How Tourism NZ’s campaign made an unexpected impact

Tourism New Zealand’s campaign, ‘100% pure New Zealand’ widely surpassed goals it had set for itself. Think with Google’s case study takes us through how this experimental campaign resulted in an unexpected increase of visitors to our shores.

The case study was run for Tourism new Zealand by Think with Google, and measured the common marking challenge; How do I know my online marketing is making an impact offline? 

It was clear that Tourism New Zealand had the goal to increase incremental visitors to NZ and judging by the success it saw it did it without question; the campaign resulted in an 11 percent increase.

So how did Think with Google set up the experiment?

  • Step one — set up test groups: Tourism New Zealand kicked off its display campaign in Australia and randomly split prospective travelers into two groups. The control group was shown a non-promotional ad while the exposed group was served an ad from its 100% Pure New Zealand campaign.
  • Step two — follow up with visitors: The organization then launched another display campaign in New Zealand to connect with people who had visited the country after seeing or clicking on either ad in Australia. Tourism New Zealand served these tourists an ad promoting responsible travel.
  • Step three — measure incremental visits: Tourism New Zealand used 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. Tourism New Zealand then tapped BigQuery to compare the number of visitors who came to New Zealand after seeing a promotional ad to the number of travelers who visited after seeing a non-promotional ad.

What was learned

Display ads’ impact on tourist visits can be measured accurately. Tourism New Zealand saw that its promotional display ads drove 11 percent more tourist visits compared to the non-promotional ads. The organization also saw 12X higher return on ad spend (ROAS) for these incremental visits based on average visitor spend.


“Now that we can accurately attribute incremental impact of online advertising on offline arrivals to New Zealand, we are able to further optimize our creative, channel, and audiences across the consumer journey.” – Emil Petrov, Head of Strategic Projects, Tourism New Zealand

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