SAN FRANCISCO: Serving programmatic native ads on Google's DoubleClick network has proven to be a boon for the San Francisco Travel Association, which saw hotel bookings increase 1,662% over a two-month period.

San Francisco Travel launched its summer campaign earlier this year with the aim of persuading potential tourists to spend at least three days in the city by directing them to content on its website.

The organisation wanted to avoid driving consumers too quickly to purchase, largely because of a common perception about the expensiveness of San Francisco, and instead hoped to entice them with interesting native content around topics like food and events.

However, one of the problems associated with native advertising is the need to make the content fit numerous screen sizes and display types, so San Francisco Travel teamed up with Sojern, a programmatic marketing platform, which has now released some results from the campaign.

Sojern said that native ads, when served programmatically, can be done so at scale with the additional benefit of being viewed by people who have already shown a desire to engage with the content.

"Marketers can now get custom content that seamlessly integrates with a wide variety of websites, instead of having to create numerous ads for each platform and user experience," Sojern said in a blog post.

According to the campaign results, not only did San Francisco Travel see a huge increase in hotel bookings compared with their previous direct response campaign, but there were also 1,589 flight confirmations and 379 car rental confirmations.

"We were able to see what resonates best with potential visitors and serve up content that's meaningful to them as they make their travel destinations," said Karen Lau, Manager of Digital Marketing at San Francisco Travel. "That's helping us turn 'maybe' into 'yes'".

And speaking to Adweek, she added: "With normal display ads, we would have had to build templates and go through a more structured internal creative review process for each piece.

"With native ads we just provided copy, image and a link, so we were able to bypass that review process and be more nimble and flexible."

Data sourced from Sojern, Adweek; additional content by Warc staff