We’re almost halfway into 2019 and can clearly see which marketing tactics are dominating the industry thus far. Unsurprisingly, video remains at the top of the heap. For DMOs in particular, it has been deemed “the new currency” that will play a major role in whether travellers decide to purchase a trip or not.

With 81% of businesses already using video as a marketing tool, it’s safe to say that the competition in this arena is stiff. It’s not enough to just post videos on your social media channels anymore; you must optimize the aspect ratios and formats for appropriate devices, customize the video length for the channel, and target your audiences with the right message at the right time.

While the creation of videos is getting easier with the advancement of mobile technology, the delivery is becoming ever more complex. The channels, audiences and digital landscape are growing and changing at break-neck speed, and destination marketers need to stay on their toes to thrive in the uncertain waters. To keep everyone ahead of the sea change, we’ve compiled some compelling statistics and advice below:


Optimize Video for Mobile:

That Means Make Them 1:1, Time-Efficient and Visual

It’s annoying to watch videos with pixilated, skewed and cut-off footage. That’s why optimizing your ratios for devices—especially mobile devices—is essential in today’s marketing landscape.

New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation learned how effective device optimization could be when they worked with Facebook Creative Shop to produce a series of videos for their new marketing campaign: Discover the Other Side of New Orleans. They had strict guidelines for their videos, which included the following points:

  • Build for mobile viewing: The videos used a square ratio (1:1) to optimize for mobile News Feed.
  • Keep the video short and concise: The videos were between 15–30 seconds.
  • Design for sound-off: The team focused on visual storytelling and used text overlays so people could still understand when watching with their sound off.
  • Capture attention quickly: The team grabbed viewers’ attention within the first few seconds, using classic New Orleans visuals and asking, “Think you know New Orleans?” before showing off the less known parts of the city.
  • Experiment, test and iterate: By testing different copy in the first 3 seconds, the team found that people who saw, “Think you know New Orleans?” followed by “Come find the other side,” were more likely to watch the video all the way through than those who saw “You may think you know New Orleans. Come find the other side.” As a result, the team optimized for the better-performing video.

The results from their “Discover the other side” campaign were staggering. They experienced a 73% increase in video completion rates, a 3-point lift in ad recall, and a reach of 17.4 million across Facebook and Instagram.


‘Stories’ Becomes a Main Channel but Requires Clever Creative

According to TechJury:

  • There were 500 million active daily Instagram Stories users in January 2019
  • 70% of Instagram users watch stories daily
  • 96% of US marketers surveyed in 2018 planned to continue using Instagram Stories ads over the next 6 months
  • 73% of influencers named Instagram Stories among the most effective content formats for influencer marketing in 2018
  • Facebook stories now have 500 million daily users across Facebook and Messenger

For DMOs, Stories can be exceptionally effective as was the case for Virgin Holidays who used video Stories to increase conversion and completion rates. By joining forces with AMV BBDO, who supplied the creative, and Forward3D, who executed the delivery, their Stories highlighted the landscapes of NYC, Las Vegas and San Francisco in an immersive way. The Stories were extremely short, real-time, full-screen videos and images of food, locations and activities that encouraged viewers to turn their dream holiday into a reality.

Clearly, the format and ad concept were a great fit—a point that Stuart Chapman, Virgin’s Social Media Executive, saw in the campaign results. He stated: “Ads in Stories was an obvious addition to our paid social strategy. By producing creative which [matched] the playful, real-time concept of the channel, we saw a 2.84X higher return on ad spend compared to previous Instagram video campaigns.”

Additionally, the brand saw:

  • 5X increase in video completion rates compared to their previous Instagram video campaigns
  • 10% lower cost per view compared to previous Instagram video campaigns
  • 1X lower cost per 1,000 people reached compared to all previous Instagram campaigns

Clearly, a collaborative effort that required the creative talents of many, Virgin’s campaign was successful but required the right creative narrative to make sense for Instagram’s Stories. More than a montage of funky images with text on top, there was a lot of planning and groundwork that went into the message they wanted to deliver, and how it was delivered—a key lesson for anyone who thinks Instagram or Facebook Stories requires little effort and money.