Hunt Aberdeen



The Aberdeen Hotel Alliance approached RSA to increase visitors during hunting season, primarily for late season hunts. Aberdeen and the surrounding area are home to world-class pheasant hunting with more than 322,000 acres of land open to hunters. Opening weekend and early season hunting in October have always been popular for pheasant hunters, but with a season lasting into December and now January, attracting hunters to late season hunts had become a priority.


Next, our team began researching and discussing strategies to combat the challenge in front of us. Our primary demographic had already been set as pheasant hunters, however the goal was to put heads in beds, appealing to hunters outside of Aberdeen and South Dakota in general enticing them to book a trip to Aberdeen for their next hunting excursion.

We analyzed website traffic over previous years, looking at what geographic regions users were already coming from, and spoke to hotel and business owners to gain their insight. Based on our research, we narrowed down our geotargeting locations to five metro areas in the Midwest.

While the average person may think only of men when targeting hunters, after speaking to many business owners we also noted that women hunters are becoming more prevalent each year. With this information we opted to target anyone interested in pheasant hunting.


Every hunter counts down the days to opening weekend, making those plans weeks and months in advance to open the season with a great hunt. Our goal was to increase hunting trips later in the season when there are fewer hunters in the area, but still an ample number of birds and favorable hunting conditions. RSA created the tagline “Better Late Than Ever” and modeled our creative strategies around promoting late season hunting as the perfect time to plan a hunting trip. Experience the wide-open spaces and higher bird counts, all with smaller crowds. For example, one of our vlogs focused on one of the benefits of late season hunting being that the birds are gathering in more condensed areas after fields are cut and harvested, as well as the cooler weather being easier on hunters’ canine companions.

A challenge most hunters face when planning their hunting excursions is their best hunting tool and friend, their dog. Many hunters have expressed their frustrations with finding dog-friendly hotels and lodging when they plan out-of-state hunting trips. For Aberdeen, this was never a challenge with nearly all of their hotels and hunting lodges accommodating mans best friend. To supplement our campaigns, we created additional artwork boosting the dog-friendly amenities in Aberdeen, welcoming hunters and their dogs to plan their next hunting trip in Aberdeen.


With demographic, geo-targeting, and creative plans in place, the campaigns began. Our strategy targeted males and females interested in pheasant hunting in the five metro areas we defined through our research. In addition to our broad-spectrum targeting, we added a tracking pixel to the website, allowing us to target users nation-wide who had visited the website in the past 30 days, encouraging them to come back to the website and plan their trip.

[graphic – digital ads mockup]

The campaigns kicked off in late September, just weeks before the season opening and ran through mid-December, taking a break during the holidays when users are often too busy to research and plan a trip. After the new year our campaigns picked up where they left off, reminding hunters that there were a few weeks remaining in the South Dakota hunting season and it’s always “Better Late Than Ever” to plan a last-minute hunting getaway in Aberdeen.

To cap off our digital marketing strategy, we implemented a Google Search campaign, targeting keywords such as “South Dakota Hunting” and other relevant search phrases. Users throughout the Midwest researching hunting trips would be certain to see the website at the top of their search results, enticing them to visit the website and start planning their trip in Aberdeen for world-class hunting opportunities with dog-friendly accommodations.

[graphic – search ads] [graphic – search ads]

In addition to our Google Search and Google Display campaigns we also assumed posting responsibilities for the HuntFishSD Facebook page. Our goal for the Facebook page was to visually inform hunters of the benefits that pheasant hunting in Aberdeen has vs. competing areas that might be closer to home through pictures and videos. We expanded our efforts even further, collaborating with Minnesota Outdoor News who has a large following on Facebook. This collaboration consisted of Minnesota Outdoor news sharing our posts to their audience in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and North Dakota.

To create a visually appealing representation of hunting in Aberdeen we created a series of vlogs on various topics relating to pheasant hunting in Aberdeen. While these vlogs were mainly for visual purposes they also brought to light some important information hunters needed to know before signing up for their hunting trip in Aberdeen such as entertainment, hotel information and available free hunting land options.


  • 11.2 million impressions over four months
  • 190,410 website users

In the end, the campaigns proved successful with a total of over 11.2 million impressions over four months, sending 190,410 users to the website to begin researching their next hunting excursion in Aberdeen. Through our expertise with demographic research and creative artwork, the display campaigns performed exceptionally well with a click through rate of 1.67% on broad targeting and 2.67% on retargeted ads, well above the average of 0.47% in the travel industry. At the end of the season, the Aberdeen Hotel Alliance and Chamber of Commerce noted an increase in revenue for the 2020 pheasant hunting season, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

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