User generated content (UGC) has been around since social networks created a space for users to portray their work with ease. In 2015, UGC made its debut with the overnight boom of Instagram stars trading their “fame” for compensation or material goods. Fast forward to 2017 and consumers now have the majority of control for a “curated” digital experience – they want to see things that look like they belong in social networks; things that give perspectives of “I can see myself doing that.”
In partnership with The Atkins Group, Odyssey Storyworks jumped at the opportunity to overhaul South Padre Island’s paid social advertisements with a strict UGC approach, that went against the norms of “top 10” lists and the evergreen couple running down the beach at sunset. With users wanting to see activities and attractions, and a new model of media consumption, Odyssey delivered a human approach to ads in new formats.
Following the new model of content that consumers want to view, we (legally) sourced user generated content (UGC) through proprietary software, making way for new perspectives of activities and attractions on South Padre Island. Within 3 weeks, we owned 100’s of new videos from Instagram, all sourced from real people like you.
With new ad formats available through Facebook and Instagram, we cranked out first-person POV social ad units, that ran in social feeds across primary and secondary demos.
We wanted to keep these ads as “real” and human as possible. After all, these ads are real; with footage taken by real people and shared within their personal networks.
Among our most effective UGC-powered ad formats were Instagram Carousel Units and Instagram Story Units. Packed with powerful visual imagery, video and embedded calls-to-action, these outperformed other ad types by up to 3-to-1.
Facebook Canvas Units, allowing us to essentially build a microsite within Facebook and “takeover” the user experience, outperformed all other formats. Canvas units were built with moving images, video and carousels as well as with embedded calls-to-action to encourage trip booking.
Activating The Bottom of the Funnel
Trip Booking took a different form in South Padre Island. Whereas most destination marketing organizations (DMOs) rely on major hotelier’s centralized booking systems, SPI is primarily comprised of independent operators, BNBs and AirBNBs.
This required a unique approach to “bottom of the funnel” activation.
The Odyssey team built a customized CRM system to manage offers and lead distribution. We began by placing enticing offers on the website in the form of banner strips, modals and other merchandizing techniques.
To accept the offer, a visitor would share a small amount of information that helped categorize their interests. Next, we captured the visitor’s browsing path on the website to further help implicitly determine their interests (e.g. if they browsed beach pages, they must have an interest in beaches).
We then – with their permission – distributed leads electronically to one or more independent operators matching their interests.
The campaign continues into 2018. Average results month-over-month include: