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14 May 2014 09:00

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has received the Global Excellence in Performance Marketing accolade at the 2014 Performance Marketing Awards. 

The prestigious awards celebrate excellence in online advertising and attracted hundreds of entries across 25 categories this year. The winners were announced during a gala dinner at the Grosvenor House hotel in London, attended by more than 900 international marketing experts. 

The category for Global Excellence in Performance Marketing, which is aimed at companies that have operated or expanded their online marketing activities to more than one worldwide territory, included finalists such as Nokia, Sony Europe and Microsoft Shop.  

Etihad Airways was selected as the winner following the successful global expansion of its UK-based online marketing campaign in 2013. Judges were impressed by the “smart execution, expansion and overall success” of the expansion, which was conducted in partnership with the airline’s digital marketing agency DigitasLBi. 

The campaign focused on the growth of Etihad Airways’ online affiliate sales program, including its expansion into key European markets such as Italy, France and Germany. In addition, new direct sales partners were recruited in emerging markets such as Brazil, China and India, while partnerships with travel comparison websites were further optimised. The airline also introduced its first email retargeting campaign, initially in English and later in Arabic and other languages. 

Overall revenue from the campaign increased by 100 per cent in 2013 compared to the previous year as a result of the global expansion. This included an impressive 107 per cent growth in direct partner revenue and 66 per cent growth in affiliate revenue. 

Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “Performance marketing has emerged as a key online revenue driver for Etihad Airways and winning the Global Excellence in Performance Marketing award, especially with the high calibre of shortlisted companies, is testament to the success of our aggressive expansion in this area last year. 

“A key challenge was to research and prioritise key international markets, and develop sustainable, long-term partnerships in these markets to support a substantial revenue increase that still falls within our cost of sale targets. We have ambitious plans to build on the success of this campaign with a number of exciting new developments in 2014.” 

The success at the 2014 Performance Marketing Awards follows another recent accolade for the airline’s online marketing activities. At the Festival of Media Global Awards 2014, held in Rome last month, Etihad Airways took home the title for Best Digitally Integrated Campaign for its ‘Etihad Mapped Out’ tool. Developed in cooperation with LinkedIn, the tool offers business travellers the ability to search and connect with their global network of contacts as they travel.
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