Skift Take

As TV becomes even more digital and people cut the cable cord further, expect it to compete directly for destination marketing social media advertising dollars.

Tourism agencies are investing more of their advertising dollars in streaming because of its targeting precision, measurement and flexibility.

Some agencies have expanded their advertising on streaming services. Take Travel South Dakota, which plans to commit nearly 33 percent of its paid media spend to so-called connected TV, which is streaming on TV devices like Roku, according to spokeswoman Katlyn Svendsen. For the last five years, the commitment was under 10 percent for the state tourism agency. 

Discover Puerto Rico and Explore St.Louis have been growing their investments over the last three years. Discover Puerto increased its investment in TV streaming from $1.6 million to $8 million between 2020 and 2022, according to chief marketing officer Leah Chandler.

Explore St.Louis plans to devote a greater share of its broadcasting budget to it. “As a percentage of our total broadcast investment, over the top [streaming] accounts for approximately 25 percent and we anticipate this ratio growing as many cable viewers cut the cord in favor of streaming,” said Explore St. Louis Chief Marketing Officer Brian Hall. 

Millions of people stream video on their phones, TVs, laptops and game consoles. Hulu, for example, had 47.2 million subscribers at the end of 2022, according to Statista. Over 80 percent of U.S. households have at least one video streaming subscription, according to Cloudwards.

The ability to target a massive audience at the perfect moment makes the medium very attractive.  “The targeting you can do in some of those opportunities is insane,” Svendsen said. “One of our biggest things is reaching the right exact person at the right time.”

Viewers can be hit with ads like banners, images or short-form videos during their streaming experience. Short-form videos can be effective at helping marketers get their message across to customers when they are their most receptive, said Amir Eylon, CEO of research firm Longwoods International.

What has made streaming TV advertising increasingly alluring to agencies are the measurement capabilities. Streaming networks can provide insight into impression delivery, video complete rates, target reach and frequency, according to Explore St.Louis’ Hall. Streaming’s measurements are becoming so similar to the ones on ad campaigns on Meta, Google and other platforms that Explore St. Louis will soon make the medium an extension of its digital media advertising group rather than traditional TV.

Unlike broadcast TV, streaming gives agencies an opportunity to cherry pick their viewers. “Truth is, if there are 100 zip codes in a metro area we’re targeting, there are likely fewer than 20 that are productive for our destination,” said Hall. “Broadcast TV makes us buy all of them.”

Discover Puerto Rico experimented with it during the pandemic and found it effective for reaching a segment of responsible travelers, according to Chandler. In order to protect the safety and well-being of the island, the agency linked its advertising in markets based on the increases in Covid cases and vaccination rates.

“We wanted to reach the markets where they were prioritizing vaccination, where we saw declining Covid cases. If a market was having a huge flare-up of Covid cases, we pulled back our marketing,” Chandler said. Discover Puerto Rico now uses streaming advertising to target the conscientious traveler, the evolution of the responsible traveler it focused on a few years ago.


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Tags: advertising, destination marketing, Digital Marketing, marketing strategy, streaming

Photo credit: Streaming TV continues to attract tourism agency dollars. Nicolas J Leclercq / Unsplash

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