For British Airways, affiliate optimization had plenty of room for improvement.
The challenge in a nutshell
British Airways is one of the leading and most recognised global airline brands. Their online marketing strategy and execution is pivotal to their growth, and their affiliate and meta search partners represent an important part of their online acquisition spend.
Working with five affiliate networks across four regions and 20+ countries, BA had developed an affiliate programme which sustained strong yearly growth.
However the program had become complex and fragmented with no way to manage and understand performance across each region or network. BA was also unable to manipulate the wide level of granular data they were capturing through the affiliate channel, and incorporate this into their overall channel strategy.
The challenge in detail
The challenge for BA was in aggregating five affiliate networks in over 20 countries.
Aggregating and analysing the data across a global infrastructure of five different affiliate networks to develop and execute best practice was nearly impossible.
Each different network provided BA with different reporting capabilities and the limited amount of performance data that affiliate networks could expose back to BA meant optimization and differentiation in the market was not possible. This also hindered long-term growth prospects for the program.
As BA looked to all acquisition channels to support commercial needs, the ability to harness the affiliate channel to support specific routes, as well as other initiatives, became an integral part of their strategy.
BA's main challenges were:
- How to view both spot performance and global performance – and identify global and local trends in real time
- How to gain data and insights from each transaction and develop tailored commission strategies for partners to differentiate their program, protecting margin and incentivizing traffic.
- How to view meta partner performance alongside their affiliate base and share performance data and insight back to their partner base.
Working with BA and their media agency, Ogilvy, Performance Horizon developed a five-stage approach to future proof BA's global affiliate and meta search partner activity:
- A global affiliate network tag to track and report on BA's global network base by partner in one single view, with the ability to compare network performance and partner contribution easily
- The ability for BA and its partners to view or consume meta data via the Performance Horizon API.
- A private BA network to work directly with top performing affiliates globally.
- A single reporting dashboard that groups, tracks and reports on meta search partners.
- A global payment infrastructure to pay partners in any currency and country worldwide.
"Working with Performance Horizon has given us the flexibility to effectively monitor our global performance and the opportunity to expand the level at which we can market our products. The platform is now becoming an important lever in ensuring the affiliate channel can be used to support overall business and commercial requirements for British Airways."
Partnering with Performance Horizon has given BA and Ogilvy the flexibility to execute a strategy that has focused and delivered efficiencies and growth targets globally:
- Providing a commission structure by route allows BA to support business commercial needs by introducing route-level marketing where support is required. This has resulted in a 71% increase in bookings on the chosen routes
- Transforming reporting and insight, and moving from network reporting of on average, four parameters, enables BA to view 20 variables and use them to define strategy
- The ability to view global performance, spot, identify and react to real-time trends gives BA the insights to optimize performance
- Real-time understanding of specific campaign performance via meta search partners