Driving Record Visitors for Kew Gardens

“We’ve worked with aip since April 2019. aip has juggled a lot of campaigns in a short period of time and they’ve been planned and managed effectively. The team have worked closely with our team, regularly coming to work with us in our office and have made themselves approachable and accessible.
The work aip has done on our Google Ads Grant account and the training provided has been brilliant. We are really excited and proud to have recently won a Gold DMA award for the work aip and Kew have done together, even beating Walt Disney and Google! This is a real testament to aip for the management of our Google Ads Grant account”.

Lauren Garland, Kew Digital Marketing Manager

Kew Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the UK’s leading visitor attractions. It is part of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – a world famous centre for botanical and mycological knowledge, which is unlocking the potential of plants and fungi, through the power of scientific discovery and research.

Objectives

  • Increase visitor numbers by 13%
  • Increase online sales by 15%
  • Maximise utilisation of Google Ad Grant funding

Kew’s target audience are domestic and international tourists in London & the South East; culture lovers and families. To attract our desired target audience we had to work against the ever-disappointing UK weather, and to counteract the impact of the declining attraction market. With this in mind, driving visitor numbers was no easy feat.

We analysed Kew’s ‘shape of the year’, mapping out key times we should be upweighting activity and developed automated technology to execute against this.  This enabled us to spend more time analysing performance and campaign insights, and less time manually optimising. 

With increasing levels of competition to attract a London and South East audience, we had to be smart with our budget and leverage clever technology in order to inform our strategy and messaging.

Our creative thinking fed into our search strategy, which was built around 3 core pillars:

Smart targeting – we developed a geo-targeted approach to speak to people in the locations with the highest propensity to visit Kew. To build momentum, we then set up custom remarketing lists to re-engage people who had already visited Kew, or who have been on the website.

Smart timing – understanding seasonality trends, we modelled Kew’s shape of the year and aligned budget weightings and bids to the times people are most likely to visit, whilst ensuring budget was allocated to the down-season too.

Smart technology – we developed bespoke tools, to target our audience in the right place and at the right time. AdMonitor, monitors results and competitors, and SIGNAL draws in data feeds on the weather and London transport.

Results 

  • Kew’s visitors are up 22% year to date (vs a target of 13%), despite the attraction market being down 15%
  • Online sales now account for 19% of all kew visitors, with sales up 84% (vs a target of 15%)
  • Kew achieved their best August ever in terms of visitor numbers