Paid Search and Display Advertising in the Travel Category: American Airlines’ Spend Takes Off
By Kantar Media
As the summer vacation season has come to a close, it’s the perfect time to take a deep dive on digital ad spend in the travel category. Following up on our June insights brief, Paid Search Strategies in the Travel Category, Kantar Media took a broader look at the category over a six-month period and performed an in-depth analysis of the leading travel segments and advertisers. Despite a struggling economy, total ad spend is up by 10%
from last year in the travel category. A media breakdown reveals that paid search and display advertisements dominate the category as advertisers direct ad budgets away from traditional media and into the Internet, focusing primarily on paid search investments.
An analysis of the top ten digital advertisers in the travel category during the first two quarters of 2011
shows a total investment level of $275.5 million
and an increase by almost one-third
compared to a year ago. While six out of ten of these top advertisers are online travel services, an airline advertiser stands out as having the highest increased spending as compared to last year – American Airlines
, with a 539% increase in digital ad spend
compared to that of 2010. American Airlines’ spend increase is directly related to the removal of its flights from Orbitz in December 2010 and Expedia’s subsequent removal of American Airlines flight listings from its website back in January 2011, after both companies failed to reach an agreement at the expiration of their 2010 contract.
To compensate for its disappearance on both Orbitz and Expedia websites, American significantly increased its spend in digital advertising. By increasing display ad spend by 605%
and paid search by 492%
from the previous year, the airline company fought to boost site traffic despite its absence on two leading travel reservation sites. American had its biggest jump in ad spend in February — right after it started feeling the effects of the Expedia disagreement. On page five of this analysis, we take a closer look at AA’s top search keywords, display investments, and creative strategy to understand why and how the advertiser radically increased its digital spending. But first, we examine the travel category as a whole. To continue reading, download Paid Search and Display Advertising (513 Kb)