Instagram, virtual reality present new opportunities for travel marketers
Digital video consumption is on the rise among travelers, and marketers are taking notice. But travel marketers have not adopted digital video as quickly as consumers have, according to a new eMarketer report, “Digital Video and the Travel Industry: Travelers Tune In, but Marketers Aren’t Ready for Prime Time.”
While several concerns are restraining digital video ad investments, many marketers are ramping up efforts to create branded content—a trend driven by the growth of social platforms that make video distribution cheaper and easier.
Even as travel marketers work to define a clear video strategy, newer video-ready social platforms, particularly Instagram, are offering opportunities and challenges. Other video technologies like virtual reality, though yet unproven as marketing tools, are increasingly entering the discussion as travel marketers look for ways to cut through the video clutter.
Although YouTube and Facebook currently dominate video distribution and consumption, newer social platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are offering video distribution opportunities for travelers and travel marketers alike. In an August 2014 study by Animoto, nearly 30% of US internet users who shared digital videos they created said they used Instagram, while nearly 20% used Twitter, and just over 16% used Snapchat.
Among this range of new video-sharing networks, travel marketer interest is gravitating toward Instagram. A recent analysis by Skift.com of more than 450 travel brands on Instagram found 70% had already used it to publish video. In addition, Instagram’s large and growing user base, strong visual appeal and the launch of a video ad product in 2014 suggest Instagram video will see growing investment from travel marketers.
According to an August 2014 study by Shareablee on travel video engagement across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Instagram was second only to Facebook, with a little over a quarter of all engagement share.
For other travel brands, new technologies like virtual reality, once seen as futuristic novelties, offer compelling ways to share video with travelers.
Rather than targeting consumers, the experience is designed with tour operators and travel media in mind. Although virtual reality is still a novelty in many travel marketers’ minds, as consumers embrace such technology, it may prove increasingly valuable.