Travel PPC: Top Advertisers, Keywords & Destinations [Report]


Search marketing intelligence company AdGooroo has released its annual report providing insight into U.S. travel advertising, which was the seventh highest spending paid search category last year.

About 12,700 advertisers spent more than $750 million on more than 50,000 travel-related keywords in Google AdWords. Those keywords averaged a 4.18 percent click-through rate at an average cost per click of $0.86, AdGooroo reported.

Here are some highlights from the report.

Top 10 Paid Search Advertisers in Travel

AdGooroo collected Google AdWords data for desktop and tablet users for 2012 and 2013. The competition is getting stiff and many sites saw a dramatic increase or decrease in their ranking from one year to the next. led the way in 2013 with 793 million impressions, followed by TripAdvisor (781 million impressions) and Priceline (724 million impressions). Here are the full rankings for the top 10 advertisers for both years:

Top Travel Advertisers in Paid Search

The most notable differences from 2012 to 2013 were's increase from seventh to first place and's drop from first place to fifth. upped their game in 2013 by televising a series of commercials as an attempt to take over control of the U.S. travel market. Interestingly, in 2013 was the second highest spending company on paid search among all advertisers (not just travel) in the United Kingdom and France.

Top 20 Most-Clicked Travel Keywords

As a means of determining buying behaviors of Americans, AdGooroo also provided the top 20 most clicked keywords from January to April 2014. These keywords are:

  • Expedia
  • Cheap Flights
  • Travelocity
  • Southwest
  • Jetblue
  • Priceline
  • Orbitz
  • US Airways
  • Amtrak
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Enterprise
  • Carnival Cruise
  • Hotwire
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Vrbo
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Cheap Tickets
  • Airbnb
  • Royal Caribbean

As you'll notice, the most clicked keyword list is largely dominated by travel sites and airlines, not destinations.

Top 10 Destination Keywords for 2014 (Thus Far)

Even though none of the destinations below made the list of top travel keywords they do provide insight into where people plan on traveling this year. Here are the travel destination keywords that received the most clicks from January to April 2014:

  • Disney World
  • Universal Studios
  • Disneyland
  • Disney
  • Walt Disney World
  • Las Vegas
  • Florida
  • Puerto Rico
  • Hawaii
  • Dominican Republic

Disney is clearly dominating the first half of the destination list, as Disney properties remain one of the top summer destinations for families.

About the author

Ashley Zeckman is the director of strategy and development for Gruen Agency, a Minneapolis-based digital marketing agency. She is responsible for the digital marketing strategy for the organization, which includes branding, search engine optimization, social media, content marketing, and PR.

Prior to joining Gruen Agency, Ashley was the director of marketing and client relations for Benovate, a population health management company. Ashley also held the position of marketing manager for TopRank Online Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Her areas of expertise include content marketing, social media marketing, communications, client relations, integrated marketing, marketing strategy, SEO, digital PR, blogging, B2B and B2C marketing, customer segmentation, and social media strategy.