An interesting analysis from Strike Social has found that, while Travelocity is outspending Expedia by over 9 to 1 in dollars spent, Expedia is garnering more organic attention for its investment.
The data, which was not publicly available and shared with AdWeek here, also considered travel brands Kayak, Hotels.com, Orbitz and Priceline, but discovered that those brands have made minimal investments in the platform.
According to AdWeek, the numbers are derived from a direct relationship with Google's YouTube.
Here's how Strike Social, a Los Angeles-based startup, arrives at its spend numbers. A certified YouTube/Google data partner, Strike Social says it employs an algorithm to parse the number of views born of paid ads from organic/non-paid views. Then it multiples the paid views by the industry cost-per-view average to estimate spend per video. The system was developed in conjunction with the Data Science Department at the University of Southern California to gauge online video spending.
Here's a breakdown of the overall wider-picture data:
- Travelocity spent an estimated $235,000.
- Expedia invested $26,000 in advertising on the platform.
- On the views front, Travelocity edged out Expedia with 2.5 million views in aggregate.
- Expedia had 2.3 million views overall on its YouTube content.
- Organically, Expedia won handsomely. The OTA had 1.7 million earned views while Travelocity only managed 29,000 views organically through social sharing and overall appeal of the content.
- Expedia also proved to be a category leader, winning seven of the top ten travel video spots.
Clearly cash doesn't trump clever on YouTube. It's vital for travel marketers to match spend with compelling content - or at least create the content that will drive organic attention and then use additional advertising dollars to boost the spread of the already-interesting content.
Expedia enjoyed a revenue boost of 24% in Q2 of 2014, in part due to the Travelocity distribution partnership. So perhaps its working out better for Expedia, which is spending more time crafting viral marketing while also limiting spend.
When browsing through Expedia's videos on YouTube, it becomes apparent that a regular posting schedule delivers dividends on the awareness front. While not all videos are mammoth hits, each video allows the brand to engage with a different audience or share a specific part of the brand's DNA.
Taking time to showcase different aspects of a value proposition is incredibly useful, not to mention the necessity for top-of-mind awareness in that moment when a browser becomes a ready-to-book traveler.
Here are the most popular videos from both Expedia and Travelocity, each of which was also a TV commercial for both brands.
Expedia leans heavily on its latest "Find Yours" marketing campaign, wtih simple stories that pack an emotional punch.
Travelocity has a more tongue-in-check perspective that focuses on the fun and how-to of travel with videos of various styles and lengths promoting the #iWannaGo philosophy.