[Presentation] A Statistical Analysis of the Social Media Impact of the American Airlines – US Airways Merger
Editor’s Note: Here’s another guest post by Peter Claridge of Unmetric, an exclusive aviation partner of SimpliFlying. Unmetric is a social media benchmarking company that helps brands analyse how well they’re doing on social media by including in-depth insights into numerous metrics as well as information on what kind of content “works” and how competitors are faring. Among Unmetric’s list of illustrious clients are Citibank, Nestlé and AirTel.

It has been a busy couple of months for the American Airlines’ Marketing, PR and Corp Comm teams. In January, they completed a rebranding of the entire business (analysis here) and quite successfully too, judging by the social media data. In February the news everyone was anticipating was announced: US Airways agreed to merge with American Airlines. 

Now that the dust has settled a little bit, Unmetric took the opportunity to discover the social media impact of the merger. In virtually all key metrics, American Airlines is far ahead of US Airways. In the basic case of fan numbers, AA has nearly 10x the number of fans as US Airways. AA is also engaging fans far better, receiving an engagement score of 102 for the time period analyzed, compared to US Airways’ score of 50. The engagement score is calculated based on the number of Likes, Comments, Shares and Estimated Impressions so even if one brand has more fans, the engagement score is normalized for all brands. 

Interestingly, American Airlines’ most engaging post was about the new branding and not about the merger. Fans and customers were obviously more keen to share this news rather than the news of the merger. However, for US Airways, the news of the merger was its most engaging topic for the two months analyzed. 

Sentiment analysis is something many companies break their head over. Unmetric looks at broad sentiment to find out if fans are mostly happy, mostly unhappy or just plain ‘meh’ (indifferent).  This is more useful when looked at over a period of time so in this case we looked at the sentiment before the merger and the sentiment after. What we found was that negative sentiment increased very slightly for both airlines, but while the positive sentiment for AA increased, it decreased for US Airways. 

A similar story plays out on YouTube. AA has put a lot of effort in to building up its channel, uploading nearly times more videos that US Airways, resulting in ten times more video views. When it came to the merger, both airlines uploaded three separate videos, but AA attracted over 72,000 views to their videos compared to the 11,500 views managed by US Airways. Incredibly, AA has virtually the same number of subscribers as US Airways had views. 

For a detailed analysis, do check out the slide-deck below. 


 Find out more about how Unmetric can help your airline benchmark its social media prowess here. Or drop us a line directly at unmetric@simpliflying.com.

You can see previous posts by Unmetric here

Shubhodeep Pal

Shubhodeep Pal

Vice President, Products & Operations at SimpliFlying
Shubhodeep Pal is the Vice President of Products and Operations at SimpliFlying and has been leading Product Development, Marketing and Business Development since December 2010 from the headquarters in Singapore. His writings have appeared extensively on SimpliFlying as well as revered industry outlets such as Tnooz, Airlinetrends and Loyalty360. He has considerable experience working in the social media sphere, having also conducted a workshop at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. He has written an introductory e-book for social media newbies and has previously interned at the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) as well. His wide range of interests include startups, programming, economics, geopolitics, film-direction/criticism and literature. His first collection of poems, Interruptions was released in 2009. He can be reached at shubhodeep@simpliflying.com.
Shubhodeep Pal
Shubhodeep Pal

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