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Attracting New Visitors to Finland Through Superior Targeting

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travel audience works exclusively with destinations and travel companies to provide a data-driven, digital advertising platform and an end to end solution for coordinating marketing efforts for the maximum end result. In early 2018, Visit Finland partnered with travel audience for a pilot campaign targeting the niche German market, promoting the destination brand, as well as effectively quantifying the return on investment.

The primary goal for this new campaign was to sustainably attract more visitors from Germany, Austria and Switzerland to Finland as a year-round destination, promoting the brand and the many strong, organic attributes Finland has to offer; unspoilt nature, beautiful scenery, crisp lakes, the Northern lights. The list could go on!

The secondary goal was to generate conversions to Helsinki and different destinations in Finland. This was achieved by promoting positive geographic spread across Finland, attracting visitors to the outer regions as well as Helsinki with the overarching objective to effectively measure ROI as per digital campaigns.

With objectives set and a clear vision "for Finland to be the most desired Nordic destination by 2025”, the campaign was ready to go.

With this campaign alone, travel audience generated just under 1,200 incremental visitors to Finland as a direct result of the campaign. The results also indicate more valuable intel, read on to find out how.

The Campaign

travel audience started by analysing the booking behaviour of millions of travellers. The platform can follow the whole consumer path online, learning key information such as who clicks, who doesn’t, how long people are searching in the inspiration phase, which destinations travellers were searching for, which websites yield the most conversions etc. This provided valuable insights on the visitors as well as the competing destinations. It also identified the three main target groups; Couples, Families and Luxury travellers, and the main components of the platform.

Competing Destinations

The platform can identify users who are initially searching for a different destination during the inspiration stage. Using this data, travel audience can prospect travellers, as opposed to remarketing, who are searching these competing destinations by displaying the various banner adverts in the most relevant areas. The below visual demonstrates the average CTR for Finnish adverts, while the user was searching for an alternative destination. This type of insight was extremely valuable to Visit Finland as it is important to see the performance and comparison to key competitors in order to develop messaging and positioning accordingly.

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The data found exactly which cities in Norway, Sweden and Denmark people searched for, but were nevertheless “susceptible“ for adverts showing Finland. The platform can also pinpoint the conversion, whether that is for a destination in Finland or elsewhere.

Optimisation

Once the campaign was up and running, the platform could respond to patterns to efficiently refine and optimise the campaign based on the findings. For example, removing destinations who were not yielding any valuable data, and optimising those that are, as attracting incremental visitors to Finland was the key objective. It could also decipher the level of banner interaction and performance across the different sizes. For example, initially, there were two banner sets used in this campaign.

By analysing the performance and CTRs of each banner set daily via A/B testing, effectively allowed for budget optimisation, shifting the budget towards the best performing sets. Continual optimisation of the campaign allowed Visit Finland to know more about their audience in order to target the right visitors and to understand which destinations the visitors are likely to book and why.

Destination Advertising Ecosystem

One of the great things about travel audience’s platform is that it is able to attribute actual bookings as a direct result of the active campaign. One of the biggest advantages is access to the full ecosystem. We love the fact that travel audience’s ecosystem provides the full view of the customer journey from research to conversion. The ecosystem partners with online travel agencies all over the world and are able to see the bookings made to Finland after having seen (or clicked on) Visit Finland’s advertising or visiting the destination website.  The key here is that both parties gain exposure to new audiences as a result of the co-branded campaigns. In addition to this, the travel audience platform also has more than 1000 partnerships with publishers including online travel agencies and travel sites which allows Visit Finland to find the best advertising opportunities to target the three identified target groups with the right message and in the right context.

The Results

  • A little less than 1200 incremental visitors (1195 to be exact)
  • The average duration of these visitors was 8 days
  • 30% of the visitors booked the trip more than 90 days in advance

In addition to the advance booking pattern, the platform also demonstrated in which months the users travel most frequently. For example, most trips are taken during Spring and Summer by the 35+ market, while Winter tends to attract the younger audience. This data is is hugely beneficial to timing, messaging and positioning of future campaigns.

Data also showed that while the average duration of a trip is 8 days, travellers tend to book longer trips for outside of Helsinki. This is valuable data which can be used in future campaigns in terms of creative copy, banner advertising and landing page content, targeting the longer stays for example, ’10 days in Finland’.

Summary

Here at the #DTTT we've seen the growing trend in Destinations looking to show better ROI in their branding and marketing efforts using data driven marketing. This is a great example of how an awareness raising campaign can demonstrate results right through to bookings generated and how, in Visit Finland's case, they were able to actively compete against other destinations in that key consideration stage of the travel journey.

It is clear to see this partnership has been very successful, demonstrating clear ROI by way of overnights and average stays. This allows Visit Finland to see the whole value a specific campaign is bringing to the destination, as part of its wider marketing mix. It is also important to note that while this started as a pilot campaign, travel audience and Visit Finland have continued the partnership and have an ongoing campaign, continuing to make use of valuable AI to achieve its objectives of increasing overnights and communicating the brand as effectively as possible.


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