Case Study - KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

KLM realised a YoY revenue uplift of 19% while also increasing ROI due to a +29% QS increase in search.

Challenge

iProspect and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines are digital partners since 2011. Since then, the activities have grown to 73 markets in 25 different languages. The partnership between iProspect and KLM became more intense when Google introduced a drastic change with ETAs (Expanded Text Ads) replacing the STAs (Standard Text Ads). This was a challenge for all advertisers but especially for KLM due to the global scale they operate in.  The announcement of ETA’s and what it meant for KLM:

  1. With the introduction of ETAs the older format of STAs were replaced, increasing the ad character limits from 95 characters to 140 characters. Advertisers suddenly got almost 50% more advertising space, but also needed to rewrite all ads, because the standard text ads would not fit in the  new ETA format.
  2. KLM needed 12 million new ads in 25 languages for 73 markets in the new ETA format.
  3. Creating new ads in STA format would not be supported anymore from February 2017.
  4. Syncing standard text ads would also no longer be possible after the deadline. That meant that the dynamic elements in KLM ads would lose their  function.

 

Strategy

The complexity of this project starts with the complexity of the KLM AdWords and Bing accounts. KLM operates in multiple markets and multiple languages with dynamic ads and keywords. In a nutshell:

  • 12 million automated PPC ads
  • 133 iActivate AdWords and Bing accounts
  • 73 markets with iActivate accounts
  • 25 different languages

Because the ETAs were so different from the STAs we had to redo everything and because we had 50% more characters to our disposal we had room for more information and dynamic elements. To make use of this opportunity we created a new feed with KLM and created new rules in the logic of KLM and iActivate so we could advertise with more dynamic information whenever we needed it. 

In iActivate we work with ad templates. These templates are populated by the KLM feed and pushed to AdWords and Bing. Instead of writing millions of ads for 133 Google & Bing accounts we only had to write thousands of templates in 25 languages.

Collaboration: Making the deadline would only be possible through intensive collaboration between the KLM IT & PPC team, local KLM offices and the PPC team of iProspect.

 

Results

  • +20%

    Sales uplift

  • -13%

    decrease in CPCs

  • +19%

    revenue

  • +6%

    improved ROI

iProspect has automated 133 KLM accounts using iProspect's in-house tool iActivate. By using iActivate, we have more time to focus on improving digital advertising. Through this project we modified all 133 accounts to Google’s new ad format within 3 months.

Within 3 months:

  • Millions of new ads within the ETA guidelines were created;
  • Through 1 scalable type of template across:
    - 5 search engines
    - 25 languages
    - 73 markets (133 Google & Bing accounts)
  • We save 1 FTE weekly at KLM and iProspect.

“One of the biggest challenges of managing paid search for over 70 countries worldwide is optimizing relevancy at scale. Especially with the dynamic and expansive route network we offer as an airline. By seamless integration of our feed into iActivate together with iProspect, we have managed to create highly dynamic ads with route specific information in 25 different languages, taking utmost advantage of ETA’s new character limits. This not only increased the relevancy of our ads for our customer tremendously, but also our quality score. In turn, resulting in lower CPC’s and more room in our budget to expand our reach.”
Bram Roseboom Search Marketing Manager - KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Execution

Campaigns, ad groups, ads and keywords were designed by using templates*. By using the feed** of KLM and our inhouse tool iActivate we automatically created PPC campaigns on a large scale. As a result, PPC campaigns are constantly being created with the right offer and the right flight prices.

The iActivate tool makes it possible to advertise on millions of products and services (in this case flights) with real-time price updates. Access to KLM’s feed data is crucial for real-time ETAs. 

* Templates
Templates allow you to automatically fill in destinations and prices using all variations of KLM keywords. This is how we scripted the same ads for different flight destinations. The templates make it possible to advertise directly on all flight routes and to scale up to multiple markets. We could use the English template for the US, United Kingdom, etc. The Spanish templates for Spanish speaking countries. 

** The feed
The KLM data feed contains airport-, city codes, fares and several other dynamic characteristics of all flights in the KLM network. By linking this information to iActivate we could automatically create millions of advertisements with the right prices and flight routes. This automation made it possible to quickly expand and to be relevant on all search terms.