allows you to create custom audiences based on people’s interests. Which can be the outdoors, wine, hiking, amusement parks, museums, and so on.

No wonder 92% of social marketers are using Facebook for advertising.

Another big advantage of this platform is that you have different ad options. You can choose from boosted posts, carousel ads, single-image ads, lead ads, and video ads.

Tour operators can combine these different ad formats to increase their conversions, hence, their ROI.

How to reduce your costs and increase your sales using Facebook Ads

Many marketers don’t use Facebook Ads’ full potential for advertising. This becomes clear since only 45% of ads use interest targeting.

Bad targeting equals fewer conversions and poor campaign results. Other common mistakes when running ads are:

  • Broad location targeting
  • Wrong audience demographics
  • Misusing of CTA’s
  • Wrong goal settings

If you are making one or multiple of these mistakes, don’t panic. Check out these tips to optimize your campaigns and increase your Facebook Ads ROI.

Start with a Facebook Like campaign

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If your Facebook business page has less than 1000 followers, you should start with a like campaign before running any other ads.

The idea of building an audience is not to show that you have a bunch of followers. More important than that, a relevant audience will give you insights regarding your potential customers, will generate engagement to your posts and will increase the trust in your business.

The bottom line is that you will increase the ROI of your future campaigns by building a qualified audience on your page.

Tour operators can create a ‘Page Likes’ campaign targeting people that are in their destination and have interests that best relate to their business.

For example, a tour operator running a wine tasting tour in the city of Porto could select a 30-mile radius around the city and target people older than 18 years old that have drinking interests.

Your ad should showcase your company. A brief summary of your company followed by an authentic photo or short video of your tours should do the job to bring followers to your page.

TIP: Remember to exclude from your campaign people that already like your page. This way you optimize your budget.

Setup the right objectives for your campaigns

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For each campaign you create on Facebook Ads you should choose an objective. This could be to increase your website traffic, gain more followers, boost your conversions, get more engagement or generate leads.

The reason Facebook gives you multiple objective options is to auto-optimize your campaigns according to your goals.

So, for example, if you are running a Facebook Like campaign and choose the ‘Messages’ objective, Facebook will automatically optimize your campaigns to reach people who are most likely to send you a message instead of following your page.

The most popular campaign objective amongst tour operators is ‘Conversions’. That’s because Facebook will auto-optimize the campaign to deliver you new leads and bookings.

TIP: Make sure Facebook Pixel is correctly installed on your website, this way Facebook will be able to better optimize your campaigns according to your objectives.

Create remarketing campaigns

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Facebook allows you to show ads to people that have previously interacted with your ads, posts, website or page. Remarketing campaigns are perfect to increase your results, as people seeing your ads will be already familiar with your brand.

This feature is also an important piece of a Facebook Ad Funnel. This is basically a set of ads with different goals that will push users down the buyer’s journey until they are ready to book with you.

Let me explain it further to you. A simple Facebook Ad Funnel consists basically of four stages.

  • Brand awareness ad
  • Free value ad
  • Trust ad
  • Sale ad

Brand awareness ad: Your goal at this stage is to drive traffic to your website in order to raise brand awareness. Use the ‘Learn More’ CTA for this ad.

Free value ad: In the second stage you want more information about your potential customer, especially their email address. For this purpose, you should offer something valuable in exchange for their information, such as a destination guide or something specific related to your business. The CTA should be ‘Download’.

Trust ad: The goal now is to build further trust in your brand. You will do that by showcasing why you are the number one choice for visitors looking for your tour segment in your destination. Use the ‘Learn More’ CTA.

Sale ad: Finally you will ask for the sale. Use a compelling visual that showcases your tour and write a brief description of it. Don’t mention the price in the ad. The CTA for could be ‘Book Now’ or ‘Send Message’.

Users that go through the ad funnel are one step closer to booking with you than users that are exposed to an isolated ad.

A/B test your ads

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A great optimization tip to increase your CTR and conversion rate is to A/B test your ads. But what is that?

A/B testing is a Facebook Ads feature that allows you to run different versions of the same ad in order to find the one that performs the best.

An ad variation contains a small change in the graphics, colors, message, CTA, audience settings and even a change in the whole theme of the ad.

If you want to save your budget and find the best-performing ad for your campaign in no time I recommend you to do the following:

  1. Create 2-3 highly differentiated variations of your ad and find the one that works the best in general.
  2. Take the winning ad from the first test and make another 3 variations but with small changes and run a second A/B test.

The winning variation of the second A/B test will be very close to the best-performing ad you can have for your campaign.

TIP: Wait until you have at least 100 conversions on each variation in order to select the best-performing ad. More conversions per variation lead to a more accurate result.

Bonus tip: Fine-tune your target audience

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As we have discussed at the beginning of this article, optimizing the audience targeting has a positive impact on your campaigns. It will reduce your costs and improve your results with Facebook Ads.

If your ads are being displayed to people in the wrong geographic location, that have interests not related to your business, with demographics that don’t match your ideal customer, or that already have reached the goal of your campaign, sorry to inform you but you are throwing money away.

People that have already converted to one of your ads should be moved to the next stage of the ad funnel or stop seeing your ads if they have already reached your campaign goal.

You can easily do that in two steps:

  1. Create a Custom Audience containing the people who have visited specific pages on your website, or performed specific actions (e.g. downloaded a city guide).
  2. Use the EXCLUDE feature when setting up your ad campaign and select the group you created in the previous step.


Facebook Ads has proved to be a powerful platform when it comes to promoting tours and activities. But many tour operators drain their marketing budget with poorly designed campaigns.

This article has presented useful tips for tour operators to optimize their Facebook Ads campaigns and make the most of their budget.

  • Build an audience with a Facebook Like campaign.
  • Choose the right objectives for their campaigns.
  • Use retargeting to create a Facebook Ad Funnel.
  • Create high-converting ads through A/B testing.
  • Improve their audience targeting based on their ideal customer.

If these tips were useful, we invite you to download our guide on How to Sell Tours With Facebook. This ebook will give you valuable insights on how to use the most popular social media to sell your tours. Download this resource for free here.

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