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Tumblr/Yahoo Winterlust campaign captures social media advocates

Travel Alberta’s unique marketing campaign using Tumblr and Yahoo to encourage users to “Winterlust” has paid off with huge reach into the USA and substantial growth in social media followers. 

These followers, who widely share their authentic stories of Alberta through photos, experiences and videos, are among the province’s most effective brand advocates.

Building social communities and advocates is central to Travel Alberta’s marketing strategy, which is steeped in digital content. It recognizes today’s travellers are using online tools to research, plan and share their travel experiences.

The Winterlust campaign, which ran October to January, generated 24 million impressions through stream ads on Yahoo and 14 million impressions on Tumblr. These initiatives led to 24,000 engagements on Tumblr; 4,000 of those engagements were reblogs.   

It included content curated for Travel Alberta’s Tumblr page, as well as paid media on the microblog and instream Yahoo Travel ads to drive engagement. Posts included both campaign creative and partner content such as YouTube videos profiling tourist destinations such as the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Banff Springs and influencer content such as the recent Wilderness Culture video of Alberta.

The campaign, a first of its kind for Travel Alberta, used sophisticated audience targeting tools developed by search engine Yahoo, which bought Tumblr two years ago. This ensured messages and ads were delivered to adults across North America who had recently searched for travel destinations on Yahoo, or had read travel-related content on Yahoo sites.

“Working with Yahoo helped us get the word out to the right people about the many exciting activities that Alberta offers travellers," says Jasmine Thompson, director of consumer marketing USA for Travel Alberta. “And we were excited to use Tumblr,” she adds, “because its format highlights user-generated content and encourages engagements and shares, or reblogs.” 

Tumblr, which boasts more than 84 million viewers a day, also allows Travel Alberta to provide resources to plan your holiday, unlike many other platforms. 

“Tumblr allowed for deeper engagement in the content,” says Thompson. “You can click through and see all the other content that’s been created and curated. There’s not a lot of places where you can inspire consumers with content native to the platform.”

The campaign reached users efficiently, too. The Yahoo stream ads generated 50,000 clicks with a cost per click averaging less than a dollar, Thompson said.

“There are many travellers out there who love our province just as much as we do,” she says. “Working with Tumblr and Yahoo has allowed us the ability to serve paid media to consumers interested in travel but perhaps unaware of Alberta, and then introduce them to a community of others who love to share their passion for Alberta. They help us tell our story in the most authentic way.” 


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