Google has just expanded Posts on Google for destinations (cities, regions, states and countries) to post events, news and updates for free on their destinations. Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) can apply for an official account to post as the lead agency on behalf of their city or destination. On May 23rd, we held an introductory webinar with Aditya Mahesh, Product Manager for Posts on Google and Patrick Rodgers, Content Director at Miles. They introduced DMOs to the new platform and shared examples of how dozens of cities from the around the world are now using Posts on Google.
Posts on Google appear in the Knowledge Panel if you search for a destination in Google. It is completely free to apply for an account and use. For example: Search for “Richmond VA” in Google and then scroll down the Knowledge Panel on the right hand side of the page to view Richmond’s current Posts.
Miles tested Posts on Google with a range of its DMO clients and discussed the results in the webinar. This showed that Posts on Google typically has a significant audience reach (depending on search volume around your destination name) and unlike Facebook, has no limitations on organic reach. Posts on Google typically offered a stronger audience reach than Facebook (organic reach only – no boosting or promotion of posts) but lower click through rates. This is likely because Posts on Google is typically reaching users with a wider range of searches about a destination – and not necessarily with an interest in events or travel related updates or information. However, for those users who click through, engagement rates on the site were typically stronger than Facebook – with longer time on a site, higher page views per visit and an increase in goal completions.
Developed with my colleague, Patrick Rodgers, here are 7 best practices for using Posts on Google as a DMO. In addition, you can watch the webinar for additional tips and suggestions as well as helpful answers to the many questions submitted by DMOs during the session.
7 Best Practices for Using Posts on Google
1. Top Performing Content: Top performing content types include timely event information, posts with engaging, immersive photography and video as well as posts with a relevant, topical theme. We recommend testing a range of content, looking at the audience metrics for each type of Posts and even using the poll feature to get feedback from users on what they would like to see.
2. Best Practices on Images: Images with higher saturation and color contrast performed best in addition to images in motion, such as animated GIFs.
3. Frequency of Posting: Posting 2-3 times per week is the suggested frequency we’ve found to be most efficient. Keeping two Posts live at a time is ideal and when more than 2 posts appear, a carousel is active that allows users to click across to older posts. Expired posts then become available in a library feature. The default setting for the length of a Post is 7 days but you can increase that time to 2 weeks.
4. Timing During the Week: Posting content early in the week seemed to perform slightly better, but this may vary by destinations and the nature/mix of its audience
5. Measurement: Posts on Google offers top level reporting on audience (views) and summary reporting on views for all Posts. No click through or other reporting features (i.e.: sharing actions) are currently available for Posts on Google. We suggest using campaign tracking codes for all links and more importantly, looking at not only the click through but the “beyond the click” engagement of these users on your site.
6. Integration with Social Media Communication: Posts on Google is a useful (and free) extension of a DMO’s communication activity through social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram. To fully utilize the opportunity, coordinate Posts on Google with posting activity on these other social channels, assessing the different types of content that perform best on each platform. In addition, Posts on Google can also be a very useful addition to other communication platforms you can use during crisis communication.
7. Coordinate with Other Agencies in Your Destination: Google is giving “official” DMOs the opportunity to be the lead agency in applying for an account and posting on behalf of its destination. Consider reaching out to other official agencies in your destination (i.e.: city, county or state government) and discussing content they may wish to post. This content from partner agencies could be submitted through the DMO to post or as an alternative, co-management rights on Posts on Google can be given to other agencies. To make the process easy and efficient, it is helpful to develop a clear communication plan along with editorial guidelines that cover Posts on Google (as well as potentially other social media channels).
Google DMO Partnership Program: Posts on Google is an extension of the Google DMO Partnership Program- a set of free tools and solutions that DMOs can use to review and enhance the presence of its destination across Google’s platforms. Miles offers a set of paid support services to assist DMOs in the use of these tools – including audit and planning, content activation, industry training and engagement and impact assessment/ongoing support. For more information on these services, visit www.MilesPartnesrhip.com/GoogleDMOProgram
- Apply for a free Posts on Google account for your city or destination by filling out this form with an official destination email
- A recording of the webinar and other resources are available at www.MilesPartnership.com/GooglePosts
- For more information from Google on Posts on Google, visit https://posts.withgoogle.com
- For more information on the Google DMO Partnership Program and the support services Miles offers, visit www.MilesPartnership.com/GoogleDMOProgram