The Last Eight
If you missed our previous post, we began evaluating the marketing websites of the countries represented in the knockout rounds of Euro 2016. We didn't go in to too much detail with our analysis in the last round, we simply selected winners based on initial impressions of the websites, and how much those impressions inspired us to learn more about each country as a potential tourist destination. Our results didn't quite mirror those in France, so here's a quick recap of the results from the last 16:
Switzerland v Poland
Wales v Northern Ireland
Portugal v Croatia
France v Republic Of Ireland
Slovakia v Germany
Hungary v Belgium
Spain v Italy
Iceland v England
That leaves the quarter final line up looking like this:
Poland v Croatia
Wales v Hungary
Slovakia v Spain
Republic Of Ireland v Iceland
The Quarter Final Criteria
For the previous round we judged the sites on the initial impression they generated. In this round, we are looking at the reach and effectiveness of their social media activity. It's all very well marketing a destination via the internet, but ultimately, what is the point if no one is actually able to find the website itself? We're going to analyse how effectively they've utilised key social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter to attract more visitors to the website.
Note: we'll update our results here to the same schedule as the matches in France.
Iceland Analysis: For some reason we expected a little more from Iceland on the social media front. In recent years it's become a hugely popular destination for travellers, something that could have been attributed to more exposure via social media. At 152,000+ Facebook likes, 35.8K Twitter followers and 39.8K on Instagram, Iceland are still doing fairly well considering they are by far the smallest nation in the competition.
You can't fault the effort of the social marketing team at Visit Iceland either. They regularly post to all the pages under their Inspired By Iceland moniker. Perhaps unsurprisngly, their recent posts have been inspired by their country's football team's fairytale run to the last 8 in the football tournament.
Republic Of Ireland Analysis: A fairly strong showing from the Irish this. While Iceland have recently been priding their nation's footballing achievements on social media, the Irish have been making a point to promote the stunning locations on which Game Of Thrones and Star Wars were shot, a shrewd move to bring in followers they may otherwise not have got.
436,000+ Facebook page likes beats Iceland comfortably, as do the 68K Twitter follwers and 113K on Instagram. You could probably argue a case for their content not being as strong as Iceland's but what the Irish are doing is clearly working well for them.
Result: We really liked Iceland's website from the last round, and had high hopes for them progressing further into the tournament, but Ireland deliver a knockout blow with their superior social skills and make the semis.
Republic Of Ireland Wins!
Slovakia Analysis: Daily Facebook posts and over 40,000 page likes suggest Slovakia have Facebook pretty well covered. Regular sharing of content from their own site too suggests they'll get a solid amount of traffic from this particular channel. Unfortunately, it's Twitter where the Slovakians are being let down...
A much smaller following of just 1,506 followers at the time of writing is a poor showing, and they really aren't helping themselves by only updating their feed once a month. A total of 6 posts in 2016 simply isn't going to cut it if Slovakia are to be in with a chance of winning this tournament. To their credit, they do appear to be trying to maximise social media by also having profiles on YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest, but without serious growth on all of these, they are never going to seriously challenge.
Spain Analysis: Spain snuck into the quarter finals despite a disappointing first impression in the round of 16. They were fortunate enough to be up against an Italy site which also severly underperformed. We were pretty sure we'd be eliminating the Spanish in this round, but using our social media critera, we were in for a bit of a shock when we arrive on their Facebook page. A massive 1.6 million page likes and daily sharing of content must be pulling in huge amounts of traffic, which only means that their pretty rubbish site is even more dire need of a big update.
Spain continue to perform extremely well across the board. Their Instagram page features some stunning imagery which constantly pull in thousands of likes, and has 125K page followers. Another 47.7K have followed their active Twitter page.
Result: Despite their superior website, Slovakia fall foul of the quarter final criteria and the Spanish live to fight another day. This really goes to show how important strong social media marketing can be, because the Spanish website probably (and undeservedly) gets many more hits than the Slovakian one.
Wales Analysis: The Welsh are very active on social media, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr accounts all linked to their website. At present, they're promoting the #FindYourEpic campain. While we aren't too sure about the choice of wording for the hashtag, as it doesn't really say anything about Wales itself, it does seem to be doing the business.
The Welsh have managed to garner a very impressive 640,000+ Facebook likes, and another 162K followers on Twitter, so they've got the main social platforms wrapped up. Both channels are active and sharing quality content not only from the main Visit Wales websites, but other sites which also represent the country. There have been a lot of football related posts of late, as the country are no doubt buoyed by the incredible run by the Welsh team to the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
Wales also have an Instagram account, with 22,000+ followers, and again they make use of their hashtag. They are consistently sharing stunning imagery of Wales and the likes that the images are continuously increasing, suggesting that the Welsh are only getting more and more popular on social media.
Hungary Analysis: Hungary are another country which appears to be very active on social media, and they are using a great deal of channels. Along with the usual Facebook and Twitter, they also provide links to their Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Scridb and Google+ pages. Perhaps the sheer amount of channels they are using are affecting the amount of content they can provide for each. They are probably not active enough on Twitter to maximise it's potential for example. Generally they should probably be posting daily, but they only appear to post every few days.
Their follow/like numbers are mostly not as impressive as the Welsh, with just around 16,000 on Facebook, and less than 500 on Instagram. They do make up for this with a massive 220K on Twitter though.
Result: A valiant effort from Hungary but the stats go in Wales' favour and so does that match.
Poland Analysis: The Polish Facebook page has a pretty respectable 12,623 likes at the time of writing, so they're reaching a good number of followers using this particular platform. They're active regularly, posting at least every second day most of the time. It's great to see that they're constantly linking back to articles and content on the Poland Travel website, as website traiffc is ultimately a key aim of sharing on social media.
On a more disappointing note, their Twitter isn't performing nearly as well. They are yet to reach the 500 followers mark and this is very low considering it's the country's main tourism promoter. We'd probably encourage them to post on Twitter a bit more regularly, at least once a day, in an attemp to reach a wider audience.
The Poles do have a YouTube channel linked to from their website, which is a nice touch. It's got some professionally-made videos which highlight some of the areas and activities the country has to offer. The down-side to this is that nearly all of this video content is in Polish language. It seems a little counterproductive to produce content which may attract foreign tourists in a language they likely won't understand.
Croatia Analysis: The Croatians are doing extremely well on social media. We checked out their Twitter profile, which has reached 55k followers, giving them a huge audience to reach out to. With multiple Tweets a day making good use of images and hashtags to catch attention and be more easily found, they should be achieving a great deal of interaction through this platform.
Croatia's Facebook stats are even more impressive. The page has a whopping 1.5m likes at present and is updated regularly. Facebook posts generally don't perform too well without a paid boost, usually only reaching somewhere between 5-10% of followers without. Even in the situation where the Croatia Full Of LIfe page aren't boosting their posts, they should still be reaching tens of thousands of followers.
Finally, the Croatian site also makes some nice use of pulling in social media, particularly from Instagram. Using the #CroatiaFullOfLife hashtag, people can share their photos of the countries and the best can be displayed on the website's homepage to create an attractive and eclectic image gallery of what the country has to offer.
Result: You can't really argue with the huge number of Followers Croatia have achieved. They're on top of their social media marketing game: