[NEW] Digital Academy - the only digital training designed especially for airline professionals. Get more info here.

Select Sidearea

Populate the sidearea with useful widgets. It’s simple to add images, categories, latest post, social media icon links, tag clouds, and more.


Changes in Airline Marketing [Part II]: Navigating the Shift in Digital Analytics and Measuring Marketing Effectiveness

Iztok Franko

airline marketing effectiveness

How can you measure your airline marketing effectiveness in the future?

This question guides our exploration in the second part of the “Changes in Airline Marketing” mini-series. In the first episode, we talked to Juan Mendoza, editor of Martech Weekly, to understand the evolving role of marketing in the airline industry, particularly the increasing significance of marketing technology (MarTech). This shift from IT departments to marketing teams not only underscores the importance of managing data and analytics within the marketing domain, but also highlights the need for evolving skills in digital analytics to adapt to these changes.

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half. – John Wanamaker

This famous quote from John Wanamaker epitomizes the enduring challenge faced by marketing analytics. For years, digital marketers have attempted to solve this puzzle using platforms like Google Analytics. However, in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, relying solely on these traditional tools is no longer sufficient to fully understand the effectiveness of your advertising spend.

NOTE: This article provides an in-depth exploration of the Shift in Digital Analytics and the Evolving Approaches to Measuring Marketing Effectiveness. If you’re looking for direct, actionable insights and wish to delve immediately into concrete cases and practical examples, please:

Click here to jump ahead to PART 2 with concrete EXAMPLES and SCREENSHOTS

As an airline digital professional, you’re likely facing similar dilemmas. How much of your marketing budget is truly driving results? This is a crucial question we tackle here, especially given the recent changes in digital marketing.

And today you’re all faced with a set of new hurdles that affect how effectively you can measure your marketing efforts. With the impending deprecation of third-party cookies, the growing use of ad blockers, and the ongoing evolution of privacy regulations, the traditional ways of doing digital analytics and tracking marketing success are being challenged.

This directly ties back to the critical question posed by John Wanamaker: how can you determine which parts of your marketing spend are truly effective? Furthermore, the increasing influence of artificial intelligence (AI) is set to transform your approach to marketing analytics, promising new ways to decipher the effectiveness of your marketing strategies in the future.

Measuring Airline Marketing Effectiveness – Talk with digital marketing experts Iztok Franko and Juan Mendoza

Listen to the new episode of the Diggintravel Podcast to learn about the recent changes that will impact how you do digital analytics and how you measure your airline marketing effectiveness, or read on for key highlights from our talk:

And don’t forget to subscribe to the Diggintravel Podcast in your preferred podcast app to stay on top of the latest airline digital analytics, marketing, data science and AI trends!

Why Do You Need to Change Your Approach to Digital Analytics and Measuring Marketing Effectiveness?

Juan’s recent thought-provoking article, “Is there a future for web analytics?”, sparked our curiosity, leading Iztok to ask him about the significant shifts occurring in the digital analytics arena:

It’s a great question. It is good to think about which things may be obsolete in the future, as our industry continues to change. The martech of 2018 is very different from the martech of 2023 just in terms of the landscape, what’s available and what is in entropy, on decline.

Curious about how Juan viewed these changes, I probed further into how the landscape has evolved in his opinion:

We’re in 2023, getting towards the end of the year here. 2024 is when Google starts deprecating cookies. When third-party cookies are being deprecated, I actually think it’s not going to stop there. I think what Google is doing is responding to a few different shifts. They’re responding to the consumer apprehension around at collection and data sharing. They’re obviously hedging against regulatory fines. Google is one of the biggest offenders in the European Union for GDPR fines, so obviously they need to respond to that, so that’s why third-party cookies are going away.

Juan then reflected on the freedom that digital marketers have historically enjoyed in data collection, stating:

The other thing is, we’ve been able to basically drop a tag on a website, set up Google Tag Manager, and just collect whatever the hell we want. That’s been open. You literally could do whatever you want, and there’s been a lot of people that have abused that freedom. But there’s also been a lot of amazing good and value that’s come out of it.

This statement highlights the dual nature of digital marketing – the potential for both misuse and significant benefit through the use of tools like Google Tag Manager. Juan further questioned the sustainability of current web analytics practices in the face of tightening regulations:

I guess what I’m trying to get at here is, does web analytics have a future? I actually think that regulation that we’re seeing today is really just the start. I think increasingly, we’re going to be seeing less data – even though first-party data is still legal in most places, we’re going to see less access to that. Look at cookie pop-ups, for example, with GDPR. If you have a cookie pop-up and someone declines it, it has to cut off Google Analytics tracking. It has to because that’s the GDPR rules.

His insight points to a looming challenge for all of us in digital marketing – the diminishing access to data as privacy regulations like GDPR become more stringent, calling into question the future reliability and scope of web analytics.

Reliability of Your Digital Analytics Data

As Juan highlighted the concerns about the future reliability of traditional web tracking, he brought up an intriguing shift in the industry’s approach to analytics:

The other thing I want to touch on briefly is that web tracking is becoming less reliable. I read a wonderful interview with the Head of Analytics at Canva, international company that does online design tools, and they are moving completely away from last click attribution and any sort of web-based attribution methodology to things called MMM (market mix modeling). It’s more collecting signals from all kinds of places to provide a forecast of where they should go with their analytics.

But they’re also looking at, how do we do geo experimentation so we can turn things on and off in different regions and see where the money’s coming from and their advertising spend? They’re moving away from a web analytics future.

