How DMOs Can Measure the ROI of Digital Advertising

By Stamp

How DMOs Can Measure the ROI of Digital Advertising

DMOs should be measuring the return on the investment to show stakeholders that their digital marketing strategy is working. Are you looking at the right metrics to determine the ROI of your digital strategy? Read time: under 4 minutes

When you review your investment in digital advertising you should notice that as a percentage of your media spend, more and more of your media budget is being allocated for interactive media each year. Vox reported in December of 2017 that worldwide digital ad spending overtook TV as the largest advertising category with 41% of the market. This is primarily because a good marketing campaign will follow consumer habits, and people are spending more and more time in front of a computer or mobile screen.

The second reason this trend is happening is because of the ability to measure the efficiency of digital advertising when compared to traditional advertising. Whether your digital investment has increased or not, you (or your team) should make every effort to measure the return on the investment (ROI) of your marketing spend to demonstrate to stakeholders the viability of your overall marketing strategy but specifically the shift toward digital.

So, as a DMO, how do you measure your digital media spend ROI? Since DMOs are typically advertising various aspects of their destination and having the click-through go to the destination’s website for travel inspiration, planning calendars, or requesting a visitors guide, let's add website traffic to the tourism site and requests for visitor guides to the ROI goal for the digital campaign. Both of those actions show some level of intent to travel and will bring consumers that much closer to an actual visit. In this case, the ROI measurement metric has to then shift to an awareness model where impressions and click-through rates (CTRs) become the bar by which to gauge performance—and emphasis is most often placed on clicks.

Common Digital Vocabulary Words:

  • ROI (Return on Investment) - One way to quantify what you are getting out of the campaign.
  • CTR (Click-Through Rate) - How often are the people who see your ad clicking on it. The higher the number the better.
  • Impressions - The number of times your ad shows up on a website, phone, or digital screen.
  • CPM (Cost Per Thousand) - The cost you pay for every 1,000 times your ad shows up.
  • PPC (Pay-Per-Click) - Another way to purchase ads online where you only pay when someone clicks.
  • CTA (Call to Action) - Your strategy to generate an interaction with a user. For DMOs, this could be a click-through to a Call Now message, a request for information, etc.

Smart marketers aim to achieve a high click-through rate. To calculate the CTR take the number of clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown expressed as a percentage (clicks ÷ impressions = CTR). The platform your ad is on determines the benchmark, but the industry you’re advertising for also determines the benchmark. For example, a .82% CTR on Facebook through an ad network might be considered a success, while a 1.5% CTR is the benchmark on a traditional Facebook campaign. Another example of a strong CTR is 2% on Google PPC. While all these numbers may not really make much sense to you, the key is to aim for as high of a CTR as possible, and then to compare it to the industry standard like the ones mentioned previously.

CTR is an important metric, however, the total number of clicks is what is most important. For example, if a campaign had 1,000 impressions delivered with a 10% CTR, it would have delivered 100 clicks. But, if a campaign with the same budget had a 5% CTR on 10,000 impressions, it would have delivered 500 clicks. Your budget and targeting will influence the number of impressions you buy. With every click to your website, you will have more eyeballs reading your content which will then generate more visitors.

However, a DMO cannot determine ROI from one single measurement metric. The total investment in your digital media spend has to be analyzed against the number of clicks per campaign, the traffic to your website, and the number of visitor guide sign-ups coming from those digital leads as well as the historical trends of occupancy and average daily rate (ADR). Looking at all of these metrics combined will determine how to improve or what changes to make for more effective marketing ROI. If reading this felt more like a class in a foreign language, then we might be able to help you and your organization. We have been planning, buying, optimizing, and reporting on digital media for years and have a great team (led by Cristen) that focuses on interactive media. So, when you’re ready to talk, reach out to us and we’ll help you generate great results.