About Virgin Atlantic and PHD UK
Virgin Atlantic is one of UK’s leading airlines serving the world’s most exciting business and leisure destinations. PHD Media, a communications planning and buying agency within the Omnicom Media Group, manages the Virgin Atlantic media planning and buying account, including the Paid Search activity.
Not All Roads Lead to Rome
Virgin Atlantic continually faces fierce competition from direct competitors – airline companies and third party resellers who sell the same flight routes. As a result, it has to constantly monitor the market and be very reactive to any promotions that other industry players are offering – and must contend with tight turnaround times to ensure the messaging and approach is as competitive as possible.
Although PHD Media works to an ROI target, they see very different behaviours across each of Virgin Atlantic’s destinations, which means they need a tailored approach for every location. In addition, as Virgin Atlantic flights take off from three separate UK airports, they have to consider the seasonality of the airline flight destinations themselves (for example, peak travel time to New York vs. Nigeria), alongside the differing nature of their consumers’ booking habits within each part of the UK.
Each month, PHD works towards an ROI goal as its core KPI for Virgin Atlantic. PHD also considers revenue and conversions within its monthly targets. Overall success is measured by achieving better results across all targets not only on a monthly but also a longer-term year over year basis.
The nature of Virgin Atlantic’s account meant that the agency needed a new way of approaching their optimisation, as it had to take into consideration multiple KPI variables and revenue targets.
Based on the successful use of Marin across different accounts, PHD was confident it could achieve success thanks to Marin’s bidding automation, cross-account management, ease of optimisation, and reporting capabilities.
Virgin Atlantic account is using simultaneously different features in Marin like Dynamic Action based on the destination trends to optimise the bidding strategy, revenue and conversion data integration, automated and customised reporting and alerts, URL builder (each time new ad copy and keywords are added the URL is automatically generated to include all of the client’s and third party tracking requirements) and the Marin DC ID Action by Dimension- to update price and creative on the ads for a specific dimension (for example during promotions when there is a need to make multiple destination fare changes this can be done in one step using one DC ID upload sheet).
All of these elements enable us to manage the campaigns efficiently to save time, reduce manual tasks and potential human error as well as to optimise the account towards specific KPI and goals leveraging its historical data and building strategies that are really addressing their business needs.
“We saw some astounding differences when comparing results – the “test” group’s conversion rates were 79% higher, the CPA was 38% lower, the total revenue 30% higher, and the revenue per click 100% higher than the “control” group. These results had an overall statistical significance of 93%.
We now use the “Dynamic Action” in our bidding strategy across all campaigns to modify bid based on destination.”
– Laura Stephen / Senior Manager Consumer Communications, Virgin Atlantic
Dynamic Action by Destination
Marin informed PHD that they could use Dimensions to monitor conversion performance. And, they could also use the data to calculate bid modifiers to increase bids on top performing destinations. These modifiers would work as an additional optimisation layer on top of the bids calculated by bidding folders.
The automated bidding feature enabled PHD to test optimising bids broken down by Virgin Atlantic flight route destinations using “Dynamic Action”, removing the need to manually monitor each destination’s performance on a week by week basis.
The account was split into two according to those destinations that had similar campaign behaviour, half controlled and half for the test.
Then, PHD used Marin’s Dynamic Action to test the destination boosts.
With regular account management and help from Marin’s bidding algorithm the agency was able to maintain brand position while steadily increasing booked revenue.
The generic bidding folder contained all generic activity. To help with reporting, they labeled each group with a destination “dimension” and depending on their conversion rates, positive boosts was applied to high performing destinations and negative boost applied to the low converting.
Spend would then be relocated to the better performing destinations within the generic bidding folder.
Bid adjustments were then applied to the “test” half to see the impact of dynamic actions on revenue figures. Alongside this, by applying positional bidding rules PHD was able to outbid Virgin Atlantic’s competitors and resellers, allowing them to maintain their ranking on top spots for related keywords terms.
“The destination bidding capability has saved us time every week, removing the need to look at the account at a granular level to see how each destination is performing. Thanks to using Marin bidding technologies across our test campaigns, our efficiencies have improved greatly and our revenue has increased.”
– Christina Smaragdi / PPC Account Director, PHD
Virgin Atlantic Search Campaigns Fly High with Marin Software
Although spend levels remained reasonably consistent, they were invested more efficiently with a higher ROI across media. This may provide an opportunity to increase the client’s media spend, since using Marin Software allowed the agency to optimise their campaign and achieve a higher level of revenue growth. Marin Software also streamlined Virgin Atlantic’s daily workload, improved the overall efficiencies within the account, and offered the opportunity to grow the account whilst ensuring that the agency improve upon established ROI targets.
Specific results include:
- + 79% in CVR uplift
- – 38% decrease in CPA
- + 30% increase in revenue
- + 100% increase of revenue per click