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Volume 21 No. 13
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Facebook gives Bucks real-time impact on sales

A few years ago, the Milwaukee Bucks put some of their game highlights on Facebook and were blown away at the popularity of the platform.

“Our viewer engagement rates just spiked,” said Mike Grahl, the team’s chief digital officer.

When Grahl saw that Facebook was offering an opportunity to use the social media platform to help sell season tickets, he jumped at the chance. If Facebook was able to increase engagement with content, it should also be able to increase engagement in the ticket sales process.

“Season-ticket sales is a big area — it’s a primary revenue stream for us,” he said. “But selling season tickets online is not an easy process.”

The Bucks’ Facebook partnership has become about more than simply increasing ticket sales. Grahl said it also is about engaging with the team’s fans in as close to real time as possible.

The campaign created custom ads based on more than if a Facebook user happened to like

a Milwaukee Bucks page. It took into account whether someone had bought tickets in the past, how old they were, and where they lived. An ad for season tickets would be placed into the news feeds of the people who were most likely to buy them.

“We want to connect as quick as possible with anyone who shows an interest in Bucks season tickets,” Grahl said. “This enabled sales in as close to real time as possible.”

Last season, the Bucks used information gleaned from Facebook to identify sales leads. The result was much more targeted marketing that delivered results, Grahl said.“It had a significant impact for us,” he said.

The team reported a 36 times return on ad spend, with 33 percent of the leads buying the advertised product and 20 percent buying upgraded ticket products. The Bucks said they experienced a 40 percent higher close rate compared with other online-based leads.

Results so far this season are tracking even better, Grahl said.