We detail our e-commerce success for the retail Hockey brand, Total Hockey.
Not all success comes with big budgets and big revenue. Sometimes the best examples of precision, of exceptional attention to detail, and meticulous strategic thinking come from niche markets like for Total Hockey. This case study exemplifies our detail-oriented approach to B2C performance, and our effective use of data, trends and market demand. We never took our eyes off the granular detail and as a result saw the brand’s highest sales day EVER, even having taken the account from a successful competitor.
“The help and guidance that Ash and the team have given to us has helped make our Google Ads better and more efficient.” (Total Hockey)
When Loud Mouth Media (LMM) took over the Total Hockey (TH) account from a competitor, the B2C sports & leisure retailer needed to ramp up performance. The Hockey season was approaching in September and Black Friday would be a key day for driving revenue ahead of the Christmas season. We had clear objectives:
When Total Hockey appointed LMM, they needed to see results and return on investment. They were unhappy with