How Data Can Get Your Travel App to Take Off
In the digital travel industry, with its constant price fluctuations and intense competition, the need to keep your eye on the performance ball at all times is vital for marketing success. Travel app marketers rely on accurate and real-time measurement to acquire high-quality users and engage users over an extended period of time considering the typically longer consumer journey.
To better understand how to optimize the performance of travel apps, our latest Talking Performance blog series features a Q&A with Ivan Kozlov, VP Mobile Products at Aviasales, the largest meta search engine for flights in Russia and CIS. Aviasales’ international version – JetRadar – enjoys a strong market position in the US, China and South West Asia. In total, the company has over 10 mobile apps and approximately 15 million installs to date.
Shani: Why do many marketers say ROI is not yet measurable on mobile and across devices? Is the data unavailable, or are marketers not using the right tools?
Ivan: Well, of course, it’s quite difficult to measure ROI without any losses. With so many touchpoints across the consumer journey, there are instances when we can’t see the whole picture. For example, when customers use both a mobile app and the mobile web site without log-in authentication. But in most cases, you can easily measure your ROI by measuring revenue and cost.
How do you measure user ROI and lifetime value?
We use both our ERP system and AppsFlyer to measure ROI. Basically, we log all actions on our side and then build multiple reports slicing and dicing the data to help us analyze traffic in different angles. We do not measure LTV at all because we’re a kind of lifestyle app, not a game. We see bookings a year and more after an install, which makes it very difficult to measure real LTV.
Facebook is a major component to most paid mobile user acquisition efforts. How do you measure the ROI of your Facebook campaigns?
Facebook is one of the media sources we run on in our user acquisition activities. We use the same tools – ERP and AppsFlyer – to measure the ROI of our Facebook campaigns.
What channels (e.g. email, SMS, push messaging) do you currently work with? What channels delivers the strongest performance?
In mobile we only use push notifications. Although we have multiple scenarios, we are very careful in our push strategy as there is a fine line between engaging with consumers in a way that they find useful and a way they find intrusive, which could lead to a quick opt-out. Of course, we measure each push message and constantly optimize this metric to find the right balance.
Do you allocate more budget to mobile retargeting?
Yes, we have been using retargeting for several months and we see a huge potential in this channel, especially in countries where we have a large install base. As it becomes harder and harder to attract new users in today’s highly competitive marketplace, we’ve started working closer with our current user base in an attempt to maximize its value. Retargeting helps us bring these users back to our application. If we do everything right I believe we’ll increase engagement and retention rates.
Which pricing model do you most commonly use for UA? Do you see a shift towards CPA?
In most cases, we use the CPI model although there are specific instances when we use CPC. We tried CPA but the biggest problem with this model when it comes to our line of business is that travelers don’t book flights on a daily basis. So our partners can invest $1 today but only get $1.5 in a year or even longer down the road. For most of them, that’s not a proposition that makes sense.
Can you describe 3-5 KPIs you focus on and why?
We need to measure traffic quality really fast in order to make the right decisions. And, yes, we can’t wait until a user books a flight because, again, it can take months. That’s why we constantly monitor three main metrics: search activation, purchase button click activation and booking activation. By comparing these metrics between different channels and organic traffic, we are able to rapidly make data-driven decisions on the quality of traffic.
What’s your dream KPI – even if it’s not yet available?
Truth be told it would be fantastic if we could return invested money much faster but I’m not sure that’s realistic in the short term.