With Guidance from BFO, the Miami HEAT Turned a Limited Ad Budget into a Profitable eCommerce Paid Search Program

The Miami HEAT

THE BACKGROUND

A professional basketball team, the Miami HEAT compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference Southeast Division, and play their home games at American Airlines Arena.

The three-time NBA champions play 41 home games at American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL, every season and have an international fan base. Like other NBA franchises, the team sells team merchandise year-round to generate revenue and expand its brand.

The team is “easy to hate… until you get to know them.” From pregame practice to the postgame locker room, many fans will say the Miami HEAT puts on a fascinating show. They also happen to boast some of the hardest-working, best conditioned, most professional, unselfish, toughest, meanest, nastiest players in the NBA.

THE CHALLENGE

While the Miami HEAT had an active and successful paid social program in place, they did very little with paid search beyond an occasional campaign to promote new merchandise. In 2019, their marketing team came to BFO for guidance in experimenting with paid search leveraging Google Ads.

Paid search initiatives for the client included ecommerce Miami HEAT merchandise sales. 

Challenges included: limited budget, mostly borrowed from the paid social budget; off-season slower sales; numerous ecommerce vendors selling merchandise for a lower price and bidding up value on paid search ads

THE SOLUTION

With a limited budget, ecommerce sales for Miami HEAT merchandise required a unique and specialized approach.

The wider audience available to merchandise ads fits a more typical model for ad targeting. In addition to ad testing and tracking user behavior, the data captured proved essential for showing merchandise to the right audience. For example:

Using Feedonomics, we passed data to Google for advanced targeting; the marketing teams were able to build end-to-end attribution on Shopify. Merchandise was also sold via Google Shopping, adding another means to reach the retail audience.

+4.2X

ROAS

+5X

Ad Spend

$10

Average ROAS

+150%

Sales Increase

THE RESULTS

Despite a limited budget, in working together, the Miami HEAT and BFO, using Google’s tools, platforms and analytics, created the justification for targeted monthly six-figure paid search ad spend.

All campaigns produced valuable learnings which now inform campaign targeting, creative and ad spend. Specific results were as follows.

The applied learnings from the Ecommerce campaigns taught the client how to navigate the heavy competition for merchandise sales. Specifically, learnings included how to show the right merchandise to the right audience and when to invest and when to pull back. Key metrics recorded:

  • Increasing ROAS from $2.21 in June of 2019 to $9.30 in July after optimizing product-level bids
  • A peak ROAS of $14.30 in August 2019 
  • Ad spend doubling from October to November 2019 with a consistent ROAS of $12 
  • A 5x ad spend increase in December 2019 with an $11 ROAS 
  • A 2019 average ROAS of $10 
  • Shopify sales increasing from 20% to 50% in the past fiscal year for paid search

By leveraging Google’s automation, algorithm, and analytics together with our guidance, the Miami HEAT now have a dynamic and profitable paid search program in place.

We’re ready when you are!