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Case Study: Big Data Means Better Bookings
Image Credit  Air New Zealand

Case Study: Big Data Means Better Bookings


Air New Zealand (ANZ) uses TagMan’s Tag Management System to house all of it marketing tracking tags in a single, independent system that enables the airline to see how all its marketing channels work together throughout customers’ online journeys. ANZ enlisted TagMan’s help with the aim to drive increased sales to several non-core destinations.

As a result of using TagMan, ANZ was able to add and update its marketing tags instantly, allowing them to rapidly adjust campaign strategy based on what was or wasn’t working. The airline was also able to see how all of its marketing channels worked together throughout the customer’s full path to purchase.

The dynamic, clean and interlinked data provided by TagMan allowed ANZ to easily draw visual insights and understand patterns in its new customers’ behaviour online. This enabled ANZ to grow bookings to undersold destinations by having full visibility into what was working from an acquisition, retention and branding point of view, and by gaining insight into the true acquisition potential of ANZ’s display advertising, an element which had historically been undervalued.

“The solution offered by TagMan gave us the benefit of having a very user friendly customer interface to manage our tags. The process for adding tags now takes minutes rather than months and has effectively allowed us to shorten the test cycle from a minimum of 4 months down to 1 day meaning that we can be far more pro-active with our marketing efforts.” Chris Allison, Online Sales Manager, ANZ.


Air New Zealand Limited is the national airline of New Zealand. Based in Auckland, New Zealand, the airline operates scheduled passenger flights to 27 domestic destinations and 27 international destinations in 15 countries across Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania, and is currently the only airline to circumnavigate the world.

ANZ has traditionally been one of the first ports of call for leisure travel to New Zealand; however ANZ has identified a need to reposition themselves as a global travel service and grow the market of travellers going from the UK to LA and Hong Kong.

The company realised that in order to do this, it needed to reach the types of customer who buy air travel from London to LA and Hong Kong, then figure out the most effective way to convert these prospects into sales. However, ANZ needed the correct planning tools and media-buying agility to be able to build this new online marketing strategy.

Previously, tags used to track ANZ’s online advertising campaigns, including display, paid and natural search, affiliates, retargeting, social media and email, were managed individually and the campaign data was delivered by individual providers. This meant there was no real way to determine which channel should receive credit for a sale when the customer interacted with more than one. Without the ability to understand which channels worked best together in ANZ's customers’ journeys, there was also no clear insight into the best multi-channel campaign strategies.

Another challenge the airline faced was with its unwieldy and slow IT process that did not support the ‘test and learn’ approach needed. With its existing system, ANZ was looking at a three-month minimum wait for any testing to commence. This wait time, combined with a minimum one month learning period, meant at least a four-month wait before a major campaign could be fully implemented.

Developing a Full Funnel Attribution Strategy

ANZ used TagMan to house all marketing tracking tags in a single smart container tag, which had the immediate effect of giving ANZ full visibility into what was working from an acquisition, retention and branding point of view, as well as gaining insight into the true value of ANZ’s display advertising which had been historically seen as underperforming on a last-click win basis.

Air New Zealand banner 1

Housing all its marketing tracking tags in one place allowed ANZ to get rich information on its customers’ journeys. Just as web analytics plays an important role in understanding onsite customer behaviour, TagMan’s data collection allowed ANZ to understand the full customer journey and the level of impact of each media channel on each journey.

These insights gave ANZ a clear understanding of the customer purchase behaviour relating to its sales. For example, the airline could see if a customer started their activity with a branded keyword search, then interacted with the site via SEO, then was exposed to some display advertising before doing a further brand keyword paid search click and finally converting directly through the site.


For each customer conversion, TagMan was able to show ANZ the precise creative, media placement and timing of an exposure to a display banner and the exact search term (whether paid or natural) used during the purchase journey. The reporting interface combined this data to reveal both channels’ contribution to sales in the following ways:

  • Conversions: the number of times each channel or campaign was the last clicked event before the user converted (where credit for the entire sale is given to the last channel the customer interacted with before converting).
  • Assisted conversions: the number of sales that resulted from a specific channel appearing in the conversion pathway, at any stage.
  • Flat Attributed conversions: the number of sales that resulted from a specific channel appearing in the path to conversion, with the conversion credit divided by the total number of events in that path. Flat attribution divides credit equally between all events that appeared in that user’s journey.

TagMan also allowed ANZ to identify its customers’ “look to book” window, which showed how long it took for a customer to make a purchase, starting from the point of their initial inquiry. The window generally reduced when a display advertisement was present, showing that increased display spend may reduce the number of marketing touch points needed to drive conversions.


1. The value of display

One of the main areas ANZ wanted to assess was the value of display advertising in the path to purchase. A typical snapshot of data based on the traditional ‘last click’ model showed that display accounted for less than 1% of sales conversions. If considered in isolation, this would mean display had a relatively low value in the overall media mix and would normally lead to ANZ allocating only a small percentage of their budget for that channel.

Air New Zealand banner 2

Data from TagMan allowed ANZ to understand how channels, such as display, reached users at the beginning and throughout the purchase funnel to help drive sales. With visibility into data throughout the purchase cycle, a different picture emerged as to the value of display. Analysis showed that around 9% of sales commenced with a display ad interaction. This allowed ANZ to capture customers who were further up the purchase funnel or who may not have had a pre-determined propensity to purchase an ANZ product. It also allowed ANZ to look at all mid-cycle channels, which showed that display also had huge reach among customers that eventually purchased, appearing in 30% of all conversions.

By using TagMan’s tag management system, ANZ gained full visibility into their customer purchase journeys. As a result, ANZ were able to identify which channels drove the best engagement and conversion for its non-core destinations.

2. Significant sales and ROI increases

After viewing these insights, Air New Zealand developed a year-round display media plan with an always-on, measureable and accountable approach to their online advertising channels, This strategy change resulted in a 15% year on year sales increase, while their return on investment increased by 20%.

“Big data is only valuable if used and executed in the right way. By implementing TagMan’s solution, we were able to react and employ an efficient and effective test and learn process which enabled us to use our customers’ conversion data to sew a thread through the non-linear customer journey.” Chris Allison, Online Sales Manager, ANZ.

Simon Holland

Simon Holland

Simon is the news and research reporter at Existem. Previously a technology journalist, he now spends his time investigating both future and developing trends in performance marketing whilst producing editorial content for

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