How Travel Oklahoma leveraged video advertising for cheaper, faster ROINewsBy Nick Vivion | September 5, 2013Share This article was originally published on Travel Oklahoma saw a significant return on their investment in YouTube TruView ads, both reducing advertising cost and increasing web traffic. TruView ads are a unit on YouTube that ensures payment only when a viewer watches an ad the full way through. The ad unit was a way for YouTube to both pressure advertisers to create better content and to empower viewers to skip ads that they don't find compelling. By "opting out" of the ad, the advertiser receives only views by people that are interested, which is a higher value view than if everyone was forced to watch each ad. It's also a compromise that preserves the user experience as much as possible given the necessity of ad-based revenues. Oklahoma had been using a multitude of marketing channels, and had begun to look for alternatives to more expensive, less targeted options like television ads in many markets. TruView ads allowed the organization to target specific viewers in certain markets, and deliver a message specifically tailored to their particular profile. They were then pushed out to the Travel OK website for further engagement. Deby Snodgrass, Cabinet Secretary & Executive Director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, explained in depth about the choice behind the test: To secure the most bang for the buck, Oklahoma decided to conduct our own test on channel allocation, with the goal of finding a more effective way of connecting with today’s traveler. We reallocated 20% of their summer “Come See For Yourself” campaign investment to YouTube TrueView video ads, which allowed for testing new markets with high potential for visitors. Travel OK launched TrueView video ads in test markets that had been tracked for several years due to a high propensity to travel to Oklahoma, but we could never afford to reach them because the markets were too expensive to buy television in and were outside of our drive market - cities like Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta. After running the test, we found that not only did YouTube TrueView ads enable Oklahoma to reach a broader audience at a lower cost, but also drove higher website visitation than other marketing channels. TrueView-only markets blew all the others away by driving 486% year over year growth in website visitation. The twelve markets running TrueView-only ads accounted for 44% of their website traffic (284,000 visits) – funded by only 20% of the campaign budget. These results catapulted TravelOK.com into the number one spot among state tourism department websites based on visitation during the month the campaign was live. It also drove TravelOK.com to rank second highest in terms of pages viewed per visit. In regard to the previously untested, high-potential markets, every city in which TrueView campaigns were active jumped up into TravelOK.com’s list of top 15 DMAs nationally that send visitors to the site. The top two California metros tested increased from 3% of TravelOK.com visitors to 15% at the peak. This confirmed that some of the largest cities in the US have an interest in traveling to Oklahoma. Given these strong test results, plan to request a bigger share of the overall marketing budget so we can do this more often, and drive greater economic value to the state of Oklahoma.Share this quote Dick Dutton, Director of the Travel Promotion division for the Travel OK organization, elaborated on the strategy in an email to Tnooz. Why TruView ads? Oklahoma Tourism Promotion has used Google advertising products for several years with strong positive results. Google knew that we were working on a 2013 Spring Media campaign and approached us with a proposal of running a combined digital and broadcast media campaign. We determined that the proposal was a great idea, with the goal being to obtain data comparing the two types of media, using visits to our website as the metric. Please explain the process that the organization implemented to choose the demographic targeting. We used our standard demographics, which is 25 to 60 age group with a propensity for travel. We have strategically targeted regional markets, for broadcast media as part of our “normal” media buy. Our head of Digital Marketing, Jennifer Kalkman, had been tracking other markets that seemed to have interest in Oklahoma, but which we never had the budget to market in before. These became part of the TruView group. What were the measurable results, as far as impact on visits, views, etc?The measurable results were as follows, and our metric was website visits. Control Group (markets which received our standard Google Ad program): +43.61% increase in website visits Broadcast & TruView Group (markets with a broadcast and TruView media buy – 3 markets): +106.41% increase in website visits TruView Only Group (markets which only get digital ads – 12 markets): +485.54% increase in website visits Broadcast Only Group (markets with only broadcast buys – 3 markets): -3.22% decrease in website visits *note: only on the broadcast buys, we only bought live news and sports, working to minimize DVR recordings and spot skipping. How does online video advertising now play into your strategy? This data has definitely caused us to do an extensive review of our mixture of media for future campaigns. We are still in discussions with what this will look like, but the digital marketing resources will definitely be a larger part of future campaigns. --- Success or failure story using video advertising? Please share in the comments below!