This year’s top mobile marketing trends and insights for travel publishers
So far 2016 is turning out to the year of endless potential for travel publishers who are looking to make an impact in the booming mobile market. This year, eMarketer estimates that 73.0% of Americans who research their travel options digitally will use a mobile device to do so. The demand for mobile-friendly travel content is definitely there, and publishers will need to act now to ensure they are making the most of their mobile marketing efforts to see substantial and sustainable growth in this market. Here are some of the top mobile marketing trends that are driving the travel and tourism industry this year, and suggestions how you can leverage them profitably in your publishing strategy.
Travel video content takes off on mobile devices
According to Rhythm Insights, online video is predicted to reach 75% of all mobile traffic in 2016, underscoring the shift in mobile media consumption habits away from text-heavy content to rich media. For today’s travelers, video plays an important role in the early decision-making process, with 65% of leisure travelers viewing mobile videos when thinking about taking a trip. 61% will turn to videos when choosing a destination, and 48% when thinking about what type of trip to take.
YouTube has also released metrics indicating an upward trend for travel videos being viewed on mobile. According to their data, travelers are increasingly using mobile devices to consume travel-related videos, anytime and anywhere. In 2013, mobile devices accounted for roughly 30% of all travel video views, with mobile viewing up 97% on smartphones and 205% on tablets, year over year. While travel video views in general are on the rise, a huge 67% of these views are specifically for brand or professional video content.
So what we can infer from these two insights is that today’s travelers, who are seeking inspiration or planning their next trip, are increasingly on the lookout for high-quality and informative travel-related videos which can be easily accessed on their phones, on the go. For publishers who produce travel content, such as guides, brochures, and magazines, you will need to keep this in mind when planning your mobile content strategy. Substitute paragraph heavy articles in your mobile edition for short, bite-sized videos. Remember, articles that contain video are more likely to be shared to social media as well, propagating the chance of your content’s discoverability amongst new readers exponentially.
Smartphone users are increasingly making travel decisions in the spur of the moment
Google has coined these brief and fragmented periods of engagement driven by mobile, “micro-moments”. Before mobile took off as a major platform for consuming content, travel publishers could feel confident knowing that most of their audience would at some point plan to sit down and read a travel guide or magazine through, more or less cover to cover. According to Google, our access to mobile has subverted these reading habits, instead:
“Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device—increasingly a smartphone—to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped. In these moments, consumers’ expectations are higher than ever. The powerful computers we carry in our pockets have trained us to expect brands to immediately deliver exactly what we are looking for when we are looking. We want things right, and we want things right away.”
Source: Think With Google
Google has documented that, of leisure travelers who are smartphone users, 69% will search for travel ideas during spare moments, like when they’re standing in line or waiting for the subway. 54% will seek out travel information by performing quick searches in search engines. If your content is not optimized to appeal to this mobile behavior then you may be neglecting a sizeable portion of your market, with Google reporting that only 9% of users will stay on a mobile site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs (for example, to find information or navigate quickly).
The first step in the right direction is ensuring that your online travel brochure or magazine is optimized for mobile devices. Not only will this boost its discoverability through organic search, but it will also vastly improve the user experience for those with smartphones. The next consideration is that your content can be consumed in these increasingly prevalent bite-sized moments. Content that has been portioned out into individual articles instead of entire issues will appeal to a traveler’s need for quick and easy information in the moments that suit them.
Geo-targeting takes the mobile experience to new heights
Advancements in mobile technology over recent years has seen a huge rise in geo-targeted marketing. For travel publishers in particular, being able to serve your readers a mobile experience that is tailored to their location is one of the strongest tools in your arsenal. Not only does this technology present marketers with a way to strengthen reader engagement with your brand, but your readers are more likely to find value in the content and experience you serve them.
There are a few different ways to incorporate geo-targeted marketing into your mobile travel publishing:
- Run geo-targeted banner ads in your mobile guide, brochure, or magazine. This way you can juggle multiple advertisers simultaneously and be confident knowing that the click-throughs are more likely to convert.
- By tailoring the language of your mobile edition to the traveler’s country of origin you will be able to appeal to a greater global market.
- Detecting a traveler’s current location and serving them the regional travel guide that best suits their needs.
- Adding ‘suggested articles’ which have been determined by the traveler’s current location can go a long way in helping them plan their trip en route.
- Don’t forget to include a ‘tap-for-directions’ feature to your articles or ads. Even today you will still see tourists walking around with fold-out paper maps, make it easier for your readers to get from point A to B without needing to navigate away from your mobile edition.
Tap into native smartphone functionality
One of the biggest marketing challenges faced by travel publishers is ensuring that your mobile guides and brochures make it into the hands of travelers. Optimizing your content for mobile goes a long way in boosting your SEO discoverability through organic search, but positioning your content effectively in the market to attract potential new customers is a necessity. SMS marketing has been around for a while now, but with physical mail delivery prices on the rise and SMS prices more competitive than ever, now is the best time to consider exploring an SMS strategy for your mobile to increase engagement with your travel content.
According to a Dynmark report, SMS boasts an unprecedented open rate of 98% (70-80% higher than email!) In fact, 90% are even read within 3 seconds.
For some publishers, SMS may understandably sound like an invasive form of marketing. In this day and age, our smartphones are often viewed less as a tool and more as an extension of ourselves, with many even succumbing to separation anxiety when they go a day without them. The truth of the matter is that when it is handled with integrity and creativity, SMS can be effectively integrated into your marketing strategy for the benefit of everyone.
Do not forget that SMS is a two-way street. When you incorporate it into your online display or print advertising strategy, you can open brand new avenues for readers to access your content. Travelers can request your guide or brochure through a simple SMS keyword that you advertise on your website, or on posters, billboards, and hotel billboards, and instantly have it delivered to their phone on demand. As further incentive, readers could also opt in to receive vouchers and special offers via SMS.
The mobile platform has well and truly established itself as an important medium for travelers when it comes to seeking out relevant information. Travel publishers need to act now to strengthen their marketing strategy for mobile to target these readers, and there is no better place to start than with your online guides and brochures.
Realview has just launched a new mobile-first solution which was created with the marketing challenges of travel publishers in mind. To find out more about how you can create a mobile marketing strategy for your guides that will open your business up to new audiences and increased revenue, click through to read our presentation.