The Oregon Adventurecation Facebook Co-op

The Facebook Co-Op Diagram

Co-operative advertising has long been a stalwart tactic in a destination marketer’s arsenal.  However, our trusty co-op model has not evolved much as travelers migrate to online first for their trip inspiration and travel planning needs.  That is why we were intrigued last fall when our friends at Sparkloft Media brought us an exciting Facebook co-op idea.  The case study below and accompanying presentation highlights our experience with a one-of-a-kind Facebook co-op designed to support the story that Oregon is an awesome place for outdoor recreation.

Background: This co-op program enabled ten partners to extend the reach and impact of their Facebook presence while enhancing Travel Oregon’s Adventurecation brand campaign in spring 2011.

The  opportunity promotes the spring campaign with a sweepstakes effort, Facebook advertising, and branded tabs on both the Travel Oregon Facebook page, as well as up to 10 participating partner pages.  Travel Oregon matched each partner’s Facebook ad buys to help drive additional Facebook fans, which allowed us and our partners to continue to have conversations with these potential travelers

Promotion elements included:

  • Hyper targeted ad buy:  Partners purchased highly targeted ads on Facebook to reach key demographics promoting the outdoor recreation theme, partner facebook pages and the contest. Travel Oregon then matched the ad purchase for each partner.  The ads link to custom tabs created for each participant’s Facebook page.
  • Interactive Facebook tabs:  Special Adventurecation partner tabs were produced to highlight Oregon Outdoor adventures, events and deals promoted by the participating RDMOs/DMOs.  While each tab had a common template, we were able to customize tabs to reflect the unique adventures and events for each place (Example tabs: Central OregonPortland Oregon Coast).
  • Facebook contest: Partners provided getaway prize packages for the Facebook Adventurecation contest, which requires viewers to submit a short statement about what their ideal Adventurecation would consist of (they also choose one of ten prizes to win). The contest is designed to create additional awareness and engagement and was linked to by all co-op partners.

To visualize how all of the elements worked together to drive Facebook likes across 10 partners, contest entries and downstream traffic to partner websites, view this presentation.

Results: Results from the first 8 weeks of the Facebook co-op indicate that this program has been a runaway success. Consider:

  • The diversity of regional and local partners has enabled us to serve over 82 million hyper targeted ad impressions with average click rates ranging from 0.05% to 0.13% (a typical travel banner ad receives a 0.08% CTR)
  • 75,000 page views were generated for the “Adventurecation” tab across all partners
  • Overall, the 10 partners experienced a collective 169% increase in fans; on average, the 10 partners have seen a 129% increases in their Facebook fans (the average starting base was at 3,258 fans…the average number of partner fans is now at 7,461)
  • Travel Oregon itself experienced a 70% increase in Facebook fans
  • Facebook Insights also indicate that on average, each of the partners are seeing a 320% increase in engagement!
  • Over 1000 folks entered to win an Oregon Adventurecation prize

Key Learnings: After spending the better part of the last 3 months tinkering with the tactical details of deploying this promotion, our Co-Op team (@RhiWest, @allisonkpark & Michael S) report the following insights and “watchouts”:

  1. Time. Time. Time.  Give yourself plenty of time for planning, securing materials/prizes and production.  We  gave ourselves 3 weeks just to  secure the materials (prizes, photos etc.) from partners and even that was not enough for a co-op of this scale.
  2. Optimize and refine.  Much like your PPC campaign, you or your agency will need to optimize and refine the creative and keywords for the campaign on an every day basis.
  3. Know the pitfalls of using third party contest apps such as Wildfire; our contest was down for a few hours courtesy of the great Amazon cloud failure
  4. Have fun with the contest form; keep it aspirational and don’t make folks jump through too many hoops.  In fact, Wildfire just featured the Adventurecation contest page as an example of Facebook contest “best practices”.
  5. Have a content plan. Fans are great and all but keeping them engaged and excited about your destination is easier said than done.  Make sure each partner has a content plan and more importantly be sure they have the resources to manage the deluge of new fans.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.