With travel to foreign countries still a tepid in many parts of the world, Facebook users are dreaming about vacations. Travel brands, particularly tourism boards and airlines, are only too happy to stoke those visions.
One lodging company dominated travel brands’ Facebook videos globally in June. Was it Marriott? Accor? InterContinental Hotels Group?
No, the brand that attracted the most video views on Facebook in June — as it did in May — was Aurora Borealis Observatory, which describes itself as “a small family driven resort located at Senja Island in Northern Norway.” The resort’s videos are destination-focused but they aren’t just about viewing the Northern Lights; of the 95 videos the company posted on Facebook in June, the top one was about a theme park in China.
Skift obtained these social video metrics from Tubular Labs, which pointed out that travel brands’ Facebook video views have been steadily declining since January, which saw 1.1 billion views. The June mark was 660 million views.
The decline in Facebook travel video views in June versus May, for example, seems somewhat counterintuitive since the Skift Recovery Index showed that global travel industry performance picked up in June year over year.
YES! We have movement!
— Wouter Geerts (@WouterGeerts) July 10, 2020
However, the continued uncertainty about where travel is heading may have led to travel advertisers apparent hesitancy about creating videos that would be timely at the publishing date, a Tubular Labs spokesperson said.
It’s also possible that a Facebook ad boycott is giving some brands pause.
Looking at travel brands video views on Facebook in the United States, the top creators were Airportag, which sells aviation and other travel gifts, NewYork.co.uk, Agoda, Tourism Ireland, and Colonial Williamsburg.
The 76.4 million video views that travel brands generated in the United States in June represented a 21.1 percent decline compared with May.
The following Tubular Labs’ look at travel brands video metrics on Facebook in June. (This has been edited.)
Top Travel Brands’ Facebook Videos in June
Facebook videos for travel brands have seen decreasing views month over month since January 2020, from 1.1 billion to 660 million in June. But despite the overall decline, plenty of brands obviously continue to produce content that audiences are watching — even when they can’t/won’t actually travel to these locations for the time being.
Aurora Borealis Observatory was far and away the most-viewed travel brand on Facebook in June, generating 78.5 million views on 95 videos. The Norwegian observatory has been one of the top 10 global travel creators on Facebook each month since September 2019, and was first overall back in May.
Rather than just share Aurora Borealis videos, the observatory treats Facebook as a place to share videos of other destinations, as well. In June, 26 different uploads received at least 1 million views, led by The Flying Kiss Theme Park in China is Beautiful (4.3 million views).
Top 5 Travel Brands by Facebook Video Views in June
Aurora Borealis Observatory — 78.5 million
Qatar Airways — 16.0 million
Australia.com — 12.8 million
مصر بداية الحكاية (Experience Egypt) — 11.8 million
Visit Dubai — 10.9 million
In the United States, that list clearly looked a bit different given the international focus above. U.S. travel brands accounted for 76.4 million views in June, led by Airportag (7.4 million).
Top 5 U.S.-Based Travel Brands in facebook video views
Airportag (7.4 million)
New York – NewYork.co.uk (3.8 million)
Agoda (3.6 million)
Tourism Ireland (1.8 million)
Colonial Williamsburg (1.6 million)
If the U.S. list looks a little more internationally focused as well, it’s because of the high concentration of tourists to and from the country. NewYork.co.uk focuses on travel from the UK to New York, while Tourism Ireland is U.S.-based and geared toward content that encourages visitors from the United States.
Travel brands are also still sponsoring social videos, even given concerns around Covid-19. In June, travel brands sponsored 131 Facebook videos in the U.S., earning a total of 7.3 million views. Those numbers indicated a 4 million-view increase over the same data set in May, despite June uploads declining from 163 to 131.
Top 5 Travel Sponsors for U.S. Facebook Videos in June
Visit Philly: 11 videos (46.4K views)
YourSingapore: 8 videos (4.3 million)
Talking Stick Resort: 7 videos (29.4K)
Exploria Resorts: 6 videos (11.9K)
JetBlue: 6 videos (86.3K)
YourSingapore received the most views of all travel sponsors, with 4.3 million, all by partnering with food publisher Tasty (owned by Buzzfeed). The Singapore Tourism board sponsored eight different videos, specifically around food that can be found in the country. Top video Singapore Chili Crab received over 828,000 views, and none of the eight had fewer than 334,000 views.
Visit Philly, which had the most sponsored videos with 11, put all of its efforts into outputs from NBC 10 Philadelphia, the local network affiliate. The series of segments looked at under-the-radar and offbeat Philadelphia attractions, looking to appeal to residents searching for summer activities.
Travel-focused Facebook creators didn’t see the same levels of views or uploads, but several were still active despite the pandemic limitations. National Geographic Magazine had four different videos sponsored — by Centr and Rolex, respectively — for a total of 101,000 views. Meanwhile Visit USA Parkshad four sponsored videos — by Visit Laramie and Cascade Loop Scenic Highway — earn a total of 107,000 views.
Creators like Matador Network, Tastemade Travel and West Michigan all had three videos sponsored as well, by brands like Southwest Airlines, Visit Lauderdale, Hyundai and Grand Traverse Bike Tours. Views and uploads for U.S. travel creators’ sponsored videos were both up in June month-over-month. Interestingly, Matador Network and National Geographic were the only two creators to have sponsored videos during both May and June.
Globally, travel brands sponsored 542 Facebook videos in June 2020, and those earned 47.2 million views. The total number of videos sponsored by travel brands increased 8.2% from May, while views were up 65.6% month over month.
Top 5 Travel Sponsors for global Facebook videos in June
YourSingapore: 22.5 million views (29 videos)
Emirates: 10 million views (19 videos)
Naturkundemuseum Karlsruhe: 1.7 million views (7 videos)
Visit Dubai: 1.6 million views (5 videos)
Qatar Airways: 1.5 million views (16 videos)
Emirates took advantage of the return of some sports in Europe last month, sponsoring videos from Formula 1, the Emirates FA Cup (soccer), Italian soccer club AC Milan and Spain’s Real Madrid. The brand’s top video was Formula 1’s Hakkinen’s epic overtake at Spa | Emirates Best Onboards, which was posted June 8. It was also the top sponsored travel video on Facebook for the month.
Note: Metrics are estimates provided by digital video measurement company Tubular Labs
Photo credit: An image from a trip to Norway on February 6, 2017. Travel brands' Facebook videos are heavily weighted toward alluring destinations. Tony Armstrong-Sly / Flickr.com