I think that if you see the industry in a holistic picture, to me, it’s pretty easy to see that I don’t think there’s much time left in the way we’ve been doing web analytics. I think the paradigms are changing, the incentives are changing, and ultimately the trust that we have in this data in the first place is decaying as well.

In light of Juan’s insights, it’s clear that the challenges he discusses are not just theoretical but have practical implications for airlines.

At Diggintravel, we’ve seen similar trends where the conventional methods of web analytics are increasingly falling short. The reliance on tools like Google Analytics, while once groundbreaking, now presents limitations in the face of evolving digital landscapes. This is especially pertinent in the airline industry, where marketing strategies are crucial for customer acquisition and retention.

Our experience at Diggintravel echoes Juan’s observations about the need for a shift in approach. We’ve noticed that airlines are grappling with the same challenges of diminishing data reliability due to stricter privacy regulations and technological changes, like the deprecation of cookies. These developments have prompted us to reevaluate traditional methods and consider more innovative approaches to understand marketing effectiveness in a deeper, more holistic way.

Part 2

Back to Basics: Alternative Approach to Measuring Your Airline Marketing Effectiveness

In essence, our experiences at Diggintravel mirror the industry-wide shift that Juan describes. To get a holistic picture of your marketing, you need to go beyond the data in your digital analytics platforms like Google Analytics, and beyond click-based attribution models. Here’s what Diggintravel founder and airline marketing consultant Iztok Franko highlighted in the podcast chat:

I think in a way, Google Analytics and other platforms spoiled us as marketers 10-15 years ago when they appeared because the tracking was so simple to set up. You just needed the tag manager. You needed a simple code and you’d get a lot of out of the box reports. But the more I worked with airline digital marketing teams, the more sure I was that most measurements and metrics were not completely right, or at least not providing the holistic picture, which I think is the most important thing if you really want to answer the John Wanamaker question: which part of your advertising money is spent well and which is not? Or how well are the marketing investments performing?

Let’s delve into a more detailed explanation of how statistical analysis is utilized in marketing, specifically in the context of airline marketing as observed at Diggintravel:

  1. Identifying Trends and Patterns: The first step in the analytical process often involves identifying trends and patterns within the data. This includes merging different sources of data from your digital analytics and advertising platforms, adding your internal booking and other sources. The goal is to identify trends in historical ecommerce booking data, website traffic, campaign traffic and attributed sales, customer behavior, and market dynamics. For airlines, this might mean examining flight booking patterns, seasonal variations, campaign trends and customer preferences. By applying statistical methods to this data, airlines can gain insights into customer behavior and market dynamics.

    Airline Marketing Effectiveness - Trend analysis

    Source: Diggintravel Airline Marketing Effectiveness – Trend analysis

  2. Correlation and Causation Analysis: The next step involves distinguishing between correlation and causation. Correlation analysis helps identify relationships between different variables, such as the link between marketing spend and ecommerce ticket sales. However, it’s crucial to remember that correlation does not imply causation. Therefore, further analysis is needed to establish whether a change in one variable (like an increase in marketing efforts) is actually causing a change in another (like an uptick in bookings).

    Source: Diggintravel Airline Marketing Effectiveness – Correlation analysis

  3. GeoLift Analysis: This involves comparing the performance of marketing campaigns in different geographical areas. By executing agile marketing experiments, like turning certain marketing activities on/off in different regions, airlines can see where the money is coming from and determine the effectiveness of their advertising spend in those areas.

    Airline Marketing Effectiveness - GeoLift test

    Source: Diggintravel Airline Marketing Effectiveness – GeoLift test

  4. Causal Inference Analysis: This statistical approach goes beyond correlation to determine whether a relationship between two variables implies causation. For example, it helps determine if a specific marketing campaign directly caused an increase in ticket sales.

    Airline Marketing Effectiveness - Casual Impact

    Source: Diggintravel Airline Marketing Effectiveness – Casual Impact

  5. Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM): MMM is a sophisticated technique that quantifies the impact of several marketing inputs on sales or market share. By analyzing various marketing elements (like digital ads, social media, and traditional media), MMM provides a comprehensive view of marketing effectiveness. In the context of airlines, this could mean understanding how different marketing channels contribute to overall bookings and customer engagement.
  6. Continuous Monitoring and Adaptation: The final step involves continuously monitoring these analyses and adapting strategies based on the insights gained. For airlines, this means regularly updating their marketing strategies to align with the evolving market and customer preferences.

In summary, at Diggintravel, the process of applying statistical analysis to marketing involves a step-by-step approach, starting from identifying trends and patterns, then analyzing correlation and causation, and moving towards more complex analyses like GeoLifts, causal inference, and MMM. This comprehensive approach enables airlines to make data-driven decisions, optimize their marketing strategies, and ultimately improve their return on marketing investment.

Do You Want to Listen to More Talks With Airline Digital Leaders?

If you want to learn from leaders like Juan about how to do airline marketing effectiveness analysis or want to be the first to know when our next Airline Digital Talk will be published, please:

Iztok Franko

I am passionate about digital marketing and ecommerce, with more than 10 years of experience as a CMO and CIO in travel and multinational companies. I work as a strategic digital marketing and ecommerce consultant for global online travel brands. Constant learning is my main motivation, and this is why I launched Diggintravel.com, a content platform for travel digital marketers to obtain and share knowledge. If you want to learn or work with me check our Academy (learning with me) and Services (working with me) pages in the main menu of our website.

No Comments

Post a Comment