To get to where it is today, Airbnb had to understand its customers better. Working with a team of data scientists, it created sophisticated models to estimate customer LTV. The LTV calculation is a proprietary model based on a wide range of factors: customer location, travel distance, search keyword and much more. That LTV figure determines Airbnb’s cost per acquisition. Airbnb’s search team uses flexible budgets to reach all consumers the moment they’re ready to book. “Airbnb’s hyper­growth is dependent on our team’s ability to take advantage of opportunities as they appear," says Maria Hwang, head of Paid Growth - Europe, LATAM, Korea and Japan. "Our leadership is focused on the business impact of our search investments; they empower us to find new ways to drive results." It hasn't always been this way for Airbnb’s search team. "We’ve had to have different conversations across the organization to get to where we are today," notes Hwang. Fortunately, the team had two things going for it - solid AdWords data to make its case for resources and a supportive sponsor in the company’s co­founder and CTO, Nathan Blecharczyk. For example, one of the team’s recent challenges was international expansion. The team was able to use its data­-driven approach to getting customers on AdWords to gain approval for a whole international arm in 2011. According to Diane Chour, head of Paid Growth - North America, China, Australia and South East Asia, "It was a huge endeavor, but now we’re able to reach and support our customers on an entirely global scale." Get the full story at Think with Google