5 Destination Marketing Digital Strategies to Go From Zero to Hero

A Styrofoam replica of Stonehenge? Going! A house made of paper? Gotta see that! The Clown Motel? Staying the night! Whether it’s a weird roadside attraction like one of these or more traditional travel destinations like amusement parks and museums – if you build it, people will come. But the challenge for most owners is getting new visitors and loyal customers coming through their doors in droves, day after day, year after year. To continually build your business and drive steady foot traffic to your location, try our top 5 destination marketing digital strategies: 1. Reach Current Visitors and Prospects With Your First-Party Data First-party data is a rich resource you should value above all other data. To take advantage of your first-party data, start by segmenting interested prospects and past visitors based on their individual motivations, interests and intentions. Create custom messaging and offers to appeal to each segment in your list. For instance, add exclusive new benefits to a premier sales package or subscription to make loyal customers want to claim VIP status. Or send a “Welcome Back! We’ve Missed You! Here’s What’s New!” message to those people on your list who visited during the past year but have not returned since. Regularly target all different people on your list – prospects, visitors, loyal customers and super fans – by developing exclusive content made just for them, such as tailored quizzes and polls, challenges and contests, and special promotions and coupons. This will give you plenty of opportunities to connect with your audience in personal and engaging ways while helping you enhance your first-party data profiles too. 2. Reach Tourists and Locals With Mobile Marketing When tourists and locals are on the go and on their phones, reach them with mobile marketing. Use mobile geofencing to target tourists or locals based on their GPS coordinates, zip code, city, county or DMA. When your digital advertising appears on mobile sites or apps they’re viewing and they’re close by, they may be more apt to visit. Or use mobile conquesting to target your competitors’ audiences. Consumers visiting a popular or competing attraction may make a special trip to stop off at your locale if they know about it. Another way to achieve good destination marketing results is to use mobile retargeting to advertise special promotions or discounts to those people who have visited your attraction in the past or already researched you online. 3. Reach Everyone in the Family With Digital Advertising Parents? Kids? Teens? Sometimes, it’s hard to know who in the family will have the final say in the destination decision. Here’s how to get your brand and message out to every family member: Reach parents with behavioral targeting segments or by advertising on parenting websites. To reach kids and teens, advertise across a range of children’s TV websites, YouTube channels, free music platforms or popular social networks. But be careful how you advertise to minors. Know what you can and can’t do according to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act [COPPA]. (These rules prevent most forms of data collection on children younger than 13.) To speak to everyone in the family at once, try household extension targeting, which lets you advertise simultaneously across all desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones in the same household. 4. Reach Ideal Customers With Search Campaigns To get in front of ideal customers still out there, launch a destination marketing search campaign. Consumers who are actively searching for similar destinations online, may reconsider their plans if your search ad pops up in time. Targeting in-market searchers specifically with countdown ads can increase urgency and spur action. For instance, you can show searchers how many days are left before an exhibit closes or how much time is left before a promotion expires. To make the process easier, set up automatic advertising updates based on day or time. 5. Reach Indecisive Prospects With a Polished Website Will they or won’t they? Sometimes, it’s a tossup. Prospects can be fickle. To make it more likely they WILL visit, put all the details they need to decide on a polished and easy-to-navigate website. Include videos, customer testimonials, thorough Q&A, ticket prices and packages, coupon codes, hours, parking, driving directions, etc. Then people know what to expect before they choose to make the journey. As you implement these 5 destination marketing strategies, reach out to us. We can give you the latest industry insights to grow your digital knowledge and provide the right ad tech tools and expert advice to revolutionize your business and turn your steady foot traffic into constant crowds.

Tackle Supply Path Optimization Like a Pro

Five years ago, media buyers were running on every ad exchange possible without much control over where and who bids and impressions were going out to, meaning the exchange picked the best supply path. Today, buyers are ready to have greater control over the supply chain, and many are demanding a solution. Enter ad tech’s latest buzzword: supply path optimization.

What Is Supply Path Optimization?

Supply path optimization (SPO) identifies the right path to bid and win inventory at the best price, empowering you to take ownership and accountability for your supply chain. SPO’s goal is to help buyers access quality inventory and minimize wasted impressions.

What Does Supply Path Optimization Do?

Adweek says it well: SPO cuts the clutter between media buyers and publishers hungry to sell inventory. By clutter, they mean extraneous sellers, URLs and companies who demand their own fees along the ad supply path and stand between the buyer and a publisher. Think of SPO as Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method for the ad tech industry. In the same way you might banish clutter from your closet and only keep clothing and items that bring you joy, media buyers can banish clutter and tidy up the ad tech industry to receive higher quality inventory, lower fees and more transparency in programmatic advertising.

