Making a huge leap forward over the past 12 months, Google
is sending almost equal levels of traffic to airline websites as Kayak.
Figures released by web monitoring service SimilarWeb show
that the share of referrals upstream to the top ten airline sites in the U.S.
by Google Flights in July 2018 has reached 25% -- just a percentage point lower
than flight metasearch rival Kayak.
In July 2017, Google stood at 9% and Kayak 33%. The data
collected by SimilarWeb covers only desktop-based traffic.
Kayak's loss appears to have been Google's gain on some of
the U.S.'s main carrier websites.
For example, from May through July 2017, United received 32%
of its traffic from Kayak and 26% from Google. Fast forward 12 months, and
Google sent 37% and Kayak 26%.
One of the main drivers of the switch in traffic, according
to SimilarWeb, is the agreement signed between Delta and Google earlier this
Until February 2018, Google Flights provided no referrals to
Delta, while Kayak was the leading provider at 49%.
In six months, Kayak's volume of Delta referrals has dropped
to 28% and Google is sending 41%.
Alaska Airlines has also seen a massive jump, with 0% coming
from Google Flights in the period May-July 2017 and 24% in the same period in
2018 (Kayak is 23%).
SimilarWeb claims that the overall "quality" of
the traffic to Delta has also improved over the last 12 months.
Bounce rates on the site from referral traffic have dropped
from 28% in July 2017 to 9% in the same month in 2018.
Pages per visit has climbed
from an average of 8.9 to 10.5 over the same period, as well as duration of
user visits now at 711 seconds per session from 643.