At a time when a lot of brands are looking into virtual reality and 360-degree video to immerse consumers in a destination, this campaign proves that incredible visuals and a killer sense of perspective go a long way toward building brand awareness, and making consumers feel like they're right there with you.
Social media platforms are increasingly realizing the importance of video content. Facebook has Facebook Live. Twitter has Periscope. Snapchat stitches together videos as the basis of its network.
While Instagram has had video capabilities for awhile, it recently added video content to its swipeable Instagram Carousel ad product, allowing brands to layer pieces of photography and video content — in a somewhat similar fashion to Snapchat — in a slideshow of sorts, albeit much more seamlessly. The ads are still in beta, but will soon be rolled out to all of Instagram’s advertisers.
The Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty program was one of the first travel brands to try this new ad feature. Starwood was the first travel brand to advertise on Instagram, as well as one of the first to leverage the Instagram Carousel ad unit when it launched in 2015. Beginning in 2013, Starwood’s brands have been integrating user-generated Instagram content onto their own brands’ sites.
Building on its tagline of “More Luxury, More Destinations,” SPG featured one of Starwood’s most iconic properties, The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort, in Waikiki in the ad, describing a “day in the life” at the Pink Palace, as it’s often referred to.
Instagram continues to be a favored social media marketing channel for travel brands, and for good reason: The rich visual content that you can post on the platform lends itself to storytelling and aspirational travel.
The new SPG Video Carousel ad (see below for video content) begins with an image of a guest looking out from the terrace of her suite, transitioning to a shot of room service breakfast in bed, and then onto a 16-second video shot from the perspective of a surfer as she looks out onto the resort from the water, followed by a photo taken from the beach. It ends with a classic Hawaiian lei greeting as you walk toward the front entrance of the hotel.
“We’re excited about the addition of video to Instagram’s carousel unit which allows us to be even more immersive in our storytelling,” said Christine Espinoza, associate director of global social media strategy for SPG. “Our campaign is aimed at generating awareness for SPG and showcasing the member experience — the carousel takes you through a day at one of our iconic hotels, The Royal Hawaiian. The creative was shot keeping a first-person perspective in mind — to transport you to Waikiki, and ultimately to entice you to learn more about SPG.”
Starwood says that past Instagram Carousel ads have delivered higher engagement levels of 10 to 15% more than standard Instagram units. The new Video Carousel ads enable brands to use three to five pieces of content, including video and images, and the maximum length of video is 60 seconds per video. Video view metrics will be available per carousel card if you use multiple videos within a unit.
While it’s too soon to tell what kind of impact the new ad is having in terms or engagement and brand awareness, SPG said it is considering the new Video Carousel ad format for future Instagram campaigns.
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Photo credit: A still from SPG's new Instagram Carousel ad. Starwood