Destination Canada wanted to shift the mindset of German travellers from "I'd love to go to Canada someday" to "I've got to book a trip today." The brand and its agency, OMD International, tapped YouTube creators for a new campaign and leveraged DoubleClick Bid Manager for its cross-device reach.
Inspire German travellers to plan their next adventure in Canada
Partnered with YouTube creators to develop and share inspiring Canadian travel content
Utilized DoubleClick Bid Manager for efficient video remarketing across all devices
Campaign contributed to 11% increase in arrivals from Germany in first half of 2016
Campaign won two M&M Global Awards for Smart Use of Data and Best International Growth Strategy
German travellers, known for their love of outdoor adventure, are a natural target market for Canada's national tourism marketing organization, Destination Canada. But in the last few years, Destination Canada was having trouble connecting with potential travellers in Germany. The organization's research showed that although the country was high on many Germans' vacation lists, travellers felt no sense of urgency to book the trip. Canada was a "someday" destination.
"It's an expensive media market, and we were having trouble breaking through," said Gloria Loree, Destination Canada's executive director of global marketing. "Canada has a great story to tell, and we knew we needed a new way to tell it."
To tell a story that would resonate with German travellers, Loree and her team partnered with a few well-known German YouTube creators.
German YouTube creators featured in true-life travel videos
Destination Canada previously relied on running ads in Germany during peak booking times each winter—a combination of print, outdoor, search, and digital display ads—to drive people to booking sites.
"Our stories hadn't been that emotive; they were more one-way advertising. We were trying to zoom from a high-level message to an end-of-the-funnel call to action," said Loree.
That all changed in 2015. Destination Canada decided to launch a new kind of campaign centered on the experiences of four well-known German YouTube creators. They invited the creators to visit Canada, experience its immense beauty and culture, and share videos of their adventures.
"Using data from Google products like DoubleClick Bid Manager allowed us to reach consumers with the right message at the right place and the right time."
The creators were filmed adventuring across Canada during the summer of 2015. Benjamin Jaworskyj swam with Beluga whales in Manitoba and played cowboy in Alberta; Shanti Tan hit the Vancouver food truck scene; Nilam took a mist-drenched cruise at Niagara Falls; and Alexi Bexi kayaked the spectacular Saguenay Fjord National Park in Quebec and feasted on seafood on the Atlantic coast.
The videos were hosted on YouTube and the creators shared them organically with their large number of followers. The campaign offered German viewers an immersive visual experience to help them imagine their own adventures in Canada.
Video remarketing and measuring cross-device impact with DoubleClick
The compelling content ensured that Germans were inspired, but the ultimate goal was travel bookings. DoubleClick Bid Manager helped the company to reach interested travellers as they planned their next adventure by efficiently remarketing across all devices.
OMD used traffic data to create lists of people who viewed the videos on the creators' YouTube channels. That data was then integrated into the DoubleClick Bid Manager suite so that Destination Canada could remarket to them using TrueView in DBM—whether they had seen the videos organically, via paid media on the influencers' channels, or elsewhere.
"We wanted to make sure we were sharing this amazing content and then sequencing it in the right way. Google helped us do that seamlessly."
For example, if a German traveller watched Shanti Tan's Vancouver video, Destination Canada could then serve him or her a relevant British Columbia travel package offer via channels like display.
"Using data from Google products like DoubleClick Bid Manager allowed us to reach consumers with the right message at the right place and the right time," said Brooke Steinberg, digital account director at OMD International. "We wanted to make sure we were sharing this amazing content and then sequencing it in the right way. Google helped us do that seamlessly."
German travellers set their sights on Canadian shores
The campaign exceeded expectations. The YouTube creator videos now have over 17 million views. And even months after paid ads ended, the campaign remains "on" as the videos get thousands of organic views each month. Destination Canada has also heard success stories from its partners, including a wilderness tour operator who booked a premium bear-watching adventure for a German man and his family. When asked how they heard about the experience, the client said that his son sent him the video from YouTube.
Most important, Canada saw an 11% increase in arrivals from Germany in the first half of 2016 compared to 2015. "And this is a market that literally was flat," said Loree.
The results have been so impressive that Destination Canada has quickly expanded the approach to other markets. The campaign has also been acclaimed in the industry, winning two M&M Global Awards for Smart Use of Data and Best International Growth Strategy.
Loree and her team were thrilled that Canada enjoyed such a large impact from the new campaign. In Loree's words, "If we just do the same old thing, we're going to fail. If we try something different, we may have small failures but we could have a huge win. And that's what we got."