5 years ago

Airlines dip their toes in the Instagram pool [INFOGRAPHIC]

It’s all about multimedia, right? And, in particular, images. At least that is what many an expert would have digital marketers believe.

A few months ago the image-based social network Pinterest was on the tip of everyone’s tongue, lauded in (many) places as the best of the newbie platforms to emerge since Twitter and Facebook.

Since then it has inspired a number of similar initiatives from existing travel-focused social networks, but sceptics about its relevance for travel brands have simply pointed to how Pinterest appears to many as just a decent place to find recipes and ideas for flower arranging.

Nevertheless, given that travel search is (or at least should be) such a natural place for images, others have suggested that its most powerful role in travel and tourism will be for destinations.

This hasn’t stopped many a travel brand giving it a go anyway, with many dedicating resources to sharing, uploading and bookmarking images.

But then mobile-based photo sharing service Instagram was snapped up by Facebook for a jaw-dropping $1 billion in April this year, signifying how important images are even to a company that seemingly sweeps away every other social network placed in front of it.

Analysis of 20 airlines by The Rabbit Agency and SimpliFlying has found some carriers are reaping the benefits of dabbling in Instagram, at least in terms of having thousands of “fans” or followers in another social network.

Out in front of the 20 airlines, by the number of images put on the service, is UK-based carrier BMIBaby, hardly a stranger to the growing interest in using images as a driver for brand awareness after its success with the live Instagrammer communities around Europe.

Interestingly, there doesn’t appear to be a direct correlation between the number of followers and the volume of pictures on the service – AirAsia, for example, has almost 15,000 followers on Instagram but has only uploaded 135 images.

This could be simply because it has integrated its Instagram feed into its Facebook page, where it has a massive 1.5 million fans.

Despite its efforts to upload dozens of pictures and get to the top of the list, BMIBaby has just close to 1,800 followers on Instagram.

Here is the obligatory infographic with plenty of data for the other airlines included in the stud  [click image for larger version]:

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Allplane

    Looks like you might need to update this infograph soon, as more airlines are experimenting with Instagram, the latest of them Vueling: http://allplane.blogspot.fr/2012/05/latest-on-airline-social-media.html

    • Dirk Singer

      Hello, no unfortunately Vueling’s ‘scores’ still reflects the situation as of last weekend when they hadn’t announced this initiative yet.

      Good on them though, an interesting and engaging campaign and it is the type of thing airlines need to be doing more of.

  2. Dirk Singer

    Hi Kevin,

    Really appreciate the mention of our bmibaby campaign and for using the infographic we did with Simpliflying.

    If I may I would like to come back to your final point on the bmibaby feed. Our objective wasn’t to lead the list in terms of followers. However, if you were to produce a list that looks at followers relative to size of each airline I am fairly sure bmibaby would indeed be top.

    Our objective was to get bmibaby talked about, to showcase the destinations and to engage the Instagram community via their own feeds. On that score, the campaign has been a success.

    For example, as the infographic shows, bmibaby has a very high share of voice on the network as a whole compared to other (much larger) airlines. Meanwhile, our My Europe campaign has so far seen over 40,000 images being tagged and submitted, making it one of the most successful Instagram brand campaigns to date in any industry sector (and not just travel)

    Regards, Dirk Singer


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