DCT Abu Dhabi, Trade Desk reveal results of China campaign

The Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and The Trade Desk have announced the results of a pioneering campaign in China in the fourth quarter of 2019. (Screenshot) DCT Abu Dhabi launches first-of-its-kind, multi-channel, targeted travel campaign delivered by The Trade Desk and Publicis […]

This success makes DCT Abu Dhabi the first tourism board in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to run a successful programmatic premium video brand campaign in China simultaneously on Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba.

The bespoke demand-side platform (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 third 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 highly affluent travelers’ areas with proximity to cities with connecting flights to the UAE, as well as smaller cities across China with audiences with a high propensity to travel to Abu Dhabi in groups.

The results were impressive, with the display campaign driving over 1 million unique users to VisitAbuDhabi.cn, while 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 percent, significantly higher than the 0.25 percent industry average, which is based on regional and global campaigns in Dubai, measured by the Publicis programmatic team in MENA.

The success of the campaign was augmented thanks to The Trade Desk’s existing partnerships in China.

The global 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.

“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,” said Saeed Al-Saeed, destination marketing director at DCT Abu Dhabi.

“This partnership will allow us to target our Chinese audiences through a centralized media-buying model operated in the UAE and delivered through one of the leading DSPs in the market,” he added.

“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.”

He added: “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 of 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.”

She added: “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, after which it delivered a number of successful campaigns for global companies. Spark Foundry plans to replicate the campaign later in 2020.

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