Ontario Northland is a Government-run transportation service for passengers and goods in Manitoba and Ontario. They keep the North connected with their comfortable and reliable bus and train service to Winnipeg, Sault Ste. Marie, Southern Ontario, Ottawa, and numerous other locations in between. Their motor coaches also provide shipping services via their Bus Parcel Express, an affordable station-to-station delivery service with multiple daily departures.
Ontario Northland came to Shout to help them increase their digital presence and marketing endeavours in Thunder Bay and the surrounding areas for their bus service line. With Greyhound no longer in the market, there was room for Ontario Northland to dominate the transportation industry in the North.
12-month Digital Media Strategy
Our team started with a comprehensive 12-month digital media strategy which included a thorough customer journey and competitor analysis, initial search results, website usability, retargeting efforts, content creation for each target audience, social media and digital strategy as a whole.
We worked with Ontario Northland to develop a consistent, branded look for all organic social media posts, and digital advertising. The key element in all branding was utilizing real people and locations to tell the story of who Ontario Northland is and where they operate. To capture this, we booked two photo and video shoots at the Ontario Northland station and other locations in Thunder Bay to hone in on the northern feeling and sense of connection one feels when travelling on the Ontario Northland busses.
With a library of photos and videos, our team was able to build Ontario Northland’s social media presence and increase their engagement organically through strong copy, quality designs and giveaways!
Search, and display campaigns were created with a focus on targeting students and seniors in Northwestern Ontario. The same kind of campaigns were also created to promote Ontario Northland’s parcel delivery service.
Keyword research was done to determine what search terms would bring the most traffic to the site and ultimately convert. The conversion tracking was set up in the google ads account and these conversions were used to optimize the account for smart bidding strategies. This ensured that the cost per click was kept at under $0.50 for a budget of $1250 per month in ad spend.
Display ads were used to also retarget website visitors who had left the site to browse other platforms on the web. This led to more return customers and increased the conversion rate.
On Facebook and Instagram we leveraged custom audiences to reach our intended demographic. We developed ad sets with a goal to build awareness in these cold audiences for all of our main targets -students, seniors, and adults, across Ontario and into Manitoba.
Utilizing data from the Facebook pixel, we also set up retargeting to serve more CTA-driven creative to the audiences that were considered warm. The main objective of these ads was to drive traffic to the Ontario Northland website, resulting in conversions.
Throughout the course of the campaign, we constantly assessed the copy and creative to determine which combinations of assets provided the most successful CTR and conversions for each of our ad groups. Constantly testing different static images, video, animation, and copy provided us with the data we needed to always be optimizing.
Ontario Northland’s motto is Connecting the North and with our creativity and data-driven metrics we were able to strengthen that connection and reach a wider audience online to help pave the way for the future of Ontario Northland in Northern Ontario.