Darsana from Unmetric offers a competitive analysis of India's top travel brands on social media while highlighting takeaways for brands.
If you are anything like me, then you probably love flipping through travel magazines, browsing through Facebook pages that are dedicated to the love of globe-trotting. And, of course, wishing to set off on your own adventure without a care in the world. I decided to express my gratitude to travel idea brands that provide much of the fodder for my flights of fantasy with this report on their social media performance during the month of August 2016.
In this social media report I analyze top Travel Idea Brands such as Conde Nast Traveler, Tripoto, Triphobo, Lonely Planet and Travel & Leisure. I compare their social media performance using a variety of engagement markers and other social media metrics from the Unmetric Analyze platform.
A quick look at their social media metrics will reveal that:
Tripoto has the most Fans and had the highest growth
Travel & Leisure had the most people talking about them (as % of Fans)
Condé Nast Traveller posted the most while Travel & Leisure had the least number of Posts.
We cannot draw any conclusions from these metrics without looking at the engagement that these Posts received from the brands’ Fans.
The chart below shows the number of Likes, Comments and Shares that each of these brands received on their Posts. Instead of going with the gross number of Likes, Comments and Shares, this gives us a better idea of engagement that brands get on average. This keeps a check on brands who post more frequently getting an upper-hand when it comes to calculating engagement in terms of raw numbers. As any social media analyst will tell you, quality over quantity, always.
Average Likes, Comments and Shares Received by Travel Publications
Just to see if the argument holds, let us also take a look at the volume of brand Posts:
Volume of Brand Posts Published by Travel Publications
Going by the engagement that each of these brands get per Post, travel ideas brands should ideally post between 200-400 times per month or 7 to 14 times a day. However, this is just one possible reason that could be giving these brands such great levels of engagement.
Another cause that would explain high levels of engagement is paid promotion. Take a look at the split of Organic and Promoted Posts published by the top 3 most engaging brands from this group.
Promoted/Organic: Volume of Posts by Travel Publications
All these three brands together have promoted 13.5% of all the content they published.
It is clear that Tripoto has been promoting pretty heavily on Facebook. But are they really getting that much more engagement because of Promotion? See the chart below to know how much engagement each of these brands got out of their Promoted Posts:
Promoted/Organic: Engagement Received by Travel Publications
Even though promotion seems to be doing wonders to the engagement levels of all three brands, Lonely Planet benefited the most, with close to 500% surge in engagement.
Effect of Promotion on Engagement
Tripoto’s Promoted Posts are doing so much better than their Organic Posts. Notice how the engagement levels surge with Promoted Posts:
Engagement and Promotion Patterns over Time
However, Tripoto’s engagement trend seems a little erratic, with some Promoted Posts falling off the mark. Then why do they promote so much content?
There are two things that we should look at to find an answer to that question
Top Brand Content
Here are some of the pieces of content that scored very high on engagement. By looking at these, we can see if the changes in engagement have to do with changes in the quality or type of content.
This promoted Post was one of the most engaging Posts from the group. It was also the most shared and got a Reach of over 4.6 million and close to 8 million impressions.
This video received so much engagement because it is shot live, highlighting the thrill of travel and the many adventures that’s certain to come along. Also, my boss will tell you how much people love watching daredevil stunts set against a scenic background. Even though this Post was also promoted, it got a Reach of around 98,000.
Tripoto’s post, got around 20 times the number of shares as this Post. Shareable content gives a huge boost to Reach, along with Promotion.
A couple of other videos posted by Tripoto were highly engaging as well. Is there possibly a reason for us to believe that video content performs better on social media? Let’s check what the data says:
Every piece of video content published by Tripoto gets an average of 4,021 shares, as opposed to 784 for photos and 68 for links. However, Posts with photos got more avenge Likes than videos. 57% of all the Shares that Tripoto received were on video content. This is 47% for TripHobo. But the contribution made by video content to the total shares is negligible for the other brands, with Lonely Planet not having posted a single video during the month. On the whole, video content posted by brands in this group roped in 10% of the total Likes, 30% of all Comments and 52% of all Shares.
Another interesting observation that I made looking at Tripoto’s Promoted content is that Links, more than Videos or Photos have money behind them. Out of the 25 Posts they promoted, 19 had Links. It is possible that the brand places more value on Link-clicks (and website visits) than Likes, Comments or Shares. The same applies to TripHobo, with all except six of their Promoted Posts were Links.
Engagement, or the amount of Likes, Comments and Shares posts receive are not the only that should concern a social media manager. Increasingly, Reach is becoming an important metric to consider. And the push towards greater promotion is to make sure that the work that you have put into creating your content does not go to waste for lack of audience. Take a look at the reach and impressions that each of the brands in the group received.
Reach also depends on the number of Fans that each of these brands have. If they have more number of Fans, even with the death of organic reach, it is a valid assumption that brands with more Fans will get more Reach. Let’s look at the number of Fans each of these brands have:
Audience Size of Travel Publications’ Facebook Pages
Given that TripHobo has more Fans than Conde Nast and that the latter gets better Reach, we can conclude that Fans numbers is not all that affects Reach. Remember that content in any of these public pages can turn up on the Newsfeeds of Fans as well as others. The more a Fan interacts with your content, the better the chances of that Post appearing on a non-Fan’s Feed.
If you were to take a leaf out of Tripoto’s book, here are the key strategies:
Be mindful of your goals: Before setting out to make your presence felt on social media, have your objectives clearly spelt out. This will help you prioritize and plan your efforts based on what you want out of it. Here, based on the kind of content that Tripoto and TripHobo have Promoted, their social media goal is to increase website visits and sign-ups.
Focus on reach: Take content decisions based on what content has yielded you better reach. Compare this with the reach that your competitors’ content gets.
Create more shareable content: An organic way to increase Reach would be to create content that your audience would want to share. This drives up engagement too. Also, remember, the more your audience interacts with your content, the higher the chances of your Posts appearing on their feed. As we have seen here, shareable content might vary from industry to industry and brand to brand. It might make sense for Tripoto to focus on videos that get them a lot of Shares, but the same can’t be said of Conde Nast which gets only 2% of all its Shares from video content.
Take data-backed decisions: This can be about the type of content and the frequency with which you publish. By using data to arrive at these decisions, you can be positive that your content will deliver.
You would think that if you have access to such great material like these travel idea pages, the rest is cakewalk. Here, it is very obvious that these brands put a lot of thought and effort into making their social media presence effective.
The lessons that you can learn by analyzing their social media performance is applicable to brands irrespective of the sector they belong to.