We started our journey with FIFA in 2019, executing an ambitious YouTube strategy.
We expanded our relationship in 2020, and with the impact of the pandemic, alongside FIFA we conceived what would become the multi-award-winning #WorldCupAtHome campaign. This campaign would go on to become one of YouTube’s top 3 most successful campaigns of 2020 and achieve several industry awards.
In 2021, our relationship with FIFA expanded again, as we became their partner for all Digital Platform Services. This included:
Developing the content strategy for FIFA’s digital channels
Growing the size of the global audience and engagement
Driving commercial opportunities through direct and indirect revenue streams
Supporting media rights licensees (MRLs) with content and consultancy
Managing the relationship between FIFA and the platform partners (Facebook and YouTube)
Providing regular business intelligence and reports on content and channel performance.
The partnership with FIFA and our innovative approach proved to be a resounding success.
FIFA’s digital channels achieved record-breaking results in reach, video views, watch-time and audience growth in 2021. We manage to surpass every record for performance in a non-World Cup year and our 2021 performance was the second-highest ever, behind only that of the 2018 World Cup.
To implement a successful customer acquisition strategy, it is important to build a picture of the types of audiences and customers that our Partner is seeking to engage.
We always take a holistic approach to Growth Marketing, looking at audiences, data and consumer behaviours, to build a segmentation plan we can begin to act upon.
When it came to the UFC and their OTT platform, UFC Fight Pass, our approach to audience segmentation covered ingestion of data from the following sources:
site traffic for retargeting
lookalike profiles based on CRM data
people following the UFC page, who hadn’t converted
fans following fighters and rival MMA organisations
Our goal when reviewing the data, was to develop a network of fans who were displaying a higher propensity to convert at the point of purchase.
We analysed a variety of search data, from fighter names to event names and broader MMA terms. This allowed us to understand what users searched for online so media could be targeted more effectively with the right messages at the right time to the right person.
With these insights in hand, we implemented an effective customer acquisition strategy that would deliver paid subscriptions and reduce high levels of churn.
Using first-party data, our ‘connected audiences’ and a prospecting set of engaged combat sports fans, we activated global media campaigns that were both personalised and tailored to individual local markets.
Campaigns were optimised and developed through local language, which included markets such as Russia and Japan, whereby localised assets and creative were developed and deployed.
We also identified new strategic opportunities in countries with a large MMA fanbase and enough disposable income to afford the product, namely Mexico, Poland and Kazakhstan.
With pandemic restrictions preventing supporters from attending matches, AC Milan needed to find new ways to grow.
Our solution was a best-in-class D2C strategy to convert interest into action and build loyal audiences.
We unearthed insights revealing the club enjoyed a 170% increase in return on ad spend (ROAS) for social followers compared to general audiences. Social followers also spent twice as much online at the AC Milan store.
We also discovered purchase likelihood was increased by fan engagement. Those who downloaded the AC Milan app, for example, showed a 2.5x higher conversion rate than social followers.
Our commercial growth efforts aimed to convert new audiences into social followers, and social followers into loyal fans:
Ticketing strategy to bring fans back to the San Siro, using CRM, first-party data, search and social engagement, and creative visuals with strong CTAs
Merchandising with full-funnel audiences to drive engagement, traffic and sales through the online store via paid social campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok
Social growth efforts on the club’s Facebook, Instagram and TikTok channels to increase the size of commercially valuable engager segments
Amplifying club content – MilanTV on Amazon and the Racconti Rossoneri podcast – utilising paid media to drive traffic to official landing pages.
With a full-service approach that combines strategy, creative and paid media to deliver success, we are proud to have been able to drive scaled growth for the club, attracting more fans to the glorious San Siro, increasing average revenue per user and growing the overall AC Milan fanbase.
Ticketing – Return on ad spend
Retail and official merchandise
Global audience increase
Our relationship with WePlay has helped us to welcome new fans into the AC Milan community, which is an important part of our ambitious plans to drive revenue for the club
CASPER STYLSVIG , CHIEF REVENUE OFFICER , AC MILAN
We analysed Utah Jazz’s digital data points across social, web and CRM to collate audience learnings, and identify crossovers, gaps and opportunities. This helped us understand:
Deterministic data – purchase behaviour, subscription history, log-in/survey data
Third-party data – browsing behaviour, search patterns, content consumption
Demographic data – age and gender, location, profession/education
We know that engaged fans drive increased response so we defined the pathway to purchase and identified high-value audiences – including local, national and global fans.
Social growth focuses primarily on Facebook and TikTok. We run a ‘glocal’ campaign strategy to engage non-English speaking markets, using translated copy and localised assets.
To boost ticket sales, we target rich data segments with paid social and search campaigns to drive ‘fear of missing out’ by showcasing epic scenes fans can only experience in-person. This involves eye-popping creative in various ad formats, with conversion through response-optimised creative assets.
To boost merchandise sales, data-led planning and use of best-in-class biddable tech platforms optimises and serves ads in real-time to key audiences.
Paid media drives awareness and enquiries of summer camps, with data-led content and messaging that spans the full conversion funnel.
Working alongside the Utah Jazz as a strategic growth partner, WePlay has driven success across all of our core workstreams. This includes a substantial increase in social followers, achieving our season’s target in just two months, a marked uplift in ticket sales and new revenue streams for merchandising on the official Utah Jazz team store.
UK-based, David Beckham-backed professional esports company, Guild Esports briefed us on driving ambitious growth targets across its owned social channels, merchandise and commercial partner activations.
