|States Get Smarter About Ad Targeting
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
Since 2007, states around the nation have seen their advertising budgets slashed to face the current economic times. Because of this, the recent trend has been for states to rely less on national advertising, and putting its lean expertise to work and employ target marketing, pouring its dollars into select cities, markets, and publications.
Of course, to many advertisers and tourism departments, this seems backward. A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found that close to 60% of Americans planned on traveling this summer, even though they know it is going to cost more than it did last year. We know it takes some investment in advertising to see a return in investment, so why have states like New York cut their advertising budgets 34% in the last two years?
According to the U.S. Travel Association, close to 20 states have cut advertising budgets for tourism and promotion. It is particularly difficult for states like New York, South Carolina, Hawaii, and Arizona, which rely heavily on tourism.
But instead of placing national ads, state tourism departments are targeting their efforts. For example, the article uses Nevada as an example; instead of its usual placements in national magazines, it shifted its focus to city media in Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Seattle. Advertisers also met with Google to learn search marketing strategies and ways to implement that into their outreach.
Other states are getting more creative. New York partnered with JetBlue, letting the airplane company use the "I <3 NY" symbol on its planes. Hawaii partnered with hotel companies to place ads in San Francisco. And more have found space on Facebook, Flickr, and other social networks for contests, giveaways and sponsored spots. A little targeting can go a long way.
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