Print advertising garnered more than 23,479,491 million impressions for the Division, with placements in more than 20 different publications. Top-performing publications included Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Southern Living, Garden & Gun, New York Times Magazine and O, The Oprah Magazine.
A growing interactive plan incorporated search, CPM and CPC initiatives designed to drive traffic to VisitNC.com. Strongest-performing traffic drivers include Yahoo! Messenger, TripAdvisor, and weather.com. Custom eBlasts using subscriber lists from media outlets like Budget Travel, Sherman’s Travel and Family Fun support monthly sweepstakes.
As the core audience’s behaviors have shifted more toward research and booking online, the Division’s digital plan became more focused.
Display advertising drove traffic to VisitNC.com with the ultimate goal of achieving user activity: generating downstream traffic to partner sites, requesting a travel guide, opting in to an email subscription, participating in a sweepstakes, downloading a virtual brochure, and downloading itineraries. Seasonal display media buys in Fall 2011 promoted the North Carolina brand on publishers and networks including TripAdvisor, Travel + Leisure, Casale Media, Adara Media, Ad.com / AOL, Interclick, and Weather.com. Buys included rich media as well as standard Flash creative to attract users by showcasing the unique experiences to be found in North Carolina. The digital plan also included paid search.
The Division negotiated favorable rates with leading travel, lifestyle and special interest publications to provide partners with cost-effective opportunities to broaden the reach of their own advertising efforts. Thirty partners were showcased in magazine insertions in:
- Better Homes and Gardens
- Family Circle
- Food & Wine/Travel + Leisure
- Good Housekeeping
- The New York Times Sunday Magazine
- O, The Oprah Magazine
- Southern Living
- Garden & Gun
- Outside Magazine
- Civil War Traveler
With more than 550 golf courses statewide, North Carolina is a leading destination for golf travel. The microsite Golf.VisitNC.com was merged into VisitNC.com as a featured journey to provide golf enthusiasts the full advantage of the complementary travel planning content on the main site. Partnerships with the Brunswick Islands, Currituck Outer Banks, the Pinehurst/Southern Pines/Aberdeen Area CVB and Pinehurst Resort added greatly to the program’s overall reach and impact. The 2011 campaign emphasized interactive media including The Golf Channel family of websites and public relations. The subscriber base for the monthly golf eNewsletter grew to 19,985, and six golf-related sweepstakes generated a total of 65,321 entries.
While out-of-state visitors tend to stay longer and spend more when visiting the state, North Carolinians are also a point of focus within the Division’s program. Residents typically comprise approximately one third of annual visitation, and partnerships with the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters, the North Carolina Press Foundation and UNC-TV remain key to the Division’s ability to cost-effectively reach more than nine million prospective travelers in the state’s own backyard.
North Carolina Association of Broadcasters
- Member television stations aired 4,167 Division spots representing a value of $400,108.
- Member radio stations aired 33,890 spots representing a value of $1,462,358.
- Additional exposure for VisitNC.com was gained through digital advertising on Association member websites.
North Carolina Press Foundation
- One hundred twelve papers published 1,311 ads representing a value of $1,159,849.
- Additional exposure for VisitNC.com was gained through digital advertising on the member newspapers' websites.
UNC-TV’s award-winning team produced 52 weekly episodes of its popular show North Carolina Weekend during the past year. Each episode was broadcast statewide three times weekly with a potential audience of more than 10.6 million citizens of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and income levels in North Carolina and portions of Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. The average rating for North Carolina Weekend in the Triangle area is 0.8 or 0.6 of a ratings point above the PBS prime time average rating of 1.3. The series featured more than 260 destinations, attractions and events across the state.
Each of these valued in-state media partners also provided additional exposure online for the state’s messaging and VisitNC.com.