Heidi Mariegaard Poulsen
Alice Høst Fowler
Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University
3 May 2012
99,003 characters (without spaces)
A Comparative Analysis of the Social Media Marketing
Approaches of Ryanair and easyJet
Title: A comparative analysis of the social media marketing approaches of Ryanair and
Authors: Heidi Mariegaard Poulsen, Alice Høst Fowler.
Number of characters (without spaces): 99,003
The two low-cost carriers Ryanair and easyJet have both experienced a great deal of success
in Europe in recent years with rising passenger numbers, increasing profits and high load
factors. While the two airliners may appear similar, they have chosen two distinct social
media marketing approaches. easyJet has a very elaborated social media marketing strategy,
while Ryanair has chosen not to participate in social media. The aim of this thesis is to
answer the following problem statement:
Why might Ryanair and easyJet choose two different social media marketing
The problem statement is answered by the help of three research questions:
1. What are the overall marketing strategies of Ryanair and easyJet?
2. What is the social media marketing strategy of easyJet?
3. How is Ryanair represented on social media?
A qualitative comparative method has been applied in order to answer the problem statement.
The primary theory provided in order to answer research question 1, is the Discount Strategy
Model from Andersen and Poulfelt's book Discount Business Strategy and the 7 P's of the
Marketing Mix. The primary theory used in order to answer research questions 2 and 3, is
taken from Li and Bernoff's book Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social
Technologies. The analysis is conducted with help of the primary theory and with secondary
sources such as journal and newspaper articles, information from Ryanair and easyJet
websites, and different social media websites.
The results, derived from the analysis of the overall marketing strategies of easyJet and
Ryanair, suggest that while both companies use discount strategies, easyJet is moving slightly
toward more service (also called frills) and sober advertising, while Ryanair is still trying to
cut down on frills in order to charge customers any additional services, and using aggressive
and provocative advertising in order to attract attention. The efforts of Ryanair to cut down
on service also affect their level of customer service, which is probably the biggest difference
between the marketing strategies of the two companies. easyJet has won several awards for
their customer service, while Ryanair is still cutting down on customer service, e.g. by
removing check-in desks at airports in 2009.
The social media marketing strategy of easyJet is to provide customer service, to make
customers talk about easyJet online, and to advertise good deals. They do this through a wide