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AirBnB Leveraged Google Display Ads To Reach New Audience

AirBnB Leveraged Google Display Ads To Reach New Audience

airbnbFounded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone or tablet. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions. Airbnb has connected travelers with unique spaces across the world since 2008, providing an alternative travel experience to all. Acting as a platform for guests and hosts, Airbnb is a leading community-driven hospitality company.

The whole vision of Airbnb is to make it easy to book an informal accommodation as in hotel. “Our vision is that today if you are going to a city you see that doors are locked to you but tomorrow you are going to the same city you see we are unlocking that doors, giving you access to all the people and making possible for you to experience the local culture in that city and that is what derives us” Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb said. Airbnb tends to benefit both hosts and travelers. Hosts get to meet people from around the world while making a little extra money, and travelers can often stay for less than the cost of a hotel room.

The only way Airbnb could reach to its international audience was through online advertisement. When Airbnb started targeting audience with Google Adwords, it gave them an entirely new audience to a whole new level. More specifically, Airbnb reached to its foreign audience mainly through google display networks. They were looking forward for platforms and channels that could allow them to target specific audience particularly by geography. They went to google first because google is having the best targeting tools in the world, they put these ads out there and target those ads to people who were searching and viewing contents related to travel. Nathan Blecharczyk, Co-founder of Airbnb said to google in an interview “Google has been tremendously cost efficient at this scale. When something is working we turn it up and when something is not working we try to optimize it or turn it off, its tools are definitely the most powerful”. According to Joe Gebbia, another co-founder of Airbnb, Airbnb’s relationship with google has grown stronger and stronger as years passed and as they wanted to enter new markets, google was like a partner to them. Airbnb has always been able to rely on google as it educates them about the latest features and how to map these features into the business.

How they leveraged Google display:

When showing ads on the Display Network, they reached a wide range of customers with broad interests, chose which sites or pages to appear on, and engaged users with appealing ad formats i.e.

  • Reach new customers: Capture someone’s attention at different points in the buying cycle. For example, displaying ads on google display network when someone searches anywhere on google related to travel.
  • Select where your ads appear: Within the Display Network, you can choose more specifically where you want your ads to appear – you can select types of pages or specific websites for your ads, as well as audiences to show your ads to.
  • Engage users with appealing ad formats: Text, image, video, or rich media formats can appear on the Display Network. For example, look at this Ad, how an attractive poster has been used.


To get to where it is today, Airbnb had to understand its customers better. Working with a team of data scientists, it created sophisticated models to estimate customer LTV(Lifetime value is a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer). The LTV calculation is a proprietary model based on a wide range of factors: customer location, travel distance, search keyword and much more. That LTV figure determines Airbnb’s cost per acquisition. Airbnb’s search team also used flexible budgets to reach all consumers the moment they’re ready to book.

Airbnb’s approach enables its search team to focus on driving long-term value for the business. As a result, Airbnb has been able to connect with enormous customers from AdWords over the past time. Airbnb shares, “AdWords has always given us new and innovative ways to reach audiences that will drive maximum value for our business.” Airbnb seems to be a great example of a company that started out struggling, as any startup might, and rose to the top by knowing their market and taking advantage of opportunities. I can’t wait to see how Airbnb does in the next few months.

Image Credits: Airbnb

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