When the national company Brussels Airlines launched “low fare” tickets in order to correspond better to the markets offer, they opted for a tailored communication strategy that was deployed over the different digital performance marketing channels. Result: loads of conversions that led to increasing sales. Analysis!
Inside Digimedia : What was the aim of the ‘We Go The Extra Smile’ campaign?
Nathalie Erdmanis, Brussels Airlines VP Marketing since July 2014:
The ‘We go the Extra Smile’ had 2 objectives:
- The first objective was to communicate our new positioning ‘no compromise’, knowing that with Brussels Airlines, passengers can enjoy both maximum comfort and attractive prices; this, thanks to our new diverse and complete product offer that corresponds to our passengers expectations (launch and relooking of 4 products: Check&Go, Light&Relax, Flex&Fast, and Bizz&Class)
- The second was the launch of our new product “Check&Go”, from 69€ return and VAT incl. to travel in Europe. It’s a very competitive special fare for those who want to travel light (with a carry-on bag).
The main goal of this campaign was to increase the number of ticket sales.
What communication strategy was used to promote the new products and enforce the new image of Brussels Airlines?
The digital communication strategy has been translated into action with the expertise of the agency blue2purple.
All digital channels oriented towards performance marketing have been called upon to achieve the settled objectives; fully measurable actions from an ROI point of view.
Visibility without a transformation strategy was avoided in order to focus on a ROI driven perspective, where all actions were analysed and calculated continuously.
What were the digital channels used to sustain sales?
“Check&Go” was launched in the third quarter of 2014 (in August) where 50.000 tickets were made available.
The online campaign was reinforced by some traditional offline channels (radio, advertisement, and outdoor billboard)
Regarding more particularly to the online communication, it included e-mailing, SEA, Facebook, GSP (Gmail Sponsored Promotion) and bannering. All the results were gathered in a platform for more in depth analysis. These different channels were used in combination with a nonlinear attribution model
What do you mean by “Attribution model”? What participation did it have in the performances of the “We go the Extra Smile” campaign?
The attribution model consists of considering a media mix as a football team, in which everyone collectively participates in the conversion. In other words, it’s not the last media that records the sale that is the only one responsible for that sale; it results in the contribution of all the channels
Thereby, instead of only measuring the last conversion realized for example via Adwords or Facebook, it’s essential to analyse every medias’ performance to better understand the users’ path in order to maximize the advertisers’ media investment.
Attribution modelling thus implies building a team by selecting the most relevant channels for a promotional action according to the expected objective, and not to drive a media strategy relying on the formats that drive the best score, explains Emilie Huybrechs, Account Manager at blue2purple.
What lessons have you learned from the exploitation of all these digital channels with a performance based strategy? Among all data , what are the best converting channels?
Sources that displayed the best sales performances (the last click) are the SEA (AdWords, GDN, GSP), the SEO (Organic Google) and the direct traffic. The conversion rate increased with 134%. This was the effect of decisive people in search of a plane ticket and who finally decided to purchase. Nevertheless, the offline and online channels visibility support have contributed a lot to the final conversion results. Because without them, the action wouldn’t profit such echo and ticket sales wouldn’t be that good.
Have you had resort to buying banners in RTB?
We used Bannering on the country’s main information sites. We also used RTB in the Google Display Network inventory. Considering the punctual fact of the action, a global “programmatic buying” campaign hasn’t been deployed. If the latter would have allowed us to broaden the targeted inventory, it would have needed a setting, optimization, and monitoring delay, which was not applicable in this field of action.
You have also integrated the new Gmail format Sponsored Promotions in the Media mix. Why and what were the results?
We used the new Google display advertising format and exclusively diffused it into Gmail inboxes for notoriety purposes. Without being an e-mailing, the format possesses close resemblances. This technique, a result from the fusion between banner and e-mailing, allows us to address campaigns of direct mailing to databases that we do not yet have. It’s like if we bought an e-mailing database of people sensitive to a specific thematic. In our case, the GSP is much more powerful than the conventional Bannering because it is similar to the emailing. The GSP generates performances that are twice as high than the classic display, while acting as a conversion and commitment format as well, explains Annick Vandersmissen founder of blue2purple.
Facebook is often considered as a visibility media. Did the social platform contribute to the increase of conversions and thus helped to generate sales?
The facebook platform helped us to recruit numerous new customers. This previously relatively untapped channel has allowed us to specifically target high potential passengers. Thanks to this targeting, we were able to generate 300 % additional conversions in comparison to a normal month (out of a specific campaign). The impact on sales was more than real. We have noticed an increase in the number of sessions (+508%) on the social platform.
When we analyse the facebook “funnel” attribution, we note that this has indirectly generated 14, 57 times more conversions than during the four first weeks of the action.
What was the greatest particularity of the campaign?
The lesson we have learned is to have a better understanding of the interaction effects between different digital medias. If we had only used Search with a small “layer” of Facebook, we certainly wouldn’t have had the same results. All digital channels helped us to increase conversions achieved by the top scorer of the team, namely the Search.
The collaboration between the agency blue2purple and Brussels Airlines lies at the base of such spectacular results …
Our collaboration with blue2purple started on May 2013. It relies on a fully bilingual team and is fully dedicated to e-commerce campaigns. Our agency has fully translated our marketing budget into a sales support. This was a strategic contribution that brought a breath of fresh air in the way of doing digital marketing.
What is your appraisal of the action and of future projects?
The evaluation of the campaign is excellent! Compared to last year, the number of tickets sold has increased during the action as well as the number of site visitors.
We have also noticed that the brand notoriety grew with 24% during a whole quarter (based on the Q3 2013 Vs Q3 2014 search volume on Google).
We are convinced by the performances gained thanks to the media mix deployed for this campaign. We were not conscious of the leverage effect of simultaneously used media.
With this in mind, we have put in place a new campaign for the launch of a specific product for the festive season: the bgift (99 euro for a return ticket in Europe with one luggage): the perfect end-of-year gift for your loved ones.
This is just a beginning and optimization remains a permanent objective in order to increase our brand awareness, our conversions and thus our sales.