At first blush, one might conclude that the position of Brand USA has declined or receded vs. other national tourism organizations listed in the Top 20 NTOs on WeChat, the all-purpose app with more than a billion regular users in China. But there is more to the picture than what first meets the eye.
For instance, in 2017, the first year that Dragon Trail Interactive—the global digital marketing agency which serves a broad travel and tourism clientele—tallied WeChat views for various sectors of the travel and tourism industry, Brand USA ranked No. 7 among overseas NTOs marketing to China.
In the just-released data for 2019, which showed that, even though Brand USA more than doubled the number of its posts on WeChat (76), generating more than 261,000 views, its rank among the Top 20 NT0 “WeChatters” fell to Number 14. One reason is the fact that there are simply so many more overseas DMOs that have made use of WeChat as a marketing tool and, therefore, the competition for the attention of Chinese travelers who use it has intensified.
A second factor that makes comparison difficult is that a half-dozen overseas NTOs are for countries that are regional destinations in Asia. A third reason is that airlines, attractions and regional DMOs have launched and/expanded their own WeChat presence on WeChat creating an even more competitive environment.
As the Dragon Trail report explained: “Comparing 2018 to 2019, there is modest growth for destinations, and much more significant growth in average reading rates for airlines and cruise lines. Cruise lines especially have nearly doubled their average readership in 2019 compared to 2017. The average reading rates for the top 10 and top 20 NTOs over the past three years have not been as positive, with major declines in 2018 because of a few key accounts. NTO reading rates recovered somewhat in 2019, but have still not returned to their 2017 levels. DMOs, on the other hand, have seen healthy gains in 2019 – it’s possible that Chinese travelers are now paying closer attention to more regional information regarding travel, especially for large countries like the U.S. and Canada.”
The two tables and one chart below illustrate how competitive the global WeChat tourism marketing community has become.
OVERSEAS NTOs WECHAT RANKING 2019
Data Collection Date: January 1, 2020
Ranking Criteria: Accounts are ranked according to the highest number views for all posts published. WeChat views are “unique views.”
N. Overseas National Tourism Offices surveyed: 52
2017-2019 Average Views by Category
(Top accounts were ranked by total views)