Guild’s brand awareness and fandom is key to helping the company secure lucrative partnerships.
We needed to develop a growth strategy that capitalises on booming tickets, merchandise and game publisher investment revenues, to create more loyal followers and convert fan interest into spend.
Our approach amplified content across multiple channels to maximise reach and engagement, using refined, data-informed audiences; including younger Gen Z segments with unique consumption patterns.
We needed to supplement our media plan with inventory and data sources outside the major platforms – such as Google and Facebook – and sought to incorporate emerging, innovative environments like Discord, TikTok and Twitch.
Using content as the engagement mechanism within an omni-social, audience-first paid amplification strategy, the campaign delivered numerous primary and secondary benefits to the brand. These included:
increasing value/performance of sponsorship packages, amplifying them to the most relevant sub-audiences for higher engagement rates
boosting reach and awareness of Guild and its products, catalysing membership applications, retail sales and stream viewers
growing the follower base by increasing monetisation/ad revenue and building first-party data
We’ve helped Guild surpass 1 million social media followers – cementing its position as the fastest-growing esports organisation in Europe – through tactical, high-performing audience acquisition and content discovery campaigns, as well as key partnership activations.
reach of hyper-targeted e-sports fans across social media
WePlay is a Growth Marketing Partner for the global leader in sports and entertainment, ESPN. Our main remit is the ESPN Player, where our brief is to drive subscription sales for the SVOD product.
This remit covers four areas:
Our campaigns promote the full catalogue of ESPN Player’s content, to grow revenues and generate year-on-year subscriber growth, aligned with monthly targets determined by the live rights and on-demand content release schedule.
As ESPN Player broadcasts a variety of live sports, audiences tend to behave in a seasonal pattern. Many fans subscribe before their preferred sports season begins – but unsubscribe once it ends.
This is a consistent trend across the subscriptions, live rights and OTT landscape, given that major sports leagues have a fixed start and end date. That means there is a short window when the platform is most valuable for specific fans.
Our search and programmatic campaigns therefore need to be highly targeted to each sports season and fan depending on the time of year.
To solve this, we employed advanced planning and strategy development, alongside our own proprietary data, to create the perfect platform for campaign expansion and growth for ESPN Player.
We used a data-led approach to pivot and plan campaigns based on current sports seasons, promoting content that would actively drive engagement for our target audience. This strategy ensured that ESPN Player would capitalise on relevance and demonstrate immediate value to prospects.
Our Creative Studio developed customised assets for each sports season, which helped ensure campaigns were optimised. The work included assets for individual high-profile games, which were promoted alongside key search terms immediately before the events took place.
During periods without premium live rights, we implemented a strategy to promote the depth of archive content on the platform – attracting new subscribers and mitigating churn.
Our strategy has enabled us to deploy learnings throughout the partnership, which has led to incredibly successful performance, including significant reductions to the CPA for a new subscriber as well an increase in year-on-year subscribers.
We supported European Tour with an end-to-end digital marketing service in order to drive ticket acquisitions, awareness, engagement and growth across marquee tournaments such as the BMW PGA Championships, the Irish Open, the Scottish Open, the Senior Open and the British Masters.
Our strategy for ticket acquisition is based on three phases; awareness, consideration and conversion, with each phase having key performance indicators to demonstrate measurable changes in fan behaviour through the purchase funnel.
As with all campaigns, our process begins by analysing client-owned data, which includes previous buyers on a CRM database, in this case, MyEuropeanTour. Personalised messaging is created for these buyers and new content is A/B tested for prospecting audiences. Those who had not purchased tickets before are divided into two broad categories:
Connected fans,who had visited the European Tour website or engaged with social content
Cold prospects, who are currently outside the Tour’s media ecosystem
Audience purchase intent is assessed via several methods and these are segregated accordingly and served bespoke tailored messaging. Paid social, paid search and contextual programmatic strategies were then activated to maximise our ability to reach the right audience, in the right environment, at the right time.
The partnership produced a significant commercial return for the European Tour, as well as record sales figures at several events including the Scottish Open and Irish Open.
We also doubled the size of the Tour’s MyEuropeanTour CRM database and reached over 25 million new golf fans through paid activation of organic content, raising awareness and engagement of the sport.
CPA year-on-year reduction
Year-on-year revenue growth
"We are constantly pushing boundaries in our content and commercial marketing efforts, and our work with WePlay is yet another element of our digital transformation. WePlay are doing a fantastic job in helping us to reach new audiences and grow our revenues through digital."
Our partnership commenced with an objective to increase attendance at the Müller Anniversary Games and to ensure spend efficiencies across an allocated media budget. WePlay blended art (creative) and science (consultancy) to execute a blueprint to reach, engage and convert relevant audiences.
Utilising a targeted, reactive prospecting campaign, we ran a data-driven approach to build comprehensive custom audiences for each stage of the user journey (awareness, consideration and conversion).
Following the games and into the lead up to Tokyo Olympics, we conducted a diligent scoping and analysis phase across the athletics and sporting creative landscape. This was followed by the development of a brand refresh for British Athletics, with a new overarching season key visual that was adapted across their portfolio of events. This new creative highlighted British Athletics’ culture and range of disciplines, as well as visually referencing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Our campaigns used the power of digital marketing to reach new, online audiences and drive incremental audience growth year-on-year to the Müller Anniversary Games.
With a strong creative rebrand, the campaign artwork was used in digital assets as well as being developed for websites, stadium screens, programme covers and live event elements to bring creative all the way through the user journey, achieving outstanding results: