(Editor’s note: The Virginia Dept. of Wildlife Resources received a grant from ACI to fund an R3 marketing campaign. Below is an abridged version of a report provided by the department. Open this file to read the entire report.)
Most R3 Marketing digital advertising campaigns across the nation today are geared towards increasing resident hunters. Virginia geared its campaign to nonresidents in nearby states. When a person hunts in their home state and then takes a hunting trip out of state, it increases their avidity for the sport, creating a higher likelihood of retention.
The campaign was a success, proving over a 6.69 Return on Investment (ROI). In addition, the full GoOutdoorsVirginia system had an overall 22.4% increase in nonresident hunting license revenue compared to previous license year.
Nonresident digital ads were live from December 2020 through March 2021, with trailing retargeting digital ads continuing into April 2021. Images used included active hunting images with proper hunting safety reflected and game images such as turkey. Our advertising agency regularly monitored the ad placements and real- time data dashboards to view digital ad performance metrics.
The social ads generated $14,360 in revenue for prospecting (1.3 ROAS) and $89,992 in revenue (17.2 ROAS) for retargeting. This campaign reached 679,216 out-of-state residents, resulting in 2.5 million impressions. The “Hunt Virginia” ads were shared 461 times over the course of the 3+ month campaign.
For the search ads, the overall campaign returns came in at 2.03 ROAS. Just over 600,000 impressions were delivered to potential Virginia hunters and will go towards building overall brand awareness in the area. Washington, DC traffic had lower spends (triggered by demand) but the highest returns. Maryland, North Carolina and West Virginia were the highest spends by state as well as some of the highest returns.
The standalone ACI Display campaign returned a 0.6 ROAS. The main benefit for this initiative was to build awareness in the region (driving search) and to bring users into the general remarketing pool to benefit other running campaigns. Almost 20 million impressions were delivered (19,954,006) and 52,133 clicks generated. While West Virginia had the highest returns, most demand came from New Jersey, North Carolina and Tennessee driving spends in those states.
Call to Action
Social ads and digital display ads had the “Shop Now” call to action, bringing customers to our “Visit Virginia to Hunt” landing page, where they could find information on where to hunt, WMAs, etc. The landing page also contained two clickable buttons that said “Buy Your License,” which then directed the customer to the GoOutdoorsVirginia.com licensing site. In mid-January, we removed the landing page step for the prospecting ads and sent users directly to the licensing site instead.
People ages 18-65 in Kentucky, Maryland, DC, North Carolina, New Jersey, Tennessee and West Virginia who:
- Previously purchased a license; OR
- Have selected Facebook interests for hunting and outdoor recreation; OR
- Who qualify for our customer Facebook audience look-a-like users; AND
- Do not currently hold a valid hunting license in Virginia
- Website: dwr.virginia.gov/visit-virginia-to-hunt/
- Notes from the Field Hunting: Customers who previously purchased a hunting license (regardless of residency) are added to a monthly newsletter.
- Examples of content created/shared on the DWR blog, in email, and on social media channels
Because of the campaign success, we will include it in our ongoing digital advertising strategy for years to come. In the future, we would run the test campaign September through November when it is a more popular time for hunting in Virginia.