While mobile device website visitation was growing, Travel Texas needed to turn travel planners from "lookers to bookers." With the rise of mobile usage, brands have been challenged to figure out how to do more with less screen real estate and shorter attention spans. Travel Texas needed a new mobile format that would infuse ads with creative punch to be memorable and produce results. To turn mobile lookers to bookers, Travel Texas needed to reach non-Texans on their smartphones and do something that had not been done.
The high campaign engagement rates and travel lift indicate that the campaign was well-received by consumers. The innovative, first-time use of the audience builder by a tourism campaign led to new audience segments that are split into four specific sub-audiences for targeting use in future campaigns.
Objective and Context:
The Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism (Travel Texas), is responsible for promoting Texas as a premier travel destination. The office works in concert with its partners (convention and visitors bureaus, local chambers of commerce, private travel-related organizations and associations) to promote travel to Texas. The overall objective of the campaign was to drive awareness of the destination to ultimately drive visitation. This campaign sought to drive engagement across the millennial and gen X targets with custom 360-degree video mobile units.
Within the crowded destination marketing industry, differentiation is key. Texas is in a good position for this type of differentiation because the state is so vibrant and provides an intersection of culture, cuisine, arts, and outdoor adventure. The key was to demonstrate these features to potential visitors in an experiential and interactive way to drive engagement.
The primary audiences were gen X and millennials between the ages of 35 and 49 defined as having a household income of $60,000 annually with children under 18 in the household, as well as people between the ages of 20 and 34 with a household income of $40,000 annually.
Within these targets, there was a conceptual mindset for all segments: pragmatic adventurers. They are conflicted. They are practical with their money, time, and responsibilities. They want to make sure that their trip checklist will be fully checked. On the other hand, they want to take some risks because they know that's the only way to discover new places and find unique experiences. The targeting for both audiences was national, excluding Texas.
The Travel Texas 2019 campaign was conceived to be a highly engaging and immersive ad experience for the user. To drive high-impact awareness while showcasing all Texas has to offer, The companies created and ran two custom 360-degree rich media gyrosphere units (one for gen X and the other for millennials). Without having 360-degree imagery available, the creative team was able to create an equi-rectangular image by stitching together multiple images. This experience was paired with hot-spot vertical videos highlighting the breadth and depth of activities that Texas has to offer. Users can navigate within the 360-degree view between different activities by either swiping or moving their device. When users tap on an activity, it takes them to video, gallery, and materials. The goal of the creative was to highlight passion points for each audience and entice travelers to learn more about Texas.
Overall Campaign Execution:
Travel Texas has been running digital campaigns for several years. However, this is the first time the organization has used 360-degree video creative. It is also the first time the organization has used a custom audience builder.
The custom audience builder was only served via mobile. The results and data attributes that were uncovered allowed the company to retarget and create custom audience models that led to smarter optimizations and superior engagement.
There was 25 percent arrival lift based on ad exposure to non-Texans. Looking at tracked hotel revenue alone (not measuring spend in market, etc.), there was a 2:1 return on ad spend.
Also, one of the key goals for the 360-degree mobile creative was to garner rich media engagement. The 360-degree video unit encouraged very high in-unit engagement rates, with a large volume of actions related to the gyroscope functionality, suggesting interest. Overall, engagement rate was 22 percent, which is 4.5 times higher than mobile interstitial average. Average time spent on unit was 67 percent higher than industry average.
Travel Texas was the first tourism brand to execute targeting based on AdTheorent's Custom Audience Builder segment data. Additionally, Travel Texas is the first to use an audience builder for targeting of a 360-degree video ad.
To identify the target audience of people who are interested in activities that take place in Texas, AdTheorent utilized a custom Audience Builder. AdTheorent's Audience Builder leveraged elegant live-poll ad units to identify a deterministic audience of engaged hand-raisers who were interested in traveling to Texas.
In this case, AdTheorent polled individuals about Texas activities. It drove 6,412 responses with a response rate of 0.15 percent, and identified commonalities within the data profiles of respondents.
AdTheorent then used the attributes and characteristics of consumers who responded to build a Predictive Audience, after which AdTheorent's machine learning platform identified the consumers within that audience who were most likely to convert. The users who responded to the study were categorized as travel intenders and were then retargeted. Lookalike models were created based on the attributes and data related to those who responded to the audience builder. The campaign's engagement rate spiked when both of these strategies were implemented.
Total campaign budget was $200,000 and 84 percent of the campaign went to mobile. Ultimately, 4,385,254 households were served an impression for Travel Texas, and 3,691,709 (84 percent) of them were reached through mobile devices found within the same household. In addition, 1,000,707 (23 percent) of them were reached through desktop devices found within the same household.