The effort produced single-digit cost for every booking, says the agency managing the Facebook ads.
JetBlue Airways saw big returns from a "massive" Facebook.com ad buy on Monday, according to TBG Digital, which handled the campaign. The ads pitched $10 plane tickets, targeting users of the social site based on profile attributes like current city, age, and gender, said Simon Mansell, CEO of TBG, a Facebook-specialized agency in London.
Other factors that determined whether a Facebook user saw an ad were vacation-oriented keywords in status updates, Mansell suggested, and whether they were a JetBlue fan - or the friend of a fan. "The idea is this will be an ongoing sales channel for JetBlue," he said. "So far, it is working very effectively, delivering flight booking at significant volume in low single digits in terms of cost-per-booking."
The New York-based airline launched the ads as part of a larger digital campaign that kicked off on May 10. A microsite - developed by digital agency Firstborn - features four videos detailing amenities and other benefits of flying with JetBlue. It also links to a flight-booking page and includes sharing options for other social sites.
Many of the campaign's elements mention JetBlue's 10-year anniversary, which first appeared as a marketing theme in March when the company executed a Twitter-complemented scavenger hunt in New York City. For the Facebook ads, Mansell said, the thrust of the creative centered on the campaign's key offer - $10 last-minute plane tickets.
The brand's Facebook staffers posted the following update on May 10: "We're so ecstatic to be celebrating a decade of style, value, and award-winning service that we can't stop thanking our customers. So for today only, all remaining seats on U.S. originating flights on May 11-12 are just $10 each way. Remember, this sale is valid today only and it's only available online, so hurry and book now before all seats are gone!"
JetBlue followed up with a Facebook post on Tuesday offering other last-second deals, starting at $10. The site's videos have also been posted on the social site during the last few days.
Overall, JetBlue has around 182,000 "People Like This" fans on Facebook. Addressing the idea of increasing that base, Mansell said, "The main goal is to develop Facebook into an effective sales channel for JetBlue. Secondary objective is to grow their Facebook fan or 'Like' base."
Meanwhile, the CEO suggested that the Facebook ads would be ongoing - though he didn't indicate whether the future volume will look similarly to the heavy run seen on Monday. Mansell said that JetBlue came aboard as a client only a few weeks ago. His company has also recently picked up clients like Vodafone, Napster, Playfish, and Zoosk.
Follow Christopher Heine on Twitter at @ChrisClickZ.
Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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