Cathay Pacific Case Study


Travel is a competitive category at the quietest of times. There are many enticements for consumers to spend their hard earned money looking for the ultimate travel experience.

For the airline industry, this has been further compounded by three key factors.

  1. Global financial pressures forcing consumers to rationalise spending
  2. Proliferation of low cost carriers as a viable option to the traditional full service airlines
  3. Online price comparison sites providing consumers with competitive pricing options

In this highly-competitive environment Cathay Pacific, a traditional full service premium airline, needed to adapt, fast! A significant improvement in marketing ROI was needed to ensure Cathay Pacific could compete against all existing airlines and new comers, and grow their market share.

Our challenge was clear, increase ROI by 50% in the campaign period.


To succeed, we had to be smarter. Every click and every dollar had to work harder than ever before. Data and intelligence was fundamental to identify our opportunity.

Three key sources were integral:

  • Category search data (our own research plus Google insights)
  • Past campaign performance
  • Client’s own route data (profitable vs. non-profitable routes)

Cathay could command a larger share within less competitive search results. To achieve this we focused on;

  • The most profitable routes with less competitive presence
  • Granular long tail queries with highly targeted messaging

Three key strategies were employed to achieve the required increase in revenue per click:

  • Refine the territories
  • Cover these territories well
  • Win every battle in these selected territories


Our 3-tiered executional strategy delivered exceptional results and set the framework that Cathay rolled out to other markets;

  • Cathay Pacific’s impression share on the 79 targeted routes increased x 17.4 times.
  • Ad messaging click-through rates increased by 253%.
  • We significantly overachieved on the 50% ROI target by delivering an exceptional 408% increase in ROI, an 8 times over-achievement on the ROI figure sought.