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How OWL Rafting Achieved Exhilarating Marketing Results


Our Work

September 14, 2018

OWL Rafting needed a new digital marketing approach to keep business flowing. Along came RealDecoy—with results double and triple the industry average.

By Farah Mohammed


The promise of digital marketing

As OWL Rafting learned, a successful digital marketing strategy means more than just updating a website. After finding their approach was seeing diminishing returns, OWL Rafting began to work with RealDecoy. And the work has paid off.

Four decades of traditional success

Family owned and operated, OWL Rafting (and its sister company, the Madawaska Kanu Centre) has been running for nearly four decades.

The companies whisk visitors away for expeditions into the Canadian wilderness, catering to a range of needs – from beginner lessons to family-friendly kayaking groups to adrenaline-pumping excursions through rapids on the mighty Ottawa and Madawaska rivers.

Quenching the thirst for adventure

Adventure tourism has exploded in popularity, as consumer priorities have shifted toward experiences in place of products.

Although among the pioneers in the market, growing competition has meant that OWL Rafting and Madawaska Kanu Centre (OWL/MKC) needed to be more innovative in its marketing strategy to remain relevant and ensure growth.

New ways of reaching new generations

OWL/MKC needed to reach both a new generation of adventure-seekers and deepen engagement with its existing customer base. They sought to highlight the company’s famous watery destinations, and convert more leads to sales.

The internal team at OWL had relaunched an attractive new website, and were waiting for the orders to flow in. But they found the site wasn’t drawing the anticipated level of attention.

In rolling out a digital strategy for OWL/MKC, RealDecoy adopted a holistic viewpoint. Along with an in-depth discovery process in consultation with multiple members of the OWL/MKC team, RealDecoy took a customer-focused approach, informed by best practices, industry trends and quantitative data.

New website, new digital marketing

In a two-pronged approach, design and UX specialists on the RealDecoy team first tackled the website, bringing to the design a smoother, more intuitive User Experience.

The new OWL Rafting website after RealDecoy’s redesign, emphasizing strong and enticing visuals along with a clean user interface and consistent theme, while maintaining OWL's brand personality.


Then, members of the RealDecoy digital marketing team drove more traffic to the site with a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, leveraging the power of Facebook sponsored posts and Facebook remarketing ads, as well as Google AdWords remarketing ads and Google AdWords search ads.



Facebook and Google AdWords remarketing ads
delivered click-through rates (CTRs) at twice the industry average.

Now, about those dramatic results

In the first month after launch, the results were like an OWL whitewater rafting tour: exhilarating.

The digital marketing campaign for OWL Rafting brought in above average results for Google ads and Facebook ads almost immediately.

  • Search ads had a 11.60%click through rate (industry average is 4%).
  • AdWords remarketing ads had a 0.96%click through rate (industry average is 0.47%).
  • Facebook’s click-through rate was reported at 1.59%(industry average is 0.9%)

Ads pulled in 1,600 visitors, and the Book Now button saw 140 clicks – an impressive 8.75% conversion rate, almost three times the average conversion rate of 3%.


OWL Search Ad

Using targeted keywords, RealDecoy's Google AdWords search ads
drove results for OWL that were 190% higher than industry averages.


And then there’s next summer!

After the first summer with its new site and digital marketing campaign coming to a close, the team at OWL Rafting look forward to a well-deserved break after a very busy time on the Ottawa River.

And, when the time comes, we look forward to the opportunity to make them even busier next summer!


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