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Author: Dennis Schaal
Facebook’s favorite Facebook-travel app, TripAdvisor’s Cities I’ve Visited, has been making a ton of friends, enabling people to fill in their bucket lists.
The app, which enables users to connect with their friends and share an interactive map detailing their past and hoped-for travel exploits, has seen its monthly active users climb by more than 67% to 31 million in June, ReadWriteWeb reports.
However, It’s doubtful this happened “out of nowhere,” as the ReadWriteWeb headline surmises.
There’s probably a bit of TripAdvisor money and marketing behind the surge.
If you do a search for “Paris” on Facebook, then you might see what I mean.
The top sponsored ad at right is a TripAdvisor ad for Cities I’ve Visited, replete with a seeming endorsement from one of your Facebook friends.
The headline for the TripAdvisor ad is “Your Map is getting dusty.” It is geared for Cities I’ve Visited users who haven’t updated their maps in awhile.
Click on the ad and you navigate to the Cities I’ve Visited Facebook app.
Natalia Garcia, a TripAdvisor spokesperson, acknowledges that paid marketing has been part of the mix, and there has been other experimentation, as well.
“While I can’t share exact numbers, I can tell you that we do experiment with paid marketing on Facebook,” Garcia says. “Most recently, however, we are seriously investing in open graph publishing in a way that is also contributing to the growth of the app.”
“With Cities I Visited and Local Picks, we’re always testing new ways to improve the app experience and grow the usage organically,” Garcia adds.
About the open graph technology, Garcia explains that TripAdvisor is “trying new things to understand the nuances of shareability and learning from the results in order to make the app grow organically.”
Since it launched in 2007, Cities I’ve Visited “has consistently been Facebook’s #1 travel application …” TripAdvisor says.
Facebook, in its IPO registration statement, even cited TripAdvisor as a standout in Facebook integration, stating:
“For example, by tapping into our rich social data, TripAdvisor connects users to their friends and shares relevant content about where their friends have traveled and where they would like to visit in the future. While on the TripAdvisor website, friends can discuss their travel plans and recommendations and build out personal profiles of places they have been.”
With TripAdvisor mostly at war with Google, the travel review site certainly has cozied up to Facebook.
And, TripAdvisor sees social media and Facebook as a key part of its growth and engagement strategy.
In fact, TripAdvisor, a little more than a week ago introduced a new Facebook app, Local Picks, focused on tapping into your friends’ foodie fantasies, as well as restaurant tips from locals.