This is part one in our four-part series exploring the data destination marketers need to consider at each stage of the “Awareness-Interest-Desire-Action” funnel.
As destination marketers, you have a lot of different responsibilities, which potentially means you also have a lot of different metrics from a lot of different places that can help you track your destination’s efforts. To help you think more strategically at your data sources, here’s a brief look at one tool you can use to measure DMO performance at each level of the marketing funnel.
In this series, we’ll be exploring each stage of the “Awareness-Interest-Desire-Action” funnel, one of the most commonly used marketing funnels. In part one, we’ll start by determining a good way to measure a DMO’s effectiveness at generating awareness, i.e. getting people to know that your destination exists and is welcoming visitors.
In normal times, this is how DMOs spend most of their time and energy on the leisure tourism side (particularly because at this stage they can remain partner-agnostic and help all the tourism businesses in their area), but in the Coronavirus era, awareness generation has become perhaps the most critical part of the customer journey. The first battle is making sure that travelers know what’s available to do in your destination and whether it’s safe to visit.
Since so much travel research and booking activity happens online and involves search engines, looking at user search behavior is a tempting target. As shown below, we can get a nice view of general user interest in a topic by looking at Google Trends.
However, while this data is pretty well focused on search users’ interest in tourism in Tucson, it’s also noisy, difficult to change (without a pandemic), and, most importantly, dependent on a whole lot of things besides the disposition of the DMO’s marketing budget.
Instead, you could look at sessions or users on your destination’s site as recorded by Google Analytics. Check your sessions per user and you’ll almost certainly find that it’s about 1.2, and doesn’t change much unless you buy a lot of high-bouncing paid traffic. So if you know one metric, you know essentially everything you need to know about the other. Depending on your content strategy, you might want to focus on one or the other, but we can certainly say that both are good measures of DMO reach.
That being said, when you’re looking at users on your destination site, you’re likely not looking at anything like a complete set of all the potential travelers that your marketing efforts (such as traditional advertising or marketing automation) might have influenced. Other potential travelers might just go to an OTA or direct to a preferred airline or hotel, or to the websites and social accounts of the major attractions in the area. So this is not a complete picture of, say, a regional TV ad campaign’s contribution to awareness amongst potential travelers, but it should be indicative. While comprehensive data is a great thing to strive for, it’s usually not necessary to get all the way there for us to start drawing useful business conclusions.
Another nice feature of DMO site users as a metric for awareness generation is that Google Analytics records many useful details (dimensions) about each person who comes to the site, including the channel that brought them in (offline promotions might result in users coming in directly or via organic search), and their location. At Simpleview, when we’re measuring the effectiveness of a campaign, we like to break sites users down into Local, Drive, and Fly markets as one layer of analysis.
Unfortunately, Google Analytics doesn’t make it easy to group user locations like this. It also doesn’t let you see how your region or a comparison set of similar DMOs is doing. And without such context, it’s hard to understand whether increases in users are unique results of your efforts or not.
At Simpleview, we strive to build tools that enable our clients to explore their data in a way that not only makes sense, but also allows you to get the most insights out of your data as possible.
We hope this gives you some idea of how to start matching tools and metrics to campaigns and strategic goals such as raising awareness. Check in next month for the next post in this series, where we’ll talk about how to measure and analyze marketing efforts aimed at capturing travelers in the interest stage of the purchase funnel.
If you have questions or you’d like to know more about the data resources available to you as a Simpleview client, reach out to your customer success team.