After writing a mammoth post yesterday trying to understand how new advertising models in an internet TV environment are applicable to airlines wanting to make an impact in the travel inspiration space, today I’m going with something a bit shorter.

One post that gets a fair amount of search engine traffic here is where I used empirical evidence from an airline customer (with their permission of course) to measure various success rates of an email marketing campaign sent to people at three different points of sale. It must because there really doesn’t seem to be that much good data on email marketing, so my small effort gets a disproportionate amount of attention.

I was very impressed this week to see an even better piece of analysis (and even containing one airline analogy) appearing on Search Engine Land. All the claims there are backed up by empirical data, and there is one headline grabbing claim that email marketing outperformed social media marketing in their test. I’ve always suspected that despite many stories in the past year about how airlines with the most Twitter followers are fantastic, the opt-in email distribution list an airline holds is probably a much more valuable asset.

Search Engine Land is a great site, but something happened to me about 10 hours ago that is unforgivable, and should be a warning to any airline using website analytics. The page was calling all sorts of third party sites as I could URLs flickering in a status bar at the bottom of my Firefox browser, but then during page load it froze for 3-5 seconds with the message “waiting for Omniture” –  only a blue background page appeared, with no text visible. As an airline, if your site refuses to load because of a potential problem with Omniture or any third party, then redesigning the site must be a priority – otherwise revenue will go walking, and it will walk elsewhere.

Email marketing might be great, with a growing body of data to back up the positive ROI assertions, but unfortunately for the guys at Virgin Blue in Australia, the email marketing story hasn’t quite been such good news for them recently; they agreed to pay a penalty of AUD $110,000 for making it too difficult for people to opt out. I suppose that is one good thing about Twitter, to unfollow someone is pretty straightforward.