The annual Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) conference wrapped earlier this month and there was one question on everyone’s mind: How do tourism-related businesses reach travelers on social media – particularly Facebook? The various panelists and speakers were happy to provide insight, and most of them could sum it up in one word: Video.
Facebook expects video to account for 74% of all internet usage by 2017. (See also: Why Facebook Could Be ‘All Video’ in 5 Years) Mark Zuckerberg sees it as the next mega-trend in digital, so they’ve gone all-in on video with the following new features, all released this year.

  • Facebook Canvas – A new alternative to the traditional microsite, Facebook Canvas is an open space for brand storytelling. You can combine still images, videos and call-to-action buttons in a way that gives your customers a more immersive experience. It’s all contained within the Facebook infrastructure, where travelers are already spending such a large amount of their time.
  • Facebook 360 Photos – Launched in June, Facebook 360 Photos let users and brands create pictures with wide angles that others can view and navigate through almost like virtual reality. Consumers are twice as likely to share 360 images as normal images. You don’t need special equipment to take these interactive photos; Google’s Street View app can create them.
  • Facebook Live – Live videos typically garner 10 times as many comments as normal videos, and realizing this, Facebook has given people and brands the ability to invite their friends and followers (respectively) to watch Live broadcasts from within the broadcast interface itself.

Since Facebook wants to ramp these new features up quickly, they’re rewarding early adopters by showing these new types of content much more often in fans’ newsfeeds. For example, imagine you have a million Facebook fans and you want to show them a sunset. If you post a picture of it, Facebook might display the picture approximately 6,000 times. If you post a video of the same sunrise, they might show it 15,000 times. If you post a 360 Photo, it’d be shown 203,000 times. If you do a live video of the event, you would garner about 480,000 views.
If Facebook is part of your digital strategy for reaching travelers, it might pay off to make an investment in learning about these new features.