Sebastian leaders consider throwing money in pot for airport advertising

SEBASTIAN – The Sebastian Municipal Airport could soon be waving a banner on an aviation-targeted website as well as lining up on Google Ads, the Sebastian City Council decided Wednesday evening.

The council agreed to provide the Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce $5,000 to match two grants the organization received to pay for advertising on for six months.

At Councilman Eugene Wolff’s behest, the council has also agreed to allocate funds to participate in Google Ad Words, placing an ad on the Google search results page.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to advertise our city,” Wolff said.

The council agreed to pursue both avenues of advertising, funneling the airport’s remaining $2,600 in its advertising budget to using Google Ads.

Wolff originally requested that the council merge its funds with the Chamber and forgo the banner ad altogether in favor of Google.

“You only pay for results,” Wolff said of using Google Ad Words, explaining that the city could set a daily budget for the ad and once that budget is reached the ad would be retired until the next day – guaranteeing that they pay only for the clicks they receive from visitors.

The 6-month banner advertisement on the aviation website, however, would cost $10,000 with no guarantee that it would result in clicks, he said.

Airport Director and Economic Development Coordinator Joe Griffin said that the website, however, comes highly recommended from the tenants at the airport – who visit the site regularly for industry news.

He also explained to the council that the $5,000 worth of grants the Chamber has received has some limitations in what it can be used for. He was not sure if the funds could be used on Google Ads.

Neither Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Beth Mitchell nor a fellow Chamber representative was in attendance at the council meeting.

Wolff’s alternative proposal for Google Ads garnered support from fellow council members.

“The Google idea is a good idea,” Mayor Jim Hill said, though he questioned if the grant funds could be so used.

Griffin said if the council were so inclined, it could move forward with Google separate from the Chamber.

“I don’t see why we can’t act alone,” he said.

Vice Mayor Don Wright offered a joint solution – matching the Chamber’s grant funds and using the airport’s remaining ad budget on Google.

“I don’t think these are budget-busting numbers,” Wright said.

He recommended that after the 6-month banner ad run on that the city review its results – the number of hits to the city’s airport website – from that site.

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