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With nearly 12 million subscribers, 38-year-old Casey Neistat is one of the most popular YouTubers of all time. His estimated net worth is $16 million, and his content generates millions of views per video.
How does he do it? Neistat attracts attention by being unconventional, and his topics cover virtually anything under the sun: That includes finding an apartment in New York to driving a Tesla car.
Successful journalists and vloggers write detailed headlines that describe their content. In contrast, Neistat often writes obscure titles that invite audiences to click and watch eclectic but entertaining YouTube videos.
In a marketing move designed to appeal to younger travelers, Etihad Airways (based in the United Arab Emirates) gave the American vlogger a free ride on its most luxurious flying option. Etihad has four tiers on flights: economy, business, first-class, and The Residence.
The Residence: a Three-Room Suite at 40,000 ft.
The Residence is found on the top deck of an Airbus A380, which is the world’s largest passenger plane. It’s a private three-room apartment situated in front of the first-class cabin. It can host up to two passengers.
The Residence features a comfortable bedroom, two large first-class seats that also function as living room, and bathroom with a 10-minute shower at 40,000 ft. Passengers eat decadent multi-course meals, and flight attendants are trained and dressed like personal butlers at this section of the airplane.
It’s one of the most expensive plane rides in the world: Flying from Abu Dhabi to New York carries the price of a brand new car (nearly $25,000). And that’s a one-way ticket.
YouTube Views and Social Engagement
Casey Neistat uploaded his video on Dec. 16, 2019, and in three weeks, it generated 13.3 million views and more than 17,000 comments. There’s an organically instructional dynamic when it comes to vloggers publishing travel content, and it greatly benefits sponsors like airlines, hotels and tour guides.
Travel videos are inherently educational because YouTube vloggers– who are motivated to gain millions of views – must show and demonstrate airplane features, hot destinations, fun transportation, and local food and culture. Therefore, Neistat (who was ecstatic at getting a free ride on The Residence) showcased Etihad’s most luxurious offering to entertained viewers.
All parties win– sponsor, vlogger, and audience. It’s a big reason why travel businesses love to use social marketing campaigns on media platforms like YouTube and Facebook.
Cost per Impression
Assuming Etihad Airways did not provide other compensation, the airline paid less than $0.0019 per YouTube impression at a total cost of $25,000 for a one-way ticket. If the video ultimately receives 20 million in lifetime views, the cost per impression reduces to $0.00125.
The cost drops even lower if Etihad gave away an empty seat because the airline would not have foregone a paying passenger, and would only have to account for the actual cost of providing services on The Residence (i.e., food, toiletries, fuel cost, shower water, etc.).
YouTube vlogs are one of the most effective ways for travel companies to promote their business.