Google Analytics 360 and BigQuery improve efficiency and insights for Skyscanner
Case Study

Google Analytics 360 and BigQuery improve efficiency and insights for Skyscanner

Skyscanner digs deeper to reveal more granular insights

Skyscanner is a leading travel search company for flights, hotels, and car rental around the world. Founded in 2003, the company helps over 40 million people globally find the best travel options across its portfolio of websites and mobile apps.

Skyscanner wanted to understand anonymous customer behavior on a more detailed level. Mark Shilton, principal analyst on the Skyscanner data team, knew that both standard reporting and reporting APIs in Google Analytics 360 were helpful for high-level analysis. However, “we were keen to dig deeper into the data to get more insight and further optimise our products,” he says.

Skyscanner wanted to look into specific markets, device types, and channels to better understand their customers. Certain teams within the company also wanted to understand the performance of individual site functionalities. They needed to see how interactions with those functionalities affected conversion rates. And finally, the company wanted to understand how users interacted with Skyscanner over time.

Integration for deeper insights

Skyscanner decided to address all of these needs by integrating Analytics 360 with BigQuery. This integration has become the starting point for detailed reporting across the business.

For example, analysts and engineers now run cohort analyses to understand how frequently users return to Skyscanner, and which channels are most effective during the customer journey. “This type of analysis is allowing a much deeper understanding of our marketing activity and is informing our future strategy and spend,” Mark says.

He also notes that using BigQuery with tools such as Tableau and Python offers more speed and efficiency than ever before. “While in the past it was tricky to get a fully unsampled report based on specific segments of users flowing directly from Analytics 360 into a Tableau dashboard, now it is simply a matter of writing the query, creating a connection in Tableau to automatically refresh the data daily, and publishing this dashboard to the rest of the company.”

“Since we set up our Analytics 360 export into BigQuery, this data source has become a key part of our analytical toolset. We can get the precise data we need more quickly and accurately.”

Mark Shilton, Principal Analyst, Skyscanner Data Team

A clear path ahead

Combining Analytics 360 with BigQuery has supercharged Skyscanner’s ability to turn raw information into a full understanding of consumers’ interactions with the site. “We have been using BigQuery for various pieces of analysis, from one-off investigations to powering daily dashboards,” Mark affirms. “In all cases it has sped up our workflow and enabled us to gain greater insight more quickly. In a fast moving internet economy, this is key.”

“BigQuery has also allowed us to more easily isolate the effects of marketing from the effects of site changes,” he adds. Skyscanner can write queries that separate traffic from various sources, including marketing campaigns, customers who make it to specific parts of the funnel, or those who interact with new website functionality. This understanding has played a key role in improving overall conversion rates on Skyscanner’s websites — particularly on mobile. Mark says, “We’ve achieved conversion rate improvements of 30 to 40% on smartphone and tablet devices in the last six months.”

Looking to the future, Skyscanner’s next steps include exploring how this information can be used with machine learning analysis, which would not have been possible using Skyscanner’s standard reporting.

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