Which Airline Made the Most of the Summer Season?

Lorna Rose Gill Posted by Lorna Rose Gill

With the summer being the busiest time of year for the travel industry, it’s imperative that airlines have effective online advertising strategies in place to stand out from the crowd and attract millions of holidaymakers.

Now that summer is over, we look at which PPC keywords performed best during the season and have a closer look at the airline whose online ad strategies were most successful.

Optimising advertising campaigns ahead of peak summer travel search activity is crucial for airlines that want to capitalise on increased online interest and spend.

James Murray, the Search Advertising Lead for Microsoft UK, says that a strong online advertising campaign during the summer can make or break a year for airlines and travel companies.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Summer Keywords

The key to a successful Pay Per Click campaign starts with choosing the right keywords. For travel operators and airlines during the summertime, this means picking words that appeal to your customer base, primarily families looking for a good deal for a quick summer getaway.

Adthena data shows that for the beginning of August, the most popular keywords were ‘cheap holidays’, with 352,236 people searching for the terms, earning 3,417 clicks per day at an average cost per click (CPC) of £2.55.

350,855 people searched for ‘cheap flights’ in Google, which achieved 3,370 clicks per day in the last month or so at an average CPC of £2.01.

Also popular was ‘last minute holidays’ at 2,567 clicks per day, followed by ‘late holiday deals’.

The Top Airline

According to analysis by Adthena, the airline that made the most of their online search strategy during the peak summer season was EasyJet.

Adthena investigated which airlines were the most successful for the ‘summer holiday’ keywords in share of voice (SOV) – in other words, who had the biggest presence in comparison to their competitors.

Analysis of the top four airlines shows that EasyJet outperformed its main competitors – British Airways, Monarch and Jet2 from March 2014 in terms of traffic (see graph below), with its peak at the end of May and beginning of June – exactly when you’d expect a peak in people searching for summer holidays.


Looking at share of voice (SOV), which measures the proportion of clicks for each of the companies targeting the keyword, Monarch had 80% in February, yet then underwent a steep dive, when Easyjet picked up the slack with 67% share in April and remained at the top throughout the early summer period.


British Airways rarely peaked above 20% until the summer months kicked in and by August 1, the national airline had almost reached the same SOV as Easyjet.


PPC Traffic

When including brand terms ‘EasyJet’, unsurprisingly, brought in the most Pay Per Click traffic in August compared to other airlines. It received traffic of more than 276,000 in sponsored search results in Google, earning it 9,545 clicks per day at an average cost per click of 12p.

In comparison, Monarch achieved 167,114 of sponsored traffic and Bmibaby 162,510.

EasyJet also achieved the most traffic for its paid for and organic searches combined at 975,096, according to Adthena data. This is higher than the total traffic for the search terms ‘cheap holidays’ and ‘cheap flights’.


What Can Airlines Take Away From This?

Adthena’s data shows how airlines that are tuned into their customers and don’t necessarily spend a lot, can achieve the most through their online advertising campaigns, as demonstrated by EasyJet’s summer campaign.

Using keywords during the summer such as ‘cheap holidays’ and ‘cheap flights’ will prove successful time and time again as holidaymakers are always looking for a bargain.

(Main image credit: {pranav}/Flickr)

About the author

Lorna Rose Gill
Lorna Rose Gill
Lorna is responsible for acquisition marketing at Adthena, communicating their award-winning product and generating demand. She has developed her career in fast-paced, start-up environments, including two tech track 100 companies. She is curious and passionate and likes to find stories in data and technology.