A strong marketing plan includes a multi-layered media strategy that moves consumers from awareness to intent, and ultimately to conversion. Ever in pursuit of this goal, with the growth of digital media and its targeting capabilities, a higher percentage of media budgets are moving away from traditional awareness placements (TV, radio, outdoor) to digital awareness placements such as pre-roll video and native advertising due to the trackability of the placements and the targeting data available.
While digital campaigns have more trackability than their traditional counterparts, the main sources for determining the success of a paid digital campaign for a tourism client have typically been website analytics, leads and Facebook engagement. Due to the mix of awareness and activation of most digital ads, digital agencies have relied on shifts in website metrics to evaluate performance. The challenge in this type of evaluation — when reviewing metrics such as leads and session stats — is that it only reveals part of the picture due to last-click attribution. Still, it is definitely a better measurement than anything available to traditional media.
Now, with the addition of A3 from Arrivalist, a company who business is to measure offline response to online advertising, digital ad agencies can evaluate vendor performance based on real arrivals to the market. They can literally see the number of “heads in beds” that have arrived in market after seeing, for instance, one of the Daytona Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau’s (CVB) digital ads — whether that is video pre-roll, a display ad, native content or paid search. Not only can agencies track which vendors have driven “arrival”, they can also see where visitors are coming from and how long they stay in market. This enables agencies to drill down on exactly what is driving traffic. This is all made possible by tracking mobile devices into the market and comparing that data with a control group. This expanded view into media performance means marketing decisions can be based on actual visitation to market versus previous methods tracking website visitation.
“One of the obvious benefits of digital media is the ability to track performance,” says Shelby Greene, VP, Media Director for The Brandon Agency. “However, this data takes tracking to a new level by reporting on what is truly important to key stakeholders in the market.”
How are they able to do this?
Arrivalist uses a proprietary and statistically compelling panel methodology with data from over 120 million monthly active consumers — who mirror the general adult population — and then applies rigorous analysis and technology to produce insights into the consumers’ visitation behaviors.
For the CVB, The Brandon Agency and Arrivalist established the following criteria for the evaluation of performance: The arrival zone has been defined as Volusia County, Florida. To qualify as arrivals, consumers must have traveled more than 50 miles from their home to the destination. They must have entered Volusia County, and have spent at least two hours in the market. Further, they must have spent the majority of their trip in the market.
Once an arrival is established, Arrivalist tracks consumers in two distinct groups — those who have been exposed to media placed on behalf of the CVB, as well as those who have not been exposed. By tracking both groups, Arrivalist is able to understand the incremental impact of the media in several ways. The first is based on volume — that is, how many additional people are visiting the market because they were exposed to the Daytona Beach media. This is referred to as Arrival Lift. The second is Stay Lift and is based on how long people are staying in the market after being exposed to Daytona Beach media. This enables the Brandon Agency to provide reporting to the CVB and the Halifax Area Advertisers Authority (HAAA) by demonstrating the media is having a positive, incremental effect on travel behaviors.
“The data provided back to us is extremely valuable,” Greene says. “We are able to report a 48.3% increase in Arrival Lift, as well as a Stay Lift of 13+ hours, which — according to some of the Arrivalist team members — are some of the highest numbers they have seen.”
While awareness and perception will always be a big part of the mix, Arrivalist allows agencies to reduce their reliance on website analytics as the greatest indicator of campaign performance and adjust toward those partners that provide the greatest opportunity to drive real visitation to Daytona Beach.