Marketing the Bahamas is 'better' with targeted video

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Video lets Nassau tourist board reach targeted audiences it can't get to through other channels

Variations of the legendary "It's Better in the Bahamas" slogan are still a staple for The Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, a private association funded by Bahamian hotels. But another staple — deals and promotions — had backed the Board into a corner, strategically. "There was a time that we were dealing year-round, and people got very used to deals," says Kim Andersen, the Board's vice president of marketing. "All day, every day on sale doesn't work."

The Board engaged Net Conversion to assist with a Google TrueView campaign designed to put Nassau in front of a more targeted and geographically diverse audience than could be reached through conventional TV placement. "We don't have a huge budget. When we run broadcast ads during an offer period, we run in about five markets, and not at very heavy levels," Andersen says. "That said, when we are running a deal, we want to reach the largest number of target consumers that we can."

TrueView places advertising spots in the pre-roll before YouTube videos. The service allows advertisers to specify a range of demographic and purchasing intent criteria. The Board targets consumers with a known affinity for luxury goods, family travel, beaches, and islands, as well as those who have sent purchasing signals that they are investigating air and hotel options in the Caribbean. "Broadcast is great, but it doesn't allow you that kind of pinpoint targeting," she says.

The campaign draws from a library of 30-second spots, some with general information and appeal; others with creative and voiceover targeted at specific major markets and airline promotions. But to take advantage of TrueView's targeting capabilities, the Board is producing a much wider range of video assets. New spots include wedding-themed ads, as well as variations for families and singles. Net Conversion programmatically pairs the assets with demographic indicators, showing the optimal spot to each consumer in the YouTube pre-roll segment.

The wedding-themed spots produced a 25% lift in Bahamas wedding searches from New York, the Board's top consumer market. Because digital video is so much more efficient to produce, edit, and repurpose today than even a decade ago, building a large media library doesn't strain the Board's budget. "We have a great video team that we've worked with for a long time, and it's amazing how much they can get done in a single day of shooting."

Rapidly tailoring new messages to specific markets also helps the Board stay in step with the fast-moving airline market. In decades past, airlines could be counted on to maintain route schedules for the better part of a year. Today, carriers will cut underperforming routes, even new ones, after just a few months of poor performance.

The campaign launched in January 2014, and the Board has already spent well over $1 million on impressions. The results have been substantial. In 2014 site visitors rose 15%, plus an additional 9% in the first half of 2015. Conversions are up 31%.

Viewers are also showing a growing acceptance of the video ads, as the completion rate has climbed steadily to the 20% level. YouTube allows viewers to tap or click to skip an ad after five seconds, and advertisers are only charged if the 30-second spot is watched to the end. Net Conversion and the Board continually adjust the campaign budget based on skip and response rates, focusing placements and spending on the right audience.

In addition to building on the Board's strengths in established markets and reaching more consumers in smaller metropolitan areas, the campaign has also revealed a surprisingly strong level of interest from the Los Angeles market. Most of the top markets for travel to the Bahamas are from the eastern half of the continental United States, as Hawaii attracts much of the same demographic from the western half. With a price per completed view of about 8 cents, the Board can easily reach interested consumers in one of the world's priciest media markets and further expand interest in Caribbean getaways for the Pacific Coast set.

Almost two years into the campaign, Andersen is a programmatic video convert. "[It's] become almost as important as search for us. It allows us to be on the air 52 weeks a year, and to reach top media markets we wouldn't be able to afford in broadcast," she says. "I'm amazed more people haven't jumped on this bandwagon."

This article first appeared on


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