The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and The Trade Desk today announced the successful results of a pioneering campaign in China in Q4 2019. The campaign, which was run by The Trade Desk in partnership with Publicis Media’s Spark Foundry agency, drove digital engagements from travel Chinese audiences to DCT Abu Dhabi’s China website, where users could engage with interactive content featuring well-known Chinese celebrity, Xiao Zhan.
Publicis said this success makes DCT Abu Dhabi the first tourism board in the MENA region to run a successful programmatic premium video brand campaign in China simultaneously on Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba. The bespoke DSP technology managed to unify and secure premium video inventory across the three ecosystems and target DCT’s travel audiences efficiently by applying travel interest targeting, brand safety guidelines and 3rd party click fraud verifications. The campaign was delivered and conceptualized by Publicis Media – Spark foundry Dubai, and brought a higher level of control and transparency into one of the most challenging markets in South Asia due to the complexity of the platforms.
DCT Abu Dhabi’s brand campaign was delivered across video, display and native, targeting high affluent travellers areas with proximity to cities with connecting flights to the UAE, as well as smaller cities across China with audiences with high propensity to travel to Abu Dhabi on groups. The results were impressive, with the display campaign driving over 1 million unique users to the VisitAbuDhabi.cn, whilst the native campaign racked up 31 million impressions and 900,000 clicks in 13 days. It also achieved an unprecedented click-through rate of 2.98%, significantly higher than the industry average of 0.25%*.
The success of the campaign was augmented thanks to The Trade Desk’s existing partnerships in China. The global demand-side platform (DSP) is the first to have direct access to Baidu, iQiyi, Youku and Tencent inventory, providing unprecedented scale in the market as well as ultra-premium video access. Further integrations with leading data, brand safety and anti-fraud partners ensured reach, scale, and performance throughout the campaign.
Saeed Al Saeed, Destination Marketing Director at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi said: “The Trade Desk and Spark Foundry worked with us last year on this innovative partnership, helping us access the level of transparency and control we have always wanted for our digital media buys in China. This partnership will allow us to target our Chinese audiences through a centralised media-buying model operated in the UAE and delivered through one of the leading DSPs in the market. We are working on a new roster of tailored solutions that will allow us to respond even faster to the ever-changing dynamics of the travel market in China, keeping us at the forefront of that change.”
Alain Brahamcha, CEO of Publicis Media’s Spark Foundry MENA said of the partnership: “This is a clear and fantastic example of Publicis Media – Spark Foundry implementing and pioneering a fully bespoke ad-tech solution for the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, helping them overcome the challenges of efficiently targeting audiences in China on a transparent, premium ecosystem across three key partners – Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba. This incredible partnership showcases the rapid progression of the Chinese advertising market, moving towards the unification of the three main ecosystems in China through one of the leading DSPs in the market.”
Ilona Lubojemska, Senior Director Client Services at The Trade Desk, said: “We know that China presents a huge opportunity for marketers – with one of the largest and fastest growing middle classes in the world – which is why we have worked to lay strong foundations in the country over the past few years. Our approach has resulted in strong partnerships with key players across China, the benefits of which are demonstrated in this highly successful campaign with Spark Foundry. We are delighted to have supported in the delivery of this campaign and look forward to working with Spark Foundry in China again this year.”
The Trade Desk’s beta launch in China took place in late 2018, following which it delivered a number of successful campaigns for global companies. Spark Foundry plans to replicate the campaign later in 2020.