The Pulaski County Commissioners may be willing to consider a return to television advertising, as a way to promote tourism. The county ran tourism ads in the Chicago market back in 2016, but decided against doing it again last year. Instead, they opted to go with a cheaper online-only advertising package.
But Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer says it wasn’t as effective at drawing traffic to the county’s tourism website. “The highest traffic we have ever seen per day on our website was in April of 2016 when we did the TV commercial,” he told the county commissioners this month. “Now whether the amount of traffic per day justifies the amount that those commercials cost, I can’t say. But the best months we’ve had are that April of 2016 when we did the commercial and then June and July of 2016.”
Origer said the CDC had good results from Facebook advertising last year. The problem was that initially, most of the traffic came from local people, not outside tourists. “That was actually the highest month of all time we’ve had was March of 2017,” he said. “What we did when we went back and did Facebook advertising again was that we changed the parameters so that no one who already likes our Facebook tourism page would see that video. We targeted certain age demographics, people who list certain interests in their profile, outdoorsy sorts of things, and for the most part, we tried to target Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.” But he said there were still some unexpected results. For example, a lot of the video’s views came from Mexico.
Based on the updated information, Origer asked the commissioners if they would like him to proceed with getting proposals for advertising strategies. “The data’s pretty strong that television has brought the most people to our website,” he said. “And we can be flexible with how much we spend, maybe two or three networks and cap it at a certain one. I don’t have proposals yet. I just wanted to run that by you and see if you are open to hearing those proposals a little more than we were last year, given that I actually have some data.” Commissioner Jerry Locke said he’d be “very willing” to hear the proposals, and Commissioner Kenny Becker agreed.