Ryanair has lost almost 60% of its visibility online since September 2009, reveals independent research by Greenlight, the UK’s leading award winning search marketing agency. The report, ‘Flights Sector Report – Issue 4’, analysed key search terms used when UK consumers go online to find a flight. It determined the best positioned and hence most visible websites in this sector based on the volumes for each keyword. Ryanair held fourth position in the visibility stakes in Q3 2009. However Q4 saw a dramatic shift. EasyJet landed in at fourth position as Ryanair was relegated to 32. It was not the only casualty. CheapFlights also saw a 25% decrease in search visibility dropping from position two to eight.
Greenlight identified the 3,200 of the most commonly used search terms by UK web users. They cumulatively delivered 28.1 million searches for flight-related terms in December 2009.
The term ‘Flight’ accounted for 59% of all flight-related searches. Short-haul destinations, largely within Europe, accounted for almost 5.3 million searches in December with queries for flights to Palma and Rome cumulatively accounting for 16%. Long haul flight search volumes meanwhile fell 43% since September although when compared to domestic and short haul, they decreased the least. New York, Bangkok and Australia were the most popular destinations.
In natural search and with 89% share of voice in December 2009, SkyScanner ranked at position one on page one of Google for 445 of the 3,200 keywords analysed, including the most searched for term: ‘Flight’. TravelSupermarket followed with 72% visibility, an increase of 4% since September and replacing CheapFlights at position two in Greenlight’s league table. Expedia followed with 57%, a 35% increase on September. (Table 1 showing the top 5 of the 60 most visible flight websites in natural search shows below. If you are unable to view it please contact the press office)
Table 1: Top 5 of the 60 most visible flight websites in natural search, UK
In paid search for short haul flights, EasyJet attained 65% visibility. This was achieved through bidding on 29 of the 30 keywords analysed. BMI Baby followed with 51% then British Airways with 43% and Aer Lingus (43%).TravelSupermarket lost 44% share of voice in December which saw it feature at position five in Greenlight’s league table of the top 20 advertisers for short haul flights. (Table 2 showing the top 5 of the 20 most visible sites for short haul flight keyword searches in paid search, shows below. If you are unable to view it please contact the press office)
Table 2: Paid Search - Top 5 of the 20 most visible sites for short haul flight keyword searches, UK
Greenlight expects many travel advertisers to increase paid search spend to promote European flight deals to destinations such as Paris and Rome in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. Meanwhile, TUI predicts that in 2010 there will be a year-on-year rise in flights to mid-haul destinations, particularly Egypt and the Middle East. According to the TUI, tourist numbers to these destinations could experience growth of over 81% over the next three years.