Brand USA wanted to find new ways to engage potential visitors while building awareness. As an organization promoting international tourism to the United States, the company decided to showcase U.S. destinations using Google Catalogs in Lightbox's rich, creative canvas. Aimed at reaching Canadian tourists, Brand USA digitized its existing print catalog assets, achieving massive distribution of its catalog online and actively engaging one in 40 Canadians.


  • Discover new ways to engage potential visitors
  • Build awareness and influence consideration of a wide audience
  • Showcase U.S. destinations using rich, creative formats


  • Used Google Catalogs in Lightbox to drive engagement
  • Repurposed existing print catalog assets to create a new digital brand experience
  • Targeted Canadians on Google Display, optimizing settings over time


  • Achieved over 1M engagements and an engagement rate of 3.23%
  • Paid an average cost-per-engagement price of $0.19 vs. $1.43 per user for print catalogs
  • Reached 20% of the Canadian population
November 2013

Since its start in 2010, Brand USA has been promoting the United States as a top travel destination to tourists. With a mission to increase international tourism to the U.S., the organization partnered with Google to inspire travelers, increase awareness of American cities and regions, and provide trip-planning tools. Being that digital is an effective way to reach customers worldwide, the company has come to heavily rely on connecting with users online.

Transforming Print Assets into a Digital Brand Experience

Looking to engage travelers in a way that would encourage them to “Discover America,” Brand USA decided to give Lightbox ads a try. Part of the Engagement Ads family, these interactive ad formats allow advertisers to create and scale brand messages across the web, only paying for when a user engages with the ad. Lightbox ads have a variety of customizable creative features, including videos, games, and re-purposing a YouTube masthead. Selecting the Google Catalogs in Lightbox feature, Brand USA re-purposed its existing PDF brochures to create an ad that expands into an immersive, full-screen catalog.


To create a captivating brand experience that would build awareness, Brand USA worked with Google to launch its interactive travel guide via Google Catalogs in Lightbox. Beginning as a standard IAB-sized unit, the ad expands to a full-screen experience after a two-second hover delay, opening to an interactive travel guide with pages consumers can flip through without ever having to leave the page they were browsing.

Aimed at targeting Canadians, Brand USA’s ad ran across the Google Display Network and continually optimized based on results. Because Google’s adaptive algorithm increases engagement rates by showing Lightbox ads to those most likely to interact, the company saw improved results and gained powerful insights for future targeting decisions.

Engagement Ads are a way for customers to raise their hands and say they’re interested. The CPE pricing allows us to use our budgets most efficiently, as we only pay for customers who choose to interact with us.

Generating Broad Awareness with Cost-Efficient Pricing

Brand USA successfully achieved broad exposure, reaching 20% of Canada’s total population and 25% of Canada’s online population. Meeting its goal to engage potential visitors at scale, the campaign generated over 1M engagements with an engagement rate of 3.23% (higher than the average engagement rate benchmark of 1.75% in the U.S.). Since Engagement Ads are priced on a cost-per-engagement (CPE) basis, Brand USA only paid when users chose to engage with the travel guide – meaning all campaign impressions came at no additional cost.

Impressed with the performance of its Lightbox campaign, the company is looking to double its investment and run additional Lightbox ads with new content. The company is excited to be the first to have a Google Catalogs in Lightbox campaign featuring an interactive travel guide, and Michael Carroll, the company’s vice president of marketing, says, “By marrying Brand USA’s ideas with Google’s technology and marketing tools, we’re bringing something new to the table.”