The bounce rate on the website for Europe’s largest budget carrier Ryanair is more than double that of its nearest rivals in the UK easyJet and British Airways.
The 40.47% compared to 19.97% for easyJet and 16.32% for British Airways, but Ryanair has by far the greatest overall amount of traffic, bigger than its two rivals combined.
The figures come from a similarweb.com study into the three sites looking at performance over the last year to June 2013.
The 12-month pictures showed Ryanair had a pronounced divergence in traffic between the quieter winter and busier summer seasons.
But even its trough in December 2012 was higher than easyJet’s peak in July 2012.
The poor engagement performance of Ryanair as revealed by the bounce rate was also found when Similarweb looked at the average time visitors spend on site.
This saw easyJet visitors spend an average of 10 minutes per visit, almost double that of its budget rival. British Airways had the most page views per visit with seven.
Data relating to which source markets traffic was coming from revealed Ryanair is the least reliant in UK visitors, which account for a third, compared to 46% for easyJet and 60% for British Airways.
Ryanair had a broader base of traffic from its top 10 markets which included Italy, Spain, France and Germany.
The analysis also looked at sub-domains for non-flight sales and found that the easyJet Holidays site, which is run in partnership with Low Cost Holiday Group, gets just 5% of traffic.
A tie-up with Booking.com for hotels gets just 1.65% and the car hire subdomain gets under 1%.
British Airways was found to be the site most reliant on referral from third-party price comparison sites.
As much as 50% of BA’s total referral traffic (around 10% of its total traffic) comes from four sites: Cheapflights, Dealchecker, Travelzoo, and Skyscanner, the study found.
As for easyJet and Ryanair, Skyscanner was the number one source of referral traffic, sending them 11% and 12% of incoming referrals respectively.
A look at the various advertising strategies of the three airlines found that Ryanair differed markedly, relying much more on SEO than paid search with 41% of traffic being organic.
Paid advertising, on the other hand, accounted for 9.26% of easyJet’s traffic and 11.81% of British Airways’.
Commenting on the findings, Similarweb said: “While there will always be demand for the ‘silver-spoon’ service that a company like BA provides, when it comes to flights low-cost airlines are winning the battle.
“Ryanair isn’t only the most successful site in terms of visits but also the smartest – focusing their online investments in SEO so they can depend less on display advertising, pay per click ads, and third-party sites.”