Meet the Partner
Alaska Seaplanes is the leading airline for commuter flights in Southeast Alaska, operating out of hubs in Juneau and Sitka. They offer year-round charter flights to 14 rural Alaskan communities and serve over 75,000 passengers annually.
In 2018, they teamed up with Intuitive Digital with a goal of increasing their flight bookings through targeted paid media campaigns. When the global pandemic struck, the collaboration was put on pause. Alaska Seaplanes returned in 2021, reigniting their partnership with Intuitive Digital.
The pandemic left the aviation industry in an uncertain and difficult spot. As the industry started to rebound in 2021, Alaska Seaplanes needed to hit the throttle on their campaigns to recover. They worked with another digital marketing firm to test Twitter Ads in 2020 but were unsatisfied with the results. At the time, their Google Ads account involved only display campaigns. And with fewer than 100,000 residents in Southeast Alaska, local competition for potential customers was fierce.
How We Did It!
Intuitive Digital crafted Alaska Seaplanes’ paid search strategy from scratch and introduced Google Search ads. Audience research unearthed valuable insights about their target customers, solidifying two personas: Tours and Charter flyers. The audience research also clarified the intent behind the two personas, which informed keyword selection and exclusion for search campaigns.
Tours flyers are extremely adventurous and looking for unique experiences in Alaska. Most Tours flyers are vacationers looking for exciting, unique, and thrilling activities to do while in Alaska for a short time. They usually come off cruise ships passing through Alaska as they stop at the major ports. The new messaging developed by Intuitive Digital emphasized the glaciers, bears and Alaska wilderness tours offered by Alaska Seaplanes.
Charter flyers are people who live in Alaska and need remote charter flights to commute or they are business travelers coming to Alaska to meet with their associates. Many in the Charters audience could be repeating flyers, so custom audience lists were gathered to target users that had previously booked flights but were currently inactive customers.
Armed with the strategy, Intuitive Digital built targeted campaigns across Google, TikTok and Instagram. Intuitive Digital put together compelling and research-backed copy, and designed stunning creative that embodied Alaska Seaplanes’ trusted brand.
Seasonality needed to be factored into the media mix for the two primary personas. Tours flyers visit Alaska during the summer months of May-September, while Charters flyers are looking for remote seaplane flights from October-April. Intuitive Digital incorporated these seasonal trends into the paid media flights and budgets for Alaska Seaplanes.
Responsive display ads showed promising results within the first three months. When Search Ads debuted the following year, the already promising momentum hit its second wind.
Four audience types were tested in observation mode within Google Ads. As they performed, each audience was added to targeting mode, allowing Intuitive Digital to bid aggressively without squandering spend and ensuring peak performance.
When the Charters season arrived, budget and messaging adapted accordingly to keep Alaska Seaplanes top-of-mind in the fall and winter months without wasting spend. The seasonal dip in interest for Tours audiences coincided with the summer months ending, so Tours’ awareness campaigns were paused. For Charters, creative was adjusted to feature the snow-dusted landscapes of Southeast Alaska to reflect the change in seasons. Placement monitoring enabled Intuitive Digital to curate high-performing placements for Display. As peak Tours booking season returned, customers flocked to Alaska Seaplanes for their Charter and Tours needs.
By the numbers
From June 2021 to May 2022, Alaska Seaplanes witnessed over 10,000 conversions from Paid Media, and the next year, Intuitive Digital’s optimizations drove an 18% conversion increase with a 19% decrease in CPA.
Decrease in cost per acquisition
Increase in conversions
Increase in interaction rate
The End Result
Emerging from a tumultuous year, Alaska Seaplanes, with Intuitive Digital’s Paid Media support, watched their flight bookings rocket to unprecedented heights.
In 2022, they aimed for 538 flights per month from Paid Media. By year’s end, they averaged 1,472 booked flights monthly, nearly tripling their goal.
Never complacent, Intuitive Digital continues to test new strategies and explore additional channels to expand Alaska Seaplanes’ reach and bolster its online presence. Together, we’re on a mission to recruit more talent and strengthen Southeast Alaska’s premier airline.
“Working with Alaska Seaplanes has been such a rewarding and fulfilling experience. This partner came to us in a tough time for the travel industry but we saw unlimited potential for their brand. Working with our design team to develop beautiful video ads and display ads that capture the breathtaking Alaska scenery has been a delight. And it’s been exciting to see our paid media optimizations help this account reach its full potential. I can’t wait to see what comes next for Alaska Seaplanes as we continue to help their business soar to new heights.”
“Alaska Seaplanes is such a fun, innovative account. Identifying and working with the two audiences has been such a rewarding experience. It’s also been a great exercise for our team to perfect the targeting and creative differences needed to truly speak to two unique audiences. We love working on this account, and love seeing such incredible results.”
“Working on Alaska Seaplanes has been such a fun experience! Their willingness to experiment with new and exciting creative ideas has been great, and helps their account stay competitive. Most recently, we implemented a new campaign using creative with a trendy and vintage aesthetic, and it turned out SO amazing. We are very grateful for the trust Alaska Seaplanes has placed in our expertise and are delighted to help them achieve such impressive results from their Paid Media investment.”