How I Got A 44.57% Click-Through Rate On An Airline Complain Ad

As a Facebook Ad specialist, I know as well as anyone that PPC campaigns can help you connect with niche targeted audiences. You can get your ad in front of almost anyone if you know how to reach them.

You can think outside the box with these ad campaigns, too. You can promote your own resume, reach out to a small list of relevant clients, or even file a customer service complaint through PPC ads in order to get the needed attention.

I did this recently, running LinkedIn Ads to the managers at Turkish Airlines in hopes that they’d help me resolve a customer service issue. I got more than 50% of people who viewed the ad to click. And in this post, I’m going to show you exactly how I got results, and how you can use this strategy for your own benefit, too.

Why I Chose to Run a Complaint Ad: The Backstory

A few weeks ago, I used this to my advantage after Turkish Airlines made me miss a connected flight and then proceeded to make the rest of my trip even worse. After waiting for two hours in lines with customer service at the airport, they insisted they’d pay for a hotel room and to show the boarding pass once there. Once at the hotel, however, and I asked if they could help, they simply responded with “I’m afraid not.”

I didn’t want to waste any more time with helplines that had no interest in actually helping. After paying for the hotel out of my own pocket, I started strategizing a few ad campaigns so I could take matters into my own hands.

The next day, I hooked up to the Turkey Airlines’ inflight WiFi and started up a LinkedIn Ads campaign. My goal was to write about my negative experience, get management’s attention, and receive a proper solution to the issue.

This is the PPC equivalent of shoving your complaints in management’s face, with the goal of having them asking each other “have you seen that ad complaining about us?”

The Strategy

LinkedIn Ads have outstanding targeting abilities on the professional level. You can choose to reach, for example, managers who work at the company headquarters of Turkish Airlines. Unlike a standard Yelp review that may be addressed by a marketing manager, these ads were going to be seen by the individuals who had the ability to do something about it.

You can see exactly who my ad targeted here:

How I Got A 44.57% Click-Through Rate On An Airline Complain Ad

How I Got A 44.57% Click-Through Rate On An Airline Complain Ad

By targeting management who worked at the company’s headquartered location, I was able to ensure that high-rank roles like CEOs, directors, seniors, VPs, and high-level managers would see the ad. (For what it’s worth, for other campaigns, I’ve also targeted those who worked in marketing or PR. It depends on what your specific goal is).

In two days, I only spent $ 12.15 on this campaign, detailing my poor experience written as a negative review that would undoubtedly be persuasive if published online:

How I Got A 44.57% Click-Through Rate On An Airline Complain Ad

That, as it turns out, was more than enough.

The Results

After two days and $ 12.15, I’d gotten 460 impressions and 205 clicks, resulting in an insanely high CTR of 44%. There was only a $ 0.06 cost-per-click (CPC).

How I Got A 44.57% Click-Through Rate On An Airline Complain Ad

Even better, I started getting results in the form of direct actions. People seeing my ad were sending me LinkedIn requests asking me for more information. Within a matter of days, the company sent me an email with an EMD cheque for the full amount I’d spent on the hotel.

It was some of the fastest and most thorough customer service I’d seen, and was lightyears ahead of what anyone at a help desk could have done for me.

More Proof This Strategy Works

If you’re thinking “that’s great, Sarah, but that was just once,” there’s good news; I’ve used this same strategy before to my success.

A few months ago, I had another negative experience at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Some important background here: I just so happen to be a Spire Elite member, which is IGH hotels’ elite status, with a complimentary room upgrade supposedly being part of those benefits. On this particular incident, however, I wasn’t offered the upgrade even after I requested it.

I took to ad campaigns to see what I could accomplish. I created campaigns targeting those who worked at IGH hotel’s headquarters with the following ad:

How I Got A 44.57% Click-Through Rate On An Airline Complain Ad

In this particular case, I targeted ads on Facebook in addition to LinkedIn to really make them feel like I’m absolutely everywhere and unavoidable. (Thanos, as it turns out, may not be inevitable, but I wanted to prove that I was.) This was also useful in reaching different employees, as some use the platforms differently.

Even on a CPM of $ 30 with a CTR around 30%, I was still paying only $ 0.10/click.

How I Got A 44.57% Click-Through Rate On An Airline Complain Ad

Soon after I start running the ad, I get an email from IHG’s Executive Liaison. In it, they had CC’d the hotel’s manager and requested that he tend to the matter as soon as possible.

How I Got A 44.57% Click-Through Rate On An Airline Complain Ad

After I’d checked out of the hotel, I found an error on the bill. Management hadn’t replied to my email, so after three weeks, I started up the ad campaigns again.

It was like magic. There was suddenly a response in my inbox.

The same happened to a friend of mine with an overbooked car rental en route to give a show in Germany. Enterprise Rent-A-Car overbooked her and said they couldn’t honor the reservation just 45 minutes before she was due to pick up the car, making her miss work and the resulting pay. They literally and verbatim said, “Sorry! Nothing we can do. Have a nice day.”

So I went public on her fan page like a megaphone with Facebook ads. And we got results.

When You Should Apply This Strategy

As you can probably tell, I have no problem applying this strategy when a business has made major errors that have cost me money.

Keep in mind that I’m definitely not a drama queen. Businesses make mistakes, and I get that. I’ll order a vegan dish, and it comes out full of dairy, and I may not even bring it up. Small errors are one thing, but when companies try to treat consumers as if they’re stupid and take advantage of them, that’s not something that sits well with me, especially when their mistakes or greed cost consumers money.

This strategy works when you want to get results quickly, especially when you’re running complaint ads.

In general, however, this case study also shows you how powerful relevant targeting can be, particularly on LinkedIn Ads. If you have content you want to get in front of a specific audience, LinkedIn Ads and Facebook Ads can help you do that for whatever reason. Targeted PPC campaigns can actually work better than other traditional outreach messages, you simply need to be able to grab their attention effectively.

This article originally appeared on Sarah Sal Marketing blog and has been republished with permission.

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Author: Sarah Salamat

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