North Dakota Tourism (NDT) is tasked with building a positive image for North Dakota that attracts visitation and grows the tourism industry. The organization’s ultimate goal is to inspire travel to the state that improves the quality of life for the people of North Dakota.
In 2016, the NDT partnered with Arrivalist to measure which creative themes resulted in the most efficient arrival rates for U.S. and Canadian visitors.
NDT and its agency partner, Odney, found it challenging to set digital marketing strategy without a strong conversion metric. Historically, the Tourism Division used a mix of vendor reporting, Google Analytics, inquiry attribution, advertising-effectiveness studies and visitor stories. These information sources failed to supply the organization with the kind of reliable location attribution data needed to best optimize campaign efforts in the U.S. and Canada.
Primarily, North Dakota Tourism sought to understand how geographic location and nationality influenced the effectiveness of digital campaign creatives that featured actor Josh Duhamel (from the television show ‘Fargo’ based in North Dakota). The organization’s previous research on U.S. and Canadian travelers illustrated a marked difference in the desired destination experience between the two groups. Canadians, according to this research, were visiting the state primarily for shopping, dining and entertainment. Domestic travelers, however, came for the robust outdoor experiences found in the state’s national and state parks.
The organization hoped to confirm or debunk these assumptions and use Arrivalist’s patent-pending location attribution technology to optimize future digital media campaigns, improving both media efficiency and increase visitor volume to the state.
North Dakota Tourism asked Arrivalist to track multiple versions of creatives featuring actor Josh Duhamel along with other demographically targeted creatives featuring various activities visitors could enjoy in the state such as active outdoors, family fun, history and road tripping. They measured these creatives against an established Arrivals per 1,000 Impressions (APM) baseline for both U.S. and Canadian travelers throughout 2016.
North Dakota Arrival Rates By Creative Themes
North Dakota Tourism discovered that creative themes focused on ‘city experiences’ performed better domestically than expected. It also found that outdoor experiences, like those highlighting Theodore Roosevelt National Park, did far better in Canada than previously believed. In contrast, contrary to previous understanding the NDT learned that Canadians did not respond as well to creatives focused on city experiences.
Additionally, Arrivalist data indicated that creative themes focused on actor Josh Duhamel enjoying ‘city experiences’ performed better when targeting younger urban dwellers in the U.S.
For domestic response, creative themes focused on active outdoors, weekend escapes and angling performed well over baseline Arrivals Per Thousand (APM). History themes, however, performed under baseline both domestically and in Canada. Additional insights gathered during analysis of arrival data indicated better than average performance from video digital media inventory and uncovered the Chicago metro area as a key opportunity market for 2018.
The organization used this new information to optimize campaigns in 2017 both domestically and in Canada, realizing a 133% in digital ad performance, a 19% overall increase in verified arrivals YOY and increased Canadian travel inquiries by 13%.
Last, the strong domestic performance of the ‘Active Outdoor’ creative theme led the NDT to increase the impression share of this digital ad placements by 400% in 2017.
“Our partnership with Arrivalist has produced valuable insights affecting our digital media buys and creative. We’ve been able to analyze results and implement strategic changes and are seeing increased arrivals year-over-year. The Arrivalist product has also given us a way to see visitation in real time and use that in the advocacy of our industry.”
Heather LeMoine, Marketing & Research Manager ─ North Dakota Tourism
Arrivalist is a Location Attribution Analytics platform that empowers marketers with new metrics to evaluate the link between marketing exposures and market visitation (Arrivals). The company’s patent-pending technology is used by DMOs across the country, including California, Virginia, Kansas, New Orleans, Palm Beaches, FL, and more. The company analyzes big data to evaluate which media exposures motivated consumers to travel to new destinations. This analysis yields powerful new insights as to how—in the aggregate—media displays influence travel behaviors.
To discover how Arrivalist can help you compete and succeed in your marketing efforts, please contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.