GetYourGuide on Get Your TV Commercial – Learnings on how to spend €4 million on TV ads

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This year’s NOAH Conference is coming up and with it ProSiebenSat.1’s venture arm’s SevenVenture Pitch Day. At the event taking place in London, startups can pitch to win an overall €7 million in advertising spending at ProSiebenSat.1’s TV stations (Hint: Application deadline is on October 5th, 2014).

Last year’s winner was GetYourGuide, a platform for unique city tours, which received a €4 million media budget. Founded in 2009, the startup with headquarters in Zurich and offices in Berlin and Las Vegas acquired its Berlin-based competitor Gidsy and iGottaGuide from New York. According to CrunchBase, the overall funding sums up to $45.5 million.

Johannes Reck, CEO and co-founder of GetYourGuide, who pitched spoke to VentureVillage about the startup’s strategy, different approaches, how to measure the success of TV campaigns, and how the cooperation with ProSiebenSat.1 went.

Before jumping in, GetYourGuide’s team spoke with other startups who already had experience with TV ads to get some basic advice. “That was very helpful and we were definitely able to avoid some mistakes that we would probably have gone through otherwise,” Reck said.

VentureVillage: Did you work with an agency or with your in-house video team?

Reck: For the first TV ad, we decided to play it safe and work with an agency. We had no experience in this field until then and decided it would a be a good way to learn. Our visual team was always closely involved in the production phase so that we were able to produce the following ads inhouse.

VentureVillage: What did you learn content and format wise?

Reck: The learning curve was tremendous. We tried several different approaches. With the first ad we tried to stand out using a Queen of England look-alike to add humour. We felt this could be a great way to get attention seeing as there are many other travel companies advertising in the same areas. Later on we changed the focus a bit and decided to go for a more informative angle by highlighting the advantages of GetYourGuide.

VentureVillage: How do you measure the success of the ads?

Reck: We measure the number of visits to the website and the number of app downloads. Depending on the uplift compared to the average numbers without TV, we are able to evaluate the success. Also taking into account the cost per download and website visits.

VentureVillage: How did you integrate other marketing channels?

Reck: We tried to support the campaign through some other marketing channels (e.g. YouTube) but put a high focus on TV to be able to get valid results to judge how successful TV can be for us.

“left”]VentureVillage: Is there any general advice you can give other startups on how to plan TV ads?

Reck: General advice is hard to give since it really depends on your product. Talk to other companies before you get started. Include people from different teams in the first brainstorming sessions. Always try to see the ad through the eyes of your customers.

Keep in mind that TV can be expensive – therefore try to learn fast, be flexible and make sure you always optimize your media planning.

VentureVillage: In general, what did GetYourGuide and the team learn from this experience?

Reck: We learned three important lessons:

  • to decide if we wanted to push the brand or traffic

  • to include a clear call to action and

  • to be flexible

VentureVillage: What surprised you the most? What were the best and worst experiences?

Reck: That the first ad idea did not perform as well as expected surprised us a lot – we were sure we had come up with something great. The best experience was that we were able to produce an inhouse TV ad that performed well with a very limited budget in a very short time.

VentureVillage: How did the cooperation with ProSiebenSat.1 work?

Reck: The cooperation worked very well. We had direct contact with someone at ProSiebenSat.1 which was always very helpful. We received great support and advice on the media planning, feedback on our ads, tips on how to improve and analyses after the flights.

VentureVillage: Do you plan on continuing TV ads in Germany and to start in other countries?

Reck: We are now running our last flight and will make a decision after the final evaluation by the end of October. We definitely see potential and hope to be able to continue in 2015.

VentureVillage: Thank you for your time and insights!

Update: An earlier version of this post said the spending was $4 million instead of €4 million.