Staff Reporters
Mar 12, 2020

How does a brand measure offline success through an online campaign?

CASE STUDY: How Tourism New Zealand and Google got a better handle on whether online ads resulted in real-world visits to the country.


Tourism New Zealand wanted to better ascertain whether people who were seeing its ads were actually acting upon them and visiting the country.


In a recent campaign, the brand partnered up with the Google Ads team to look for answers. Running display ad campaigns was not new to the brand, but this time, it needed an advanced tailored measurement approach to attribute what was happening in the real world to its online advertising efforts.

What proved doubly challenging was that this conversion type wasn’t exactly easy to achieve, as people had to actually pack their bags and travel to a different country. Plus, to abide by privacy laws, all data had to be anonymised and used at an aggregated level only.

Phase one of the campaign saw the setting up of two test groups in Australia: The control group was shown a non-promotional ad, while the exposed group was served an ad from the organisation's 100% Pure New Zealand campaign.

Phase two was a follow-up with visitors. This involved another display campaign launched in New Zealand to connect with people who had visited the country after seeing or clicking on either ad in Australia. The tourism board served these tourists an ad promoting responsible travel.


To measure incremental visits, Tourism New Zealand used Google's Campaign Manager to match each unique impression for its campaign in New Zealand to each unique impression for its campaign in Australia. Each match was counted as a country visit.

It then tapped the BigQuery tool to compare the number of visitors who came to New Zealand after seeing a promotional ad to the number of travellers who visited after seeing a non-promotional ad.

Initial findings showed that the promotional display campaign drove 11% incremental tourist visits that would not have occurred organically. Through continued and scaled experimentation with this measurement solution, the brand observed improving results when evaluated over a longer time span.

Plus, based on average tourism contribution when visiting, these incrmental visits delivered an overall ROI of 25:1.

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