I spent four months as Interim Chief Marketing Officer (I was running my own agency but agreed to go full time and set their marketing department up) for Skiddoo, an online travel agency launching in the Philippines. The marketing plan I wrote called for aggressive social media marketing.

My account executive at Twitter let me know that Twitter video ads were selling for $0.01 (per view) for videos that lasted 15 seconds or less, and I decided to find a way to capitalize on that. However, it posed some problems:

  • What sort of content can an online travel agency display in a 15 second video that will increase brand awareness, increase brand loyalty, or result in a conversion?
  • What will the production costs be?

The Format

The central tenet of content marketing is that useful content given away freely increases brand trust and credibility. After some testing, I decided on a slideshow that featured four captioned images.

The first slide would show the title and our branding, and since it was the thumbnail for the video, it would need to stimulate enough curiosity to compel the click. Then four slides would run, at two second intervals, and end with our branding; no call to action was a conscious decision to reduce the “commercialized” look of the video and increase shareability (consumers don’t want to be seen as shills for brands).

The Content

I’m an expert at sourcing low- or no-cost content through partnerships. I contacted the most well known travel blogs in the Philippines, including Anton Diaz, a global top 100 travel blogger and made them a proposal:

“Would you allow us to use photographs from your blog articles in exchange for co-branding in a Twitter video campaign that we’re going to run? In return for allowing us to use your content, you’ll get your brand exposed to tens of thousands of Filipinos interested in travel who may not already be aware of your blog.”

Nobody we approached said no. Now we had the content for free; I just needed a concept that Twitter users would find interesting enough to click and watch, and useful enough to act on.

The Concept

Based on available psychographic data, I decided to have the first video list four “hidden beaches” in the Philippines that tourists might not know about.

The Results

Our video twitter campaign was a big success, averaging $0.01 per video view, resulting in 49,845 views and 411,698 impressions. That’s a 12% view rate. The campaign cost US$697 and generated 35 bookings (which means the campaign immediately paid for itself, not to mention the Average Lifetime Value of each new customer), an added bonus to the brand awareness it was already building.

In Summary

One graphic artist produced a very cost-effective campaign that met all campaign goals and gave Skiddoo a best practice for producing video in a short format that gets results.