How Do You Create a Solid Supply Path Optimization Strategy?

Root Out Ad Fraud Continually

Ad fraud includes non-human traffic that is intentionally misrepresented or is never seen. Detect, analyze and eliminate fraud by working with a partner who uses pre-bid anti-fraud controls to block fraudulent users, sites and suspicious inventory. Also, ensure your partner has experts who can complete post-bid analysis and work to manually catch what algorithms can’t. For example, our RealValue® Platform has two industry-first algorithms that allow advertisers to algorithmically optimize their supply paths as well as root out and avoid fraudulent sites and users. With a full suite of pre- and post-bid technology that supports campaign success from beginning to end plus post-bid analysis reporting and analytics capabilities, our RealValue Platform can support complex optimizations, beyond what humans can achieve, and improve your average campaign lift 26% over control!

Go Direct

Our VP of enterprise partnerships Amanda Martin believes to be successful in our field, you have to understand the path a bid takes via an auction. It’s an important part of making informed decisions about ad buys. You need to value how much working media gets to the publisher and recognize who in the middle improves what you’re trying to buy and has supply path elements that benefit you and the client from a performance standpoint.

  • Digging in to understand those supply path elements and how they affect your campaign performance is a good plan of attack, but how do you go about it? Use ads.txt to your advantage. Ads.txt is an IAB-backed tool that places a text file on publishers’ web servers that lists all the companies authorized to sell a publisher’s inventory. This is a good starting point to ensure you’re buying from approved SSPs and sellers.
  • You can also use ads.txt tools, such as Sellers.json and OpenRTB Supply Chain Object, that provide additional verification to fully understand who on the sell side are inventory direct sellers or resellers down to the bid request.

Working with publishers directly and with fewer suppliers can also help you avoid buying resold inventory, or the same site through multiple suppliers. As a bonus, this better protects you from unnecessary ad tech fees too.

Nurture Valuable Relationships

To be successful with SPO and improve the ad tech industry, our president Jay Friedman agrees you should first remove SSPs that aren’t making the cut: “Everyone can shut off 60 of those 75 exchanges and not lose an ounce of scale,” Jay said. “If all major marketing companies or holding companies get on board, we can consolidate spend around the real exchanges and SSPs that deliver value.” He went on, “We want choice in the market, but we aren’t going to get rid of noise if we don’t consolidate.” How do you consolidate and be selective about the SSPs you keep? Treat these valuable supplier relationships just as you would client relationships. Connect and collaborate with only a few SSPs for more transparency. Because you’re working closely with a few hand-picked partners, you can feel comfortable asking your SSPs for log-level data to analyze bids and see the fees across the inventory you’re buying. This will help you understand how SSPs measure quality inventory and be sure it aligns with your goals. Another option is to determine the supply path strategy that shows the best performance for you and your clients and tailor your supply path strategy to that SSP/site combination. Lastly, remember to stay proactive. Continue to add and remove SSPs based on how their inventory performs.

Keep Innovating

With the industry always changing, learn the latest SPO techniques and experiment with them. Focus on volume control, programmatic-guaranteed structures and new products to stay one step ahead of ad fraud. Also, use your buying power to negotiate partnership terms, lower fees and better tools. For instance, we recently partnered with PubMatic to foster SPO in the digital advertising industry. Jay said this about our industry-first partnership, “The level of effort required to be the first mover was pretty significant on both sides.” But he thinks this innovation and major effort were well worth it, especially if they convince more buyers across the industry to also consider consolidating spend with one of the top exchanges. “If one of the largest holding companies in the world does a deal like this, it will carry more industry weight and momentum, and all SSPs and exchanges will need to look at building something like this.”

What Are the Benefits of Supply Path Optimization?

This is the answer you’re probably most interested in. SPO efforts and hard work can lead to positive results that will ripple across your media campaigns and across the entire ad tech industry:

Benefit #1: The Ad Tech Industry Will Consolidate

Fewer industry players means you’ll pay a lower ad tech tax so more of your budget will go to working media. This will optimize your performance potential and boost your buying power. Adweek explains ad tech tax is the part of your budget that advertising middlemen take for their services rather than direct premium publishers, and it estimates these middlemen take 60 cents of every programmatic dollar!

Benefit #2: The Ad Tech Industry Will Raise Its Standards

Behavior, transparency and inventory quality across the ad tech industry will improve. Media buyers will have more inventory control (know who is sourcing direct and indirect inventory) and can purchase inventory more efficiently and effectively.

