Discover Boating recently released its mid-year marketing report, which showed strong results for the program.
This year, 500 million advertising impressions have been delivered by the program.
At the same time, traffic to DiscoverBoating.com is up 18.5 percent and the site has referred more than 600,000 consumers to manufacturer websites through July – an increase of 285 percent over 2012.
“We’ve learned and gotten much more cost-effective with our advertising and the second thing we’ve done is we’ve improved the navigation on our website,” said Discover Boating President Carl Blackwell. “So now it’ll take two or three clicks when before it would have taken five or six clicks to get to a manufacturer website.”
With several years of experience managing these campaigns, Discover Boating has gotten better with both organic SEO and search advertising, Blackwell said, delivering more traffic at a lower cost.
Discover Boating has also launched numerous new initiatives in advertising and public relations to get the word out about boating, most notably a new cinema advertising campaign. Discover Boating ran advertisements over the Easter and Memorial Day weekends, both of which saw record box office, meaning big exposure for the ads.
“What was more interesting for us is that the spots really resonated with the consumer,” Blackwell said. “Seventy-six percent of the people that were interviewed remembered our spots; 63 percent of consumers that saw the spot really liked the spot and the rest were just neutral on it.”
Online video continues to be successful as well, with the click-to-completion rate – when someone watches the entire video – exceeding industry benchmarks.
“In some places where we were advertising we were the highest-ranked click-to-completion ad,” Blackwell said. “That tells us that we’re definitely making an impact with our commercials.”
The campaign has also continued to grow its social media reach. Discover Boating now has more than 650,000 fans on Facebook and has increased its Twitter followers by 63 percent to more than 11,000. Discover Boating has been recognized for its social media success outside the industry as well for its efficiency. Last year, Facebook wrote a case study on the campaign and, this year, Discover Boating ended up being 25 percent more efficient.
It takes a lot of work and research to be that effective, Blackwell said.
“Social media is labor intensive,” he said. “You need to spend a lot of time and effort developing relevant content or sourcing it. Then you step back and you have to listen, see what your consumers are saying.”
For example, one thing the Discover Boating team learned is that “celebrities on boats” is not a driver of traffic or an area of interest to the boating community.
“We watch our analytics,” Blackwell said. “Whenever we make a post, we look at the number of shares, the number of people we reach, we look at the likes, we look at the dislikes. You just have to pay attention to your analytics.”