European Airports and Social Media

A recent social media report by ACI Europe shows the ways in which European airports are using social media to communicate with their customers. We’ve broken the report down to analyse each social media platform, and add some of our own insights.

We’ve combined the remaining social media platforms to analyse the report by ACI Europe to see which social media platforms aside from Facebook and Twitter are most popular with European airports.

Launched in June 2011, Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook. It is intrinsically linked to Gmail, YouTube and other Google services, and currently has 540 million active users.

According to the report by ACI Europe, some airports are using Google+ to promote their video pages or audio-visual material, although the amount of airports using the service is limited. The social media platform is most popular in Germany, and 77 European Airports welcoming 22% of passenger traffic are active on Google+

(Results are based on performance of networks between 23 September 2014 and 22 November 2014 - 2 months)

The first chart highlights the number of followers the Top 5 airports on Google+ have, while the second chart indicates the number of engagements the Top 5 airports received during the period in which ACI Europe conducted their research. Both charts highlight the number of smaller airports reigning in terms of both followers and engagement on Google +.

Also owned entirely by Google, YouTube is the biggest online video streaming website in the world, with over 100 hours of video content uploaded every minute. The social networking service demands high-quality audio-visual content and therefore requires greater resources - arguably therefor favouring the larger European airports.

According to ACI Europe, there are 141 European airports on YouTube, which welcome 55.4 percent of European passenger traffic. Based on figures from November 2014, there were 13,890,290 uploaded views on the European airport videos at that time.

Schiphol and Frankfurt both have dedicated TV channels that they use for internal communications within and around the airport - providing content for dissemination on YouTube. Amsterdam Schiphol clearly has a great presence on YouTube, with the most subscribers and 1,086 videos. The airport uploads most videos in both English and Dutch - adding to its appeal.

According to the report by ACI Europe, airports are using YouTube to promote their videos on all kinds of different subjects including corporate videos, flash mobs and animations about security.

Amsterdam Schiphol also tops the chart in terms of YouTube video views, more than doubling the number of views received on London Heathrow's YouTube channel.

Instagram is the most popular dedicated photo (and short video) sharing social network in the world. Although it remains a separate brand, its content can be shared across most social network platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.

Instagram is very much a smartphone-operated platform, which could make it slightly more difficult for airports to utilise. Used in the right way however, Instagram could be the perfect platform for airports to increase their social activity and brand online.

According the the report by ACI Europe, 38 European airports representing 35.2 percent of passenger traffic are active on Instagram. The social platform is most popular in Northern and Western European countries such as Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, UK and Ireland.

The chart opposite shows the number of followers on Instagram each airport has. However, the report by ACI Europe shows that it is actually Avinor Oslo Gardermoen who has the greatest number of engagements on Instagram, closely followed by Pulkovo Airport, St Petersburg - who does not even register in the Top 5 for Instagram followers. This shows that despite the smaller number of followers, Pulkovo Airport's Instagram followers engagement levels are far greater than the majority of airports in Europe.

The ACI Europe report highlighted that most European airports are using Instagram as a branding tool - attracting people to the airport brand and the values it represents more visually. Gatwick Airport used Instagram effectively for its 'Gatwick Selfie' campaign in mid-2014 (see below). 


Finally (and briefly) LinkedIn is home to 18 European Airports, welcoming 13.1 percent of European passenger traffic active on LinkedIn. Collectively, they have 121,838 followers, according to the ACI Europe report. An airport operators presence on LinkedIn is a simple way of reflecting how digitally aware they are, although it isn't as useful for much else, compared to other platforms, in terms of customer engagement.

DAA ranked top in terms of LinkedIn connections, with 4,440, followed by Manchester Airports Group and Brussels Airport Company (3,643 and 3,300 respecitvely).

With over 330 million users, LinkedIn is where the smart brands go to try and build their own presence and enhance their visibility online.