Remember when the Sunday newspaper was our primary source for where to shop and what was on sale? While kids fought over who first got to read the comics pages, parents flipped through the inserted circulars and editorial sections scanning ads for sales. And then, the family would pile in the car to drive to the shopping center. If that doesn’t sound familiar, then you are likely a digital native, born into the age of technology and fully immersed in a world with computers, the internet, and mobile devices.
The swing from print advertising to digital advertising has disrupted the way consumers shop, along with the way marketers promote. We’ve left behind “mass communication” and replaced it with more intense “targeting,” that ensures messages, content and platforms are aimed specifically at the individuals with whom we want to connect. We no longer “place” ads, we “deliver” them. We deliver them to the inboxes, web browsers, and apps of the individual members of the audience we are targeting.
That’s why, when you are searching an app for brownie recipes, you are served up an ad for cocoa powder. Why when you are browsing an auto buying website for a new car, you receive ads for car transport services. Why when you are an engineer who loves mountain biking and lives in Milwaukee, you are served a Made for Rockford ad.
Made for Rockford is the talent attraction campaign developed and managed by RACVB in partnership with the City of Rockford and Woodward Charitable Trust. Our goal is to attract new residents to our area by generating positive stories in the national media, heightening the region’s presence in social media and on the web (check out MadeForRockford.com), and targeting potential residents through digital advertising.
Our research revealed that professionals in engineering, medicine and education in upper Midwest cities would respond to Rockford’s affordable cost of living, dynamic downtown, proximity to airports, community diversity and outdoor recreation. These are the folks we targeted in our digital advertising campaign February through May 2022.
In this first phase of the Made for Rockford campaign, we set out to learn which media and messages worked best in garnering the attention of our target audience. Here’s what we learned.
Delivering display banner ads to members of our target audience based on their use of specific apps and web browsing activities generated the highest click through rates to MadeForRockford.com. On these platforms, our messages about affordable living performed about the same as our messages on outdoor recreation. In total, programmatically delivering display banners created nearly six million impressions and nearly ten thousand clicks through to the website.
We also tested “native advertising” (those paid ads that match the form and function of the media in which they appear, i.e., fit natively and seamlessly on the content page) delivered to this same audience and while we created fewer impression (just over 450 thousand), we had a higher click through rate of .27 percent. The best performing message in our native ad was an affordability proposition, “If you’re a chef without a chef’s kitchen” (you are Made for Rockford).
Our campaign also included digital ads delivered on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, with our outdoor recreation message significantly generating the highest responses.
With all these ads taking prospects to MadeForRockford.com, we are able to track performance of the site. For the duration of the ad campaign, the site received more than 12,500 pageviews, and more than 11,000 of these were unique. These visitors spent an average time of 2:31 minutes on the site.
In phase two of the campaign we use the campaign results (there’s a lot more data behind these highlights!) to further refine our efforts to increase impressions, click throughs, time on the website and leads. Our goal is to partner closely with employers to leverage their recruitment efforts with the Made for Rockford advertising strategy and resources.
One of those resources is a new talent at RACVB. Jacqui Corsi joined us August 1 as Vice President of Marketing. Jacqui is a true Made for Rockford success story, who chose to relocate to Rockford from near Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Her experience in marketing, communications, fund development and non-profit leadership are well aligned with the talents for our leadership team and staff and we are thrilled to welcome her to Rockford.