The following are excerpts are from the “Think With Google” article called “Travel Content Takes Off On YouTube” which was published in August of 2014. Read the full piece here.
Videos influence travel decisions
YouTube data shows that travelers are spending more time watching online videos than ever before, with views of travel-related content up 118% year over year (YoY). According to the data, travelers are increasingly using mobile devices to consume travel-related videos anytime and anywhere; in 2013, mobile devices accounted for roughly 30% of all travel video views, with mobile viewing up 97% on smartphones and 205% on tablets, YoY.3
Across devices—desktop and mobile—travelers are consuming travel-related videos around the clock. Nearly half are viewed during prime time (3:00–10:00 p.m. PST).4 While desktop users tend to watch videos throughout the day, smartphone and tablet users tend to tune in during the evening hours.
Compelling content grabs travelers’ attention
While travel watchers on YouTube are interested in community-generated content, the majority of travel-related views (67%) are for brand or professionally released videos. In fact, views of branded videos are up 394% YoY, and we see companies with a strong brand presence, such as Turkish Airlines, Disney Parks & Resorts and Expedia, making the most of this opportunity.6
Percent of Travel Channel Subscriptions by Format
Travel vlogs, in fact, receive 4x more social engagement (likes, comments, shares, favorites and subscriptions) than other types of travel content on YouTube.10 Travelers tend to find them more engaging on a per-view basis.
People of all ages subscribe to YouTube travel content. Fifty percent of travel channel subscribers are aged 25 to 64, while 38% fall in the 18 to 24 age range.11 The younger audience tends to favor travel vlogs, suggesting they have more of an interest in “authentic” content. Perhaps they’re living vicariously through their fellow YouTubers, or, at the very least, getting inspired to travel.
The 25-to-64-year-olds seem to be interested in a broader range of content relevant to frequent travelers. Often these are videos associated with decisions further down the travel purchase path, such as brand information, reviews and tips.
Travel videos drive brand buzz
Viral videos aren’t just for the twerkers, laughing babies and anything animal related (for those “aww” moments). There’s virality in the travel category as well. That’s because travelers, like any other YouTube users, enjoy sharing their favorite videos with friends and family.
Looking at travel videos that have gone viral (defined as content created to drive buzz that’s not overly transactional and generated 500,000 views or more), we can see that airline companies account for most of the views (76%).14 Turkish Airlines’ “Kobe vs. Messi” series, Virgin America’s “#VXSafetyDance” and WestJet’s “Christmas Miracle: Real Time Giving” are great examples of videos that are engaging, fun and, at times, touching. Airlines have embraced video as a powerful differentiation tool, one that allows their brands to stand out and be creative with a range of topics.
Nineteen percent of viral video views come from destinations, which include brands such as Disney Parks & Resorts. Two standout examples from Disney Parks are “Grumpy Cat Finds Her Disney Side” and “Disneyland Musical Marriage Proposal.”
While a viral video can rack up millions of views (if you’re lucky), views are just one measure of a video’s success. Shares, subscribers gained and other online actions are important as well.
Implications for marketers
Across industries, advertisers are increasingly embracing online video to drive awareness and engagement, and this trend is only expected to accelerate. For travel advertisers, online video is a powerful way to convey excitement about a destination, product, service or brand. From 2012 to 2013, uploads of travel-related videos (both brand/professionally released and community generated) grew by 190%, and growth in travel video uploads overall outpace those of other major categories on YouTube.15