Search on: How Google AI propelled Virgin Australia’s revenue and market share to new heights
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Search on: How Google AI propelled Virgin Australia’s revenue and market share to new heightsMay 2023
In a post-pandemic world with travel demand on the rebound, Virgin Australia was determined to show up for travelers and all their search queries. To connect with eager globetrotters, Virgin Australia tapped into search insights and campaigns powered by Google AI to maximize its presence online and show up where and when it mattered most.
We spoke to Virgin Australia’s Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Minogue and Head of Paid Media Ben Will to learn how the airline tweaked its Google Ads strategy to pave the way to sustained profitable growth. Watch as they share how their travel marketing efforts took off when they experimented with AI-powered Search campaigns that increased their bookings and market share.
Elizabeth Minogue: Hey, Ben, want to hear some airline jokes while we’re setting up?
Ben Will: Yeah, ok.
Minogue: Well, they might go right over your head though.
Will: That’s a good one.
Minogue: Unprecedented. That was the buzzword, wasn't it? When restrictions were lifted, we saw a spike in search demand with travelers beginning to dream, plan, and book their next getaway.
Will: But we soon realized that people now evaluated travel plans differently, making their decision-making feel unpredictable and complex to airlines. So we had to find an unprecedented way to show up and translate intent into bookings when consumers search for us.
Minogue: How? Glad you asked.
Will: We moved away from having a fixed budget to letting demand lead it.
Minogue: We leaned into Google's AI-powered Search solutions to optimize our keywords, ads, and bidding strategy in real-time.
Will: Broad Match keywords allowed us to capture all related queries. Value-based Bidding helped us focus on connecting with higher value customers, while Responsive Search ads automatically created ads that were personalized and relevant to different travelers.
Minogue: Instead of trying to fight the uncertainty, we focused on setting the right KPIs and allowing Google AI to simplify the complex purchase journey and ensure consumers could confidently make decisions.
Will: Within that year, bookings went up 88% with a revenue growth of 150%, completely surpassing our initial goals.
Minogue: As travelers continue quenching their thirst for travel, we've ramped up our search investment to keep showing up where they are, ensuring a smooth, personalized search experience, just like when they fly with us.
Will: Hey Libby, our experimental mindset really took off eh? With flying colours, no?
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