The ‘Year of’ launches are Visit Wales’ annual hero campaigns, and a chance to communicate the brilliance of an entire nation via the Cymru Wales brand. January to March is the peak holiday booking window in the UK, so a time when competition is at its highest, with Wales competing with all other home nations as well as countries abroad.

We identified key audience behaviours that would fuel creative development and content production and five global outdoor trends relevant to both our target audiences and Wales’ strategic focus.

Much of our insight had uncovered a need for a more humanised approach; less stunning yet impersonal landscapes – more experiences in amazing places. Across all the key audiences we found that passions connect with people, but it’s the personal memory of that moment that drives a more emotive and active response. These key insights really galvanised the inter-agency creative, PR and digital teams across the campaign. 

Social channels were the key drivers of the campaign, and the main opportunity to engage and interact with our audience.

The objective of this campaign was to increase brand awareness and consideration. 

Primary KPI’s: 3 million video views, 3.9 million engagements, 91k unique visits to site 

Secondary KPI’s: 2.4 million reach


Our data-driven insights influenced both our creative and targeting. According to Brandwatch social listening analysis, events (including sporting events and concerts), National Parks (especially Snowdonia), walking opportunities and beaches are motivating people to visit Wales. And adventure, accommodation, food and scenery in Wales also drive positive sentiment. So here we had a solid jumping off point for both messaging and audience focus.

We activated this campaign on Facebook/Instagram and Pinterest. Facebook/Instagram was the main performance driver as historically this channel delivered the strongest and most cost-effective results for Visit Wales. It also offers the most advanced targeting capabilities and ad buying models which allowed us to deliver a successful campaign and hit forecast.

Travel searches on Pinterest increase significantly in at the beginning of the year when users start planning their holidays. Therefore we spotted a window of opportunity to be heavily active on the platform during this crucial travel planning period.

Our approach

We launched the campaign in early January, when search data shows demand starting to peak, and then ran tiered targeting to strengthen the relationship and recall with potential travelers. We served mobile-optimised video and static ads across Facebook (including Facebook News Feed, Instagram Feed, Audience Network and Instagram, Facebook and Messenger Stories placements) and Pinterest (including home feed, search results and related Pins placements):

Tier One: A reach and frequency video campaign promoting the main video to the wider travel audience on Facebook/Instagram and video views campaign targeting a wider travel audience on Pinterest.

Tier Two: Auction video campaigns on Facebook/Instagram and Pinterest, promoting complementary videos to users who previously engaged with the hero video and campaign landing page to strengthen the connection through a continuation of the story. 

Tier Three: Facebook/Instagram and Pinterest traffic campaigns promoting static creative to re-engage users who watched the videos; encouraging them to visit the site. 

We chose a Facebook/Instagram reach and frequency video campaign, the first we’d run for Visit Wales, to control delivery of our video campaign by capping frequency at two per week (not possible through the standard auction buying method).

For the auction campaign on Facebook/Instagram (Tier 3), we used the Campaign Budget Optimisation tool which allowed us to spend our budget in the most efficient way, by finding the best opportunities to serve our ads across various placements in real-time.

Despite pausing the campaign early due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our activity over-performed on key metrics of reach, unique visits, video views and engagement, providing clear evidence of social channel influence and impact. And site traffic and onsite content engagement indicated clear future travel intent.


An impressive 51% of the videos we served were watched in full, indicating that our targeting had tapped into a highly-engaged audience. And the average click-through rate for the static traffic ads was 104% higher than the lifetime account average.  

Against the main KPIs, the campaign was a huge success; reaching 5.7 million unique users (+137% on forecast) and surpassing all the primary targets.

7,500,068 video views (148% vs. forecast)

101,156 unique visits to site (11% vs. forecast)

6,211,322 engagements (60% vs. forecast)

Year of Outdoors was another partnership with iCrossing, in which they delivered on their core goals for the Year of Outdoors campaign: cross-channel insight that informed strategy and creative direction.As production was built out, they advised on the right platforms for us to reach the audience, in the most effective way. 

Amy Murphy