Annual marketing review reveals Web, social media spikes

by Cole Dittmer
Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Twice yearly the marketing and public relations agencies hired by the Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitor’s Bureau reveal the findings of Wrightsville Beach’s marketing campaign to the Wrightsville Beach Marketing Advisory Committee. Representatives from Clean Design and French West Vaughan were on hand to present this information at the committee’s July 9 meeting. 

Clean Design marketing director Tom Hickey said $287,525 was spent on media buys to promote Wrightsville Beach from the period of July 2012 to May 2013 and that 64 percent of those buys were in online advertising. 

That online advertising campaign generated 48 million impressions during that time, which reflects the number of times an ad is displayed on a website and was an increase of 4 million impressions from Fiscal Year 2011-2012. 

Hickey said the more important figure was the 131,668 inquiries generated from the online, print and television ads that resulted in potential visitors requesting information about Wrightsville Beach. The top five inquiry generators were Paid Per Click online displays, Paid Per Click online searches, the Collinson Media Group, O, The Oprah Magazine and VisitNC. 

The average cost of each inquiry was $2.81 with online e-special inquiries producing the most efficient investment to return ratio, while the average print cost per impression was slightly higher at $2.21 and average television cost was $33 per impression. 

As for the Visit Wrightsville Beach website hosted by the CVB, Shawn Braden, CVB vice president of marketing, said 65 percent of all of the visitors to the site went from there to a lodging industry partner’s website. Braden said the Visit Wrightsville Beach site was working as the CVB had intended it to by being a platform for visitors to discover the websites of actual businesses on the island. 

The last presentation of the WBMAC’s Tuesday meeting was on Wrightsville Beach’s social media presence. French West Vaughan account director Leah Knepper said the Visit Wrightsville Beach Facebook page had a total of 25,533 fans as of May 31 and that it was the most robust social media platform for Wrightsville Beach. 

Within the July 2012 to May 2013 timeframe, Knepper said 2.3 million individual people viewed Wrightsville Beach content on Facebook and that 63,086 people have engaged with the Visit Wrightsville Beach Facebook page by liking, commenting on or sharing posts from the page. 

Facebook’s engagement rate measures how well people interact with a page and at 20 percent Knepper said the Visit Wrightsville Beach page’s rating far surpassed the 1-2 percent industry standard. 

Next for Wrightsville Beach’s social media presence will be the consultation of area experts and locals to make sure the social media content is reflective of the island’s unique flavor, Knepper said. Also, as approved in the FY 2013-2014 marketing budget, Knepper’s team will begin to develop an Instagram account. 

The North Carolina Holiday Flotilla’s 30th anniversary will also be a topic Knepper said her team would begin to create buzz about through social media. 

The WBMAC’s leadership was also reorganized at Tuesday’s meeting with Pres Davenport accepting the role as committee president after former president and Blockade Runner Beach Resort director of sales and marketing Jason St. Clair relocated to Montana in June. Zeke Partin was elected vice president. The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen will vote on St. Clair’s replacement at its July 11 meeting. 


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