Google Lightbox Catalog Ads Digitize Print Guides, Engage Consumers

Brand Strategist
Published 10/29/13
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One of the biggest challenges with printed visitor guides has always been keeping them relevant in this increasingly digital world. We at Miles would argue that print guides still have an important place in a DMO’s marketing strategy, but as users turn to online channels more and more during their trip planning process, we’ve looked for ways to also make the content from those guides not only just available, but dynamic and experiential in digital formats.

Years ago we all started with the somewhat static eBooks, glorified pdfs that were not only hard to distribute but didn’t foster much engagement. Then came flipbooks, with more bells and whistles and embedded links – if you first downloaded the software to open it – yet still no impressive distribution stories. Finally, digital magazines appeared that didn’t require additional software and allowed readers to clip, share and save articles and photos across multiple platforms and devices. But getting those magazines in front of consumers was still a challenging, often expensive process using display media and online newsstands.

Google Lightbox Catalog ads – scalable ad units that expand to nearly full screen and allow users to click through pages and into deep links without having to open a new window or download special software – are one of the newest iterations of digitized print products and offer new ways for destinations to reach potential visitors in a user-friendly and contextual way.

Google Lightbox Catalog ads are among the newest iterations of digitized print products.

We’ve already seen some impressive results: Back in July, Brand USA launched a massive YouTube campaign incorporating Lightbox Catalog ads that showcase the Discover America Inspiration Guide. (The beta campaign was featured in this Marketing Land article discussing the new Google Catalogs.) Targeting three countries – Canada, Brazil and Japan – the innovative campaign engaged an impressive 6 million users (meaning users have actually hovered over the ad and then interacted with the Inspiration Guide content), not only increasing the overall reach of the Inspiration Guide but illustrating how print content can still thrive in this digital age. The campaign has ended, but you can still check out the creative here.