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This is great news for destinations that have the budget to spend on ad campaign, but not-so-great news for destinations with less money or consumers uninterested in the video or content pushed by the destination.

Destinations are constantly coming up with new ways to show off their attractions to travelers and remind them why now is the best time to visit.

Social media has given places around the world a platform through which to pump out photos, videos, and stories about themselves. But getting heard through the noise is now harder than ever before.

Twitter, in the midst of its own evolution, is launching new products with the goal of elevating brands’ — including destinations’ — content and driving direct response actions like leads, video views, and website traffic.

Two of the newest products are Promoted Video Cards, which streamline video playback and allow for one-tap viewing, and Website Cards, which allow advertisers to direct relevant traffic to specific pages of their site.

Visit Myrtle Beach was one of the first destinations to test drive the products in beta. During a recent test trial, the destination marketing organization gained 21,000 new followers and saw website traffic increase more than 400 percent compared to the previous 90 days.

Twitter’s advertising capabilities have significantly improved since they started offering them in 2010, says Josh Williams, digital marketing manager for Visit Myrtle Beach’s agency Visibility and Conversations.

The user of Website Cards, example below, drove 88 percent of their Twitter traffic. Clicking on the Tweet will bring followers directly to Visit Myrtle Beach’s page on outdoor adventure.

The Promoted Video Cards drove a 225 percent lift in video views during the destination’s Local’s Favorite campaign. Twitter account for more than 70 percent of total views even though the destination also distributed the series on Facebook and YouTube.

Lead Generation Cards was used to distribute the destinations’ Dream Escape Giveway campaign and was particularly successful in terms of sign-ups and email captures.

Williams notes the volume of sign-ups even more impressive given the cost, which Twitter tells us was $3.48 cost per lead and below the original $4 to $5 CPL goal.

Visit Myrtle Beach’s executive vice president of marketing Scott Schult adds context to how important the Twitter features are in relation to a destination’s overall social strategy. He explains how in order to generate first-time visitors, the organization must continually inspire prospective visitors to consider the destination and then convince them to actually visit.

“For us to move the needle, we need to effectively invest in the appropriate platforms and distribution channels available,” he says. “We do not see the social platforms as substitutes for one another, but part of an integrated approach to build engagement and ultimately generate visitation to our area.”

Promoted Tweets

Twitter’s original ad product Promoted Tweets have helped destinations spread their message for the past four years. For example, Travel Oregon used the product to promote its 7 Natural Wonders campaign and saw followers grow by 26 percent and referral traffic from Twitter increase 232 percent compared to the same period last year.

Notice, this growth is less than that experienced by Myrtle Beach with the newer products, which also give destinations the opportunity to move from simple engagement to direct response messaging.

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s agency of record R&R Partners, for example, is getting ready to introduce direct response messaging, in the form of Website Cards, for the first time. It will start to measure ROI in addition to engagement.

“We see Twitter as a long-term social channel that will continue to be a valued platform helping @Vegas connect with our global audiences across the entire purchase funnel,” concludes R&R Partners’ spokesperson.

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Tags: marketing, social media, twitter

Photo credit: The home page of Visit Myrtle Beach's Twitter presence. Visit Myrtle Beach / Twitter

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