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Tennis Australia

19 December 2019

Smashing ticket sales using Messenger

The Australian governing body for tennis ran Facebook video and photo ads to promote Australian Open ticket sales, which then opened Messenger conversations to purchase, resulting in a 24.3X return on ad spend.
Serving tickets to Australian Open Grand Slam, which is held annually in January in Melbourne. 
Tennis Australia wanted a better way to reach tennis fans on its social media platforms, capture fans’ attention quickly, get them excited about attending the Australian Open and make it easier to buy tickets.
Tennis Australia promotes the acclaimed Australian Open tournament, held every year in January. Nicknamed the "Happy Slam", it’s the first of the 4 Grand Slam events of the year—followed by the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. the solution… Bots. 
Tennis Australia uses a multi-channel approach to advertising ticket sales, but as the 2018 tournament approached, it wanted a more cost-effective way to engage and interact with fans where they’re already spending their time—on Facebook and Instagram.
Tennis Australia turned to its media agency, Zenith, who recommended using a bot for Messenger to appeal to last-minute ticket buyers and prompt them to go ahead and complete the transaction while remaining in a familiar environment.
Launched in October 2017 as part of a video and photo ad campaign on Facebook and Instagram the bots began. The video ads ran in News Feed, and showed live-action shots of popular tennis players, while the photo ads showed images of the stadium. Clicking on the ads took people into the Messenger experience.
The bot helped fans identify the types of tickets available and select their preferences, such as Ground Pass or Stadium, match dates and times and day or night sessions. The bot would then serve up results and prices. To complete the transaction, the Ticketek purchase page opened in Messenger’s website, where people could select their seat and enter payment information.
The target demographic was men and women aged 18–54 years old, as well as to those with an interest in the Australian Open and key players.
Later, the organisation compartmentalised the interest-based audience by the type of ticket they bought and created lookalike audiences based on them. Tennis Australia also showed ads to website visitors who had shown interest in the tournament but had not purchased.
Tennis Australia measured the results of the October 11, 2017–January 25, 2018 campaign via Facebook Ads Manager, which showed that click-to-Messenger ads had a lower cost per conversion than ads that linked directly to Ticketek. The campaign also delivered:

  • 24.3X return on ad spend

  • 20% higher return on ad spend with click-to-Messenger ads compared to link ads

  • 16% lower cost per acquisition with click-to-Messenger ads compared to link ads

  • 4,600 sales from click-to-Messenger ads