The third of our quarterly state tourism website traffic analysis for the 50 official state tourism offices was published today. The analysis was conducted by the TwoSix Digital team to benchmark and rank traffic to each tourism organization’s website. The analysis graded each state by total traffic, average monthly visits, the share of mobile vs. desktop and engagement factors like pages per visit, average visit duration and bounce rate. We continued this month to track inbound and outbound links, which gives us some perspective on where the visitors are coming from and where they are going after interacting with state tourism websites.
Michigan Takes the Lead
The website volume traffic leader has changed for the third consecutive quarter. The third quarter was led by Michigan, with an average monthly total of 849,506, followed by Colorado, Wisconsin, Florida, and California. In this quarter only 28% of the state tourism websites showed an increase in traffic over Q2. This indicates that a majority of the states ramp up their promotion and receive the most traffic during the traditional summer travel planning season. The average number of visits to all state tourism website was 716,294.
Mobile traffic decreased by 11% from Q2 to 64%. There is no clear indication of why it has dipped, but the overall average for the last three quarters is 72%, which is in line with other industry data. We can confidently say that most sites are well over 70% in terms of mobile usage. And, it is a clear reminder to all tourism organizations that mobile optimization is still one of the most important parts of any online promotional campaign.
Pages Per Session
The state of Tennessee leads in pages consumed per session with just over 4, followed by Oklahoma, Delaware, Ohio, and Virginia – which are all hovering around the 3.5 pages per session range. Oklahoma leads the pack with an average time on site of 3:01 followed by West Virginia, Delaware, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
In terms of overall engagement, Delaware is at the top of the list followed by Alaska, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Tennessee. This ranking was calculated by using a weighted scale based on the number of page visits, time on site and bounce rate. We then calculated the overall engagement rate on a scale from 1-10 and ranked the states from 1 to 50.
Incoming and Outgoing Sites
We continued to track the top incoming and outgoing websites in Q3. The leader for the top incoming site was Google at 70%, down slightly from 74% in Q2. This again solidifies much of the published data that shows a majority of travel planning begins with a search. The second most common referred traffic source for state tourism offices was TripAdvisor at a distant 12%.
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State Tourism Website Traffic Analysis Infographic | Q3 2019
The second of our quarterly state tourism website traffic analysis for the 50 official state tourism offices was published today. The analysis was conducted by the TwoSix Digital team to benchmark and rank traffic to each tourism organization’s website. The analysis graded each state by total traffic, average monthly visits, share of mobile vs. desktop and engagement factors like pages per visit, average visit duration and bounce rate. This month we also tracked inbound and outbound links, which gives us some perspective where the visitors are coming from and where they are going after interacting with state tourism websites.
The indicator that the tourism promotion season is in high gear was very clear with 72% of the states increasing their overall traffic in Q2 over Q1. Oklahoma took over the number spot with 2.8 million total website visits. The top five stayed consistent, with one change – Oklahoma replaced Hawaii among the leaders. Florida held the second spot for the second consecutive quarter, followed by California, Michigan and Colorado.
The average number of visits to all state tourism website was 834,906 in the Q2, a 7% increase over Q1. Mobile traffic stayed consistent at 75%, just two percentage points down from 77% in Q1. The state of Alaska moved up to the number one spot in website engagement, from number three in Q1. They also lead all fifty state tourism offices in pages per visit at 3.17 and time on-site with a duration of 2:49.
The other states in the top five of overall website engagement were Delaware at number two, followed by Vermont, West Virginia and Connecticut rounded out the fifth spot. This ranking was calculated by using a weighted scale based on the number of page visits, time on site and bounce rate. We then calculated the overall engagement rate on a scale from 1-10 and ranked the states from 1 to 50.
One addition to the Q2 rankings includes the top incoming and outgoing websites, which gives us some perspective on the overall traveler’s content interests and website usage. The top incoming site was Google. Of the 50 states, 74% of them had incoming traffic from Google. It also looks like many state tourism offices are conducting connected TV promotions, as Hulu was second in referral traffic – sending 22% of the total inbound traffic to state tourism sites. TripAdvisor rounded out the top three with an 8% share of incoming clicks.
The top outgoing sites were much more balanced with Facebook leading the downstream traffic at 32% followed by the National Park Service at 30%. Google also acquired 26% of the outgoing traffic – which tells us more than a quarter of the visitors to state tourism websites did not find what they were looking for or needed more specific information following their initial query. TripAdvisor closed out the top four with an 8% share of outgoing traffic.
One very interesting note, Alaska was the only state with all of their top 10 outgoing traffic links reaching local tour groups and tourism industry partner websites. A great achievement for the marketers of the 49thstate!
All of the data was gathered via SimilarWeb, a third-party traffic and website analysis application. SimilarWeb’s innovative marketing intelligence allows users to gain insight into any website’s statistics through a global panel of consumers that work across a range of devices and websites.
We would like to emphasize that we do realize these numbers will not be “apples to apples” in terms of overall website visits recorded through Google Analytics or other tracking software installed on an individual website. But, by collectively recording the aggregate data for all 50 states from an identical source utilizing the same methodologies, we will be able to draw a very accurate analysis of the traffic positioning.
(And what to do when you find it!)
User-Generated Content (UGC) is a huge part of tourism marketing. People are constantly posting images during their travels, which provides great opportunities for DMOs to repost this content on their own channels to promote and inspire tourism. In this blog, you’ll learn the best ways to find great UGC on Instagram and what to do when you find it.
Some users make it super simple by tagging you in their photos, so the first place to start is looking at the images you’re tagged in! Navigate to the “tagged photos” portion in your Instagram profile to see what you’ve been tagged in. A best practice is to check-in on this a few times a week (at least) to make sure that you’re not missing out on any impressive content.
Check Your Hashtag For User-Generated Content
Did you know that you can search your hashtag on Instagram to see all of the posts that have used it? You can do this by either navigating to the search bar and typing it in or by clicking your hashtag that’s in your bio. This will take you to a screen displaying both popular and recent posts using your hashtag!
Using a location tag is a method for users to post about the places they visit during their trip and a great way to know for certain that an image was taken at a specific destination. To find a specific location tag, simply navigate to the search bar and start typing in the location. You should see the location pop up in the search results. If you see a location tagged that you want to look at in your feed, you can also click on the tag above the image and it will navigate you to a page displaying both popular and recent posts at that location. Remember, don’t just check city tags, but also local attractions, restaurants, and more!
What to Do When You Find User-Generated Content
Now that you’ve found the perfect image for your feed, it’s time to save the user-generated content to your collection and get approval from the user to actually use the photo in your feed. Follow these steps to make sure that you’re asking for permission in the right way:
- Save the image to your collection so you can easily refer back to it when necessary. See below how to add it to your collection:
2. Like the Image!
3. Comment on the image using verbiage something like this:
“Great photo! With your permission, we’d love to use this in our blog. Let us know if you have any concerns.”
4. Once you receive a response, you can reply and thank them for giving you permission!
Posting the User-Generated Content with Credit
Finally, make sure that when you post the image on your own social feeds, you tag the user in the image, or give them photo credit in the comments. If you’re putting it in your blog, be sure to give them image credit. If you are embedding the photo directly to your website, it’ll automatically give credit where credit is due.
Following this quick approach is an integral step in giving your brand a voice. You also show your visitors appreciation for posting their images of your location. Integrating user-generated content in your blogs and social media feeds will allow future visitors to see others experiencing your destination and can inspire them to do so as well. For more new and exciting ways to use digital marketing to enhance your destination marketing organization, be sure to subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow us across social media at the links below.