Social Media

Social influence on travel sector

I was lucky enough to attend Facebook’s EMEA Travel Summit recently. It was a fascinating day full of interesting speakers and amazing insights into how user behaviour from the travel sector is changing.

First up, brand expert Alex Hunter reminded us how digital has disrupted the marketing industry and why providing a good product or service is no longer good enough. It has become important for brands to focus on user experience to marketing to community, as a means of providing a seamless user experience.

His top tips for making your brand marketing stand out:

  • Create emotion
  • Create individuality
  • Create “Wow”

These are themes were echoed throughout the talk, with Facebook drawing on the rise of Instagram Stories and the importance they plan in understanding how travellers behave online.

The Travel Landscape and Key Trends

The travel industry is leading the shift towards digital with 32-50% of all travel sales happening online. Mobile is increasingly playing an important role in this trend – revolutionising the way we research, plan and book travel. Research shows that travellers interact with Facebook and Instagram at a higher rate than non-travellers:

  • Travellers visit Facebook/Instagram 1.5x more than non-travellers
  • Travellers visit Facebook/Instagram 6x more than other travel sites when planning

This is due to the fact that travel content is primed for sharing and inspiring others.

Yet studies have shown that in Europe, mobile makes up only 14% of advertising spend. This uncovers a gap between where brands are talking to their customers and where their customers are. This is a potential opportunity for the travel sector, and will allow brands to be more proactive than reactive.
Online search behaviour is changing on mobile with more people engaging with video content. A Cisco study found that 79% of online searchers would rather watch a video than read an article. Video provides an opportunity for a brand to differentiate itself and showcase its USPs. While price is a key factor in travel, consumers are starting to value experience over price and are willing to pay more for an experience they know will be worthwhile.

Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories is a growing success and a huge opportunity for brands. The number of Story users has grown by 50% year on year, and by 200% since their launch in 2016, now reaching 3 million users per day, as a result there continues to be a noticeable shift in consumer behaviour away from feed based content to ephemeral content – much like the shift from desktop to handheld devices.

One third of the most viewed stories are businesses illustrating that this is a platform that users are happy to engage with brands on. 40% of all stories are video, and unlike on feed based content, 60% of story viewers are happy to view videos with sound on. This makes Instagram Stories the perfect platform to inspire action.

The best part about Instagram Stories? Creative costs no longer need to be a barrier to entry. With users moving away from the idea of the perfectly curated feed, Instagram Stories allows the content to be fun and light hearted and dependent on the intent of your content, anyone with a smart phone can create it. Instagram Story features such as boomerang, stickers, polls and GIFs allow you to easily create engaging and fun posts.

Vertical video also no longer needs to be a barrier as rather than creating video specifically in vertical format, it’s possible to tweak existing creative to fit Instagram stories through cropping existing videos into vertical or stacking three videos or images on top of each other. Add your branding and some interactive Story features and you are ready to go.

Some top tips for creating creative for Instagram Stories:

  • Remember Alex Hunter’s top tips – create emotion, individuality and wow. You want to create “thumb stopping” to ensure users don’t skip past your ad.
  •  Remember, mobile video best practices – put your message and branding within the first three seconds
  • Multiple scenes have been proven to work better
    o Don’t give the user all the story in one go, encourage them to hang around and find out what happens next
  • In video content, you should be able to understand what’s going on without the sound but remember that 60% of users watch with sound on so ensure your sound adds to the experience
  • Consider unique opportunities that you might not want permanently on your feed such as behind the scenes footage or sneak peeks
  • Get creative and play more
    o Instagram Stories is the perfect place to have fun with your content. Try “tap to pause” games or play with the dimensions of your content

What doors will social media open for your brand?

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