Commentary

Which Cruise Line Came Out On Top On Social This Year?

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, December 28, 2015

2015 was a standout year for travel brands on social — particularly on Facebook, where companies are working to perfect their strategies and spend to reach consumers in the ever-evolving News Feed.

Cruise companies especially are competing for audiences on Facebook, looking to build brand awareness and a return on their investment. This year you may have noticed a picture of a cruise destination, a video of a cruise experience, or some other campaign in your feed. But which cruise company beat out the rest when it came to engagement on social?

To find out, we pulled data on how many Page interactions each cruise line gained on Facebook — summing up all the likes, comments, and shares from users on the cruise line’s posts from Jan. 1 until Dec. 1, 2015.

It so happens that Disney Cruise Line took first place with a grand total of 2.67 million Page interactions during the period. Coming into a close second place was Carnival Cruise Line with 2.64 million Page interactions. 

The results are even more interesting if we take a closer look across a few different metrics. While Disney ranked first in terms of overall Page interactions, its audience size is about half that of Carnival Cruise Line’s — with 1.7 million Fans at the time of measurement versus Carnival’s 3.3 million. This meant that Disney did a much better job of engaging its relative fan base, receiving more interactions per fan than Carnival did. Over the period, Disney received 1,739 interactions per 1,000 fans — over double Carnival’s count of 850. Of the top 5 cruise lines, Disney had the highest interactions per 1,000 fans as well.

Ranking third, fourth, and fifth in terms of Page interactions were Princess Cruises (1.47 million interactions), Norwegian Cruise Line (1.40 million), and Royal Caribbean International (1.31 million), respectively. Royal Caribbean International had the second largest audience size, with 3.16 million Fans at the time of measurement.

To the untrained marketer, it might then seem that Royal Caribbean had the lowest performance of the top 5. It’s important to note a couple facts, though, that say the opposite: first, the Royal Caribbean International Facebook Page that ranked in the top 5 is a Global Page; Royal Caribbean also has local Pages, including for countries like Brazil and Mexico. For these two local Pages in particular for example, they gained an additional 674,000 interactions. It’s well known that local Pages tend to receive higher engagement per fan than Global ones because local Pages are able to cater their content better. Thus, local Pages tend to be a great move by larger international companies who have many different markets. In this sense, Royal Caribbean is doing a great job on Facebook catering to different audiences.

Moving into 2016, the social landscape is going to just get more and more competitive. It’s important for brands to understand how they’re performing in context of not just their top competitor, but of their entire industry. 2015 was a close race for the cruise lines, and if they keep their pace up, 2016 will be an even closer one.

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