video

How This Travel Publisher is Creating Viral Facebook Videos


By   |   August 11th, 2016   |   Reading time: 6 minutes Digital Journalism

INSIDER travel is getting millions of people watching their inspirational travel videos. Discover their best tactics and strategies in our breakdown.

Ah, summer. For the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the time of getaways to the beach or other fun locales. So of course, we took a look at which travel publishers are seeing big engagement during the summer months.

When we looked at Facebook engagement for travel publishers, video was scoring a disproportionate amount of engagement to all other formats.

travel engagement Facebook format type

In July, video posts for travel pages on Facebook saw over 2,000 average shares per post. 

With over 100 million hours of Facebook video watched a day, the publishers who know how to craft winning Facebook video are benefitting from the engagement that goes along with it. Just look at the top travel publishers in July.

travel rankings July 2016

While National Geographic is top dog for the sheer amount of Likes they received on their content, it’s the second publisher, INSIDER travel, that saw over 2 million shares to National Geographic’s 717,000.

INSIDER travel, a vertical of the digital-first publisher INSIDER, also drove over 542,000 comments in July, over 500,000 more comments than the next publisher. Owned by Business Insider, INSIDER focuses on telling travel, food, and adventure stories primarily for a social media audience.

This video from INSIDER travel has been viewed over 36 million times. It’s driven over 211,000 likes/reactions, 360,000 shares, and 153,000 comments.

If we look at the top videos in the travel vertical, since these are driving the most engagement, we can see that INSIDER travel is the trailblazer by far. Nine of the top 10 posts from these publishers are video. Eight of those are from INSIDER travel.

So, how do they do it?

Take Us Away: Make it Aspirational

INSIDER travel’s videos showcase the adventures that can be found around the world, whether it’s a swimming hole in the Oregon woods, the longest, fastest zip-line, or where you can find a green tea waffle hot dog.

Content has to have a value. It could be educational, entertaining, or inspirational. As people may be planning trips or curious to see what the world holds, aspiration is an angle that is well-suited for travel stories.

This video shows off travelers enjoying Iceland’s famous blue lagoon. Inspiring others to perhaps make the trip, the video drove over 332,000 shares, 189,000 likes/reactions, and 87,000 comments. 

Content must serve your audience. What are they taking away every time they click on a INSIDER travel video? What’s so special about it that will prompt them to share?

When we looked at the top Facebook reactions for these sites, INSIDER travel’s top reactions were Love and Wow. They’ve honed in on producing thrilling content that their wanderlust audience doesn’t see every day.

Find What People Like with User-Generated Content

If they’re seeking to be aspirational, they’ve certainly tapped a great source of media through Instagram. Most of their videos rely on clips pulled from Instagram. They credit each of these users in a watermark on the video’s upper left corner.

By using Instagram’s location feature, INSIDER travel could very easily find an abundance of footage from Nara, Japan’s famous deer park.

Instagram content tends to be more artistic and inspirational already, so this stays in line with INSIDER travel’s content goal to inspire. Plus, by looking at the top posts on Instagram with a tool like Spike, publishers can discover what destinations users are excited about right now and craft content around those trends.

User-generated content is a powerful tool, as we’ve seen with brands like Nissan. It creates a cycle of content by the community, for the community.

The people they source material from, or work with, also may end up being active in the community. In the above post, Scott Hjertas Mason, one of the parahawking pilots, addressed people’s fears about the activity. Want to find the content going viral with your audience? Take a free trial of Spike to discover the biggest social publishing trends. 

Short and Digestible

Like most successful native video publishers that we’ve analyzed, INSIDER travel’s videos are succinct.

This is important in the age of shrinking attention spans and a cacophony of digital noise. Only 65% of viewers who watch the first three seconds of a video continue watching to the ten second mark, and only 45% will keep watching for at least 30 seconds.

This video, though less than a minute long, still was able to showcase this terrifying (or exhilarating) travel experience.

INSIDER travel’s top ten videos of July averaged 47.5 seconds in length. Like we saw for NowThis, INSIDER travel’s videos start with a visually compelling shot to bring viewers right into the action. Since that first second is so crucial to whether a person will keep watching, it’s important to make that first shot as exciting and interesting as possible. 

Sound? No Sound? Up to the Viewer

Another best practice that we’ve noted, INSIDER travel’s videos are viewable and comprehensible whether sound is on or off. Short, bold captions narrate the video by flashing across the screen.

But, most of these videos rely heavily on their vivid visuals to tell a story. The video is the story.

While the visuals certainly are the most exciting part of this video, context is given by the large, easily readable captions so that viewers can watch without sound and still understand what makes this zip-line special. 

And for those watching with sound, there is snappy background music and dialogue or exclamation where relevant. This music fits the mood of the video, enhancing the viewing experience. Sign up for our newsletter so you never miss the latest social publishing insights

Ready for Mobile

As a highly social media-focused publisher, INSIDER travel is well aware that many of its viewers are coming from a mobile device. Because of this, their videos tend to be square in format.

Square, short, viewable without sound makes this video perfect for viewers watching on their mobile phones. 

This makes for an easier viewing for users, who don’t need to flip their phones or devices to watch the video and can have a seamless experience.

This is another way that sourcing from Instagram becomes handy, as the majority of media there also tends to be square.

In some of the videos, there is a helpful, tap for sound instruction, that also is meant for mobile users. As more and more users are coming from different devices, providing the best possible experience across them is key for keeping viewers engaged.

What Video Producers Should Know

Travel is a vertical that is extremely suited for the visual nature of video. However, no matter the subject, the best practices that INSIDER travel uses can be applied to your content creation. 

Video content should deliver a value to the audience, whether it’s inspirational like INSIDER travel, informative, or simply fun. Quality, genuinely interesting content is king.

Video should be a good user experience for the viewer as well, and that means keep it short, make it mobile friendly, and watchable without sound.

Lastly, user-generated content can be a treasure trove for sourcing clips to use in your video. Examining what users are posting in your vertical can also lead to discovery of new story ideas and content themes.

By looking at the publishers creating viral video and what their methods are, more publishers can see success with their own video creation.

Further reading:

  1. How to Create the Perfect Video Content for Your Audience
  2. How To Boost Your Production Speed and Create More Videos
  3. Essential Tools and Tactics for Video on Social
  4. Three Facebook Video Metrics to Pay Attention to

Take a free trial of Spike to get better content intelligence for your video production. 

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