Benefit #3: The Ad Tech Industry’s Programmatic Advertising Auctions Will Be Cleaner

Ad buying will become simpler and less redundant, with fewer bid requests and queries per second. Brand-safe inventory will be more available and ad fraud opportunities, such as domain spoofing (when a fraudster makes it appear they’re a premium publisher), will diminish. Now that you understand SPO and how to reap the benefits, you can improve your own campaign performance and media efficiency while also improving the ad tech industry. We can help you tackle SPO right from the start or guide you with our expertise and insights along the way. To find out more about working with our team, reach out to us!

5 Breaking News Headlines: Digital Marketing CliffsNotes (February 2020)

Have you kept your New Year’s resolution to stay up with the latest digital marketing news? If not, scan these expertly curated breaking news headlines and summaries; then read what’s most relevant to you:

Google recently announced a new plan: Within the next two years, it wants to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome. Justin Schuh, Google’s director for Chrome engineering, said, “This is our strategy to re-architect the standards of the web, to make it privacy-preserving by default.” He added, “There’s been a lot of focus around third-party cookies, and that certainly is one of the tracking mechanisms, but that’s just a tracking mechanism, and we’re calling it out because it’s the one that people are paying attention to.”

NBC Peacock doesn’t want to be like Netflix or Disney+. The new streaming service simply wants to complement cable and show why NBC still reigns and the value of linear TV. Launching July 15, Peacock plans to provide a nice balance of both live programming and current NBC shows and popular older TV shows and Universal movies, available through three pricing tiers: Peacock Free, a $5 a month ad-supported option (with special benefits for Comcast customers), and Peacock Premium, a $10 a month ad-free option. “This is a very exciting time for our company, as we chart the future of entertainment,” said Steve Burke, chairman of NBCUniversal. “We have one of the most enviable collections of media brands and the strongest ad sales track record in the business. Capitalizing on these key strengths, we are taking a unique approach to streaming that brings value to customers, advertisers and shareholders.”

Facebook’s plan to bring ad products, such as Status Ads, to WhatsApp in 2020 is on hold, and the team once working on it has been disbanded. When asked about this development, a WhatsApp spokesperson said, “Ads in Status remains a long-term opportunity for WhatsApp. We believe it is a great way for people to discover a business that’s important to them, although we do not have a more specific timeline we can provide. At the moment, the team is focused on building new features to help businesses achieve success, as well as providing payments in a number of countries. For example, late last year, WhatsApp launched catalogs to help businesses showcase their goods and services right within the app.”

As we touched on in a prior blog, VIZIO is taking the plunge into ad sales. But now here’s why: It wants to have more control over advertising and the advertiser and user experience. What can VIZIO offer advertisers? According Mike O’Donnell, senior vice president at VIZIO, it’s something they want most: rich multilevel data. He explained, “If you just want to find incremental audiences tied to reach and frequency, we’ve got that. We’ve got data that can tell you what VIZIO audiences are watching. We can tell you what they aren’t watching too, so you can easily target the people you missed in order to drive incremental reach. We  can also provide digital type solutions. And by that I mean, our data gives advertisers the ability to reach very specific audiences. So if you need to buy against say ‘dog owners in Minneapolis,’ we’ve got solutions that can deliver that specific audience to you.” Mike also shared how VIZIO will cater to users: “On a more macro level, we know that more and more consumers are moving to streaming, so we want to make sure we have all the right content available for them, both from a subscription standpoint, and from a free ad supported standpoint. As cord cutting grows, we know that most of our customers are going to be looking to us to supply them with free ad-supported content. So our goal here is to be able to give that to them by making our platform very attractive for those sorts of apps. It’s good for them, it’s good for us, and ultimately, it’s good for our customers.”

Netflix has always refused to sell advertising, but here are the reasons why. Earlier this month, CEO Reed Hastings said building a meaningful advertising business and challenging Google, Facebook, and Amazon would be too expensive. He said, “There’s not easy money there. They’re integrating so much data from so many sources … To keep up with those giants, you’ve got to spend very heavily on that and track locations and all kinds of other things that we’re not interested in doing.” Reed gave another reason Netflix doesn’t want to get into the ad game: It doesn’t want to deal with ad targeting and its increasing regulations. However, though Netflix isn’t selling advertising, it’s still working with advertisers in clever ways, through product placements, brand partnerships and consumer products. Now that you’re back in the know with these digital marketing breaking news headlines and CliffsNotes, recommit to your New Year’s resolution and keep it. Always get the latest breaking news headlines and our expert take on them in these three easy ways: Follow our blog, get our president Jay Friedman’s latest insights and advice (free book here!) or work with us.