To increase awareness of Iceland as a year-round destination and to stimulate tourists to do more, travel further and stay longer, Inspired by Iceland developed a digital campaign called Ask Guðmundur. Billed as “the human, quirky and decidedly Icelandic search engine”, Ask Guðmundur enabled consumers to discover more about Iceland’s secrets. When curious travellers from all around the world entered their queries, seven Guðmundurs from across the seven regions of Iceland responded by providing expertise and knowledge.

Forging closer connections through YouTube

Inspired by Iceland understood that YouTube was an ideal platform for the campaign because it would enable two-way communication with the audience. The activity included both TrueView ads and supporting banner ads. Director Inga Hlín Pálsdóttir, explains that the team foresaw several benefits to this approach. “First, it is cost effective,” she says. “TrueView works on a performance-based cost-per-view model, meaning Inspired by Iceland only pays when the audience chooses to watch the ad, generating quality leads. It offers additional value for advertisers through remarketing lists. We were also able to gain additional insight into the target audience through Brand Lift surveys.”

Inspired by Iceland identified a target audience for the activity called “The Enlightened Tourist” made up of people between the ages of 20 and 65 who were interested in independent travel and the cultures, ideas and lifestyles of other people. This audience was then translated into a media target group in YouTube covering the 20-to-65 age bracket in and around several international cities – Toronto, Frankfurt, Munich and Paris. With more than 1 billion people visiting YouTube every month, Inspired by Iceland took advantage of the chance to fine-tune the targeting while still achieving massive reach by setting up interest and topic targeting using AdWords affinity audiences.

Great results and a roadmap for future success

“YouTube proved to be a successful platform in regards to impressions, reach, insights and connecting partners to exposed audience,” Inga reports. The launch video achieved over 1.4 million paid video views on YouTube (over 1.5 million views total) and over 8 million impressions in one month.

YouTube proved to be a successful platform in regards to impressions, reach, insights and connecting partners to exposed audience.

Inga Hlín Pálsdóttir, Director, Tourism & Creative Industries, Promote Iceland

In terms of engagement, the campaign exceeded expectations. “Ask Guðmundur has been celebrated by the media and consumers alike whose hearts have been captured by the charming, personal and unique nature of the campaign,” Inga observes. “We triumphed with hugely impressive results – over 267 million impressions across PR, social and paid advertising, and over 375 press articles.”

According to the Brand Lift survey, those who were exposed to the campaign searched for ‘Iceland’ on 164% more than users who weren’t exposed. In focus markets France and Germany, there was an average increase of over 400% on brand, product and creative terms. Ad recall of the exposed group was 31% higher than the recall of the control group, and consideration of Iceland as a possible travel destination of the exposed group after watching the video was 39% higher than the control group.

The positive outcomes don’t end with the success metrics, though. “We believe the Ask Guðmundur content will benefit us moving forward as great hub and hygiene content for our YouTube channel, in support of whatever hero content we may put up there later,” Inga explains. The campaign resulted in the development of remarketing lists of over 860,000 potential future visitors who Inspired by Iceland partners can reach in future AdWords marketing activities. “Last but not least, another benefit we have gained as a result from using YouTube is the data generated by monitoring tools and analysis, which gives us a better overview of the results and target audience.”