Nearly 40% of Gen Z prefers using TikTok and Instagram for search over Google, according to Google's internal data. In light of this, Search is changing to match user expectations of engaging, short-form content, and content marketing strategies need to shift to satisfy both.
Google is on a mission to make online search a more visual and engaging experience. Gone are the days when travelers navigated lists of blue links to find information on their destination. Instead, surfacing short-form, vertical videos in search called Google Web Stories is part of Google’s larger vision that matches the new ways people are discovering and searching for their next place to visit.
That’s why CrowdRiff created Localhood, the solution to a DMO’s short-form content needs. Localhood helps DMOs source and produce short-form video content for use across social media, websites, and Google Search. Thanks to the increased appetite from travelers for short-form content in search results, Localhood has grown into a conduit between DMOs and Google.
Google Web Stories are Google's answer to making search a visual and engaging place to keep up with users' demands. Short-form content on Google is moving forward at pace, and Localhood is right there at the forefront of the change.
Web Stories in travel search results are on the rise
Short-form videos have the power to transmit a lot of information quickly – TikTok’s sudden rise as a search engine is proof of that. Quick videos can merge detailed information with inspirational visuals. They provide the inspiration and information needed to convert travelers from lookers into bookers. This efficiency means they hold a logical place in comprehensive search results.
This brings us to the next important point – CrowdRiff has been working closely with Google, thanks to the crucial role Localhood is playing in the Web Stories space.
At Search On 2022, Google described how search is changing to provide a deeper, more richly contextualized experience for travelers. “We’re making it easier to explore a topic by bringing together facts, images, and short videos,” explained Yvonne Chou, Director, Product Management for the Google App on iOS. “It’s a quick way to get a sense of a place, as well as tips from people who have already been there”, whether that’s a local creator or a DMO.
When travelers are looking for information on a destination, they often want to know what that place looks or feels like. Web Stories on Google can help with this, in particular Web Stories created using Localhood that combine immersive visual content with swipe up CTAs that direct travelers back to your website to get more information. The introduction of short-form content on Google reflects the changing desires of travelers, as well as changing search behavior. This is a unique opportunity for DMOs to take advantage of this algorithmic change and get their content in front of high intent travelers who are already searching for terms related to their destination.
In destination search results, travelers might now see Web Stories created by DMOs or content creators showing up in the Visual Stories section on Google Search on mobile. This is a new section on the first page of Google Search that Google will unlock for search terms related to destinations that have Google Web Stories to be surfaced. These Stories could include practical tips on what to do and how to get around, along with footage that captures the sizzle of local dishes cooking or sweeping views of a dazzling coastline.
To illustrate this, the Google team at Search On presented a Google Web Story created using Localhood from Oaxaca. The Story featured multiple video clips from content creators that showcased their local tips like where to eat and which beaches to check out.
Localhood is helping to lead the Web Stories evolution
At SEE 2022, CrowdRiff’s event for travel and tourism marketers, Farah Shirzadi, Strategic Partner Development Manager at Google, gave a candid – at least for Google – glimpse into the future of travel search content. According to Shirzadi, Google Web Stories on mobile search hold great strategic importance for Google. They are a big area of time and resource commitment, as Google reimagines how users can get answers to travel queries in a more visual way.
Google carries out research on an ongoing basis to understand the next visual user need, Shirzadi explained. They build to both innovate and delight. Currently, Google is experimenting with how Web Stories appear in the Visual Stories section on Google Search results for mobile to find what format is most engaging. Localhood and some of its DMO users have been deeply involved in this exploration.
As Shirzadi noted, destination collaboration is essential for supplying creator and DMO-led content for Web Stories. Because when it comes down to it, if there are no Web Stories created for a destination, no Web Stories will show up in the Visual Stories section on search. Google needs destination content as much as DMOs need to appear at the right points in search results.
CrowdRiff and Localhood are the link between Google and DMOs. Localhood is the only Web Story creator tailored to DMOs, which is why we’re able to facilitate content creation that will lead to better search results and better SEO effectiveness for destinations. We’re not just observing the Google search changes as they’re rolled out – we’re part of making them happen.
This unique partnership means we can share with DMOs valuable insights into the famously opaque search engine as we support the creation of forward-thinking destination content.
Create searchable Stories with Localhood
Google Web Stories is just one of the channels that DMOs need to be producing short-form content for in order to reach travelers. TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Stories, and YouTube Shorts all require a constant stream of short-form video content in order for DMOs to build and sustain a presence on these platforms.
Localhood takes the hard work out of producing new vertical videos for DMOs by working with local content creators in your destination to deliver short-form content. Our team handles all of the logistics, so you don't have to. The content delivered by content creators can be used to create Web Stories or short-form content across social media channels. When used to create Web Stories, this content can then be accessed by engaged travelers through organic search, driving website traffic and improving your overall SEO performance. They can also be repurposed for use on social channels like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts.
The potential for reaching and inspiring travelers through Google Web Stories is vast. As Shirzadi said during her SEE 2022 talk, “travel is a category that lends well to ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ And so a video must be worth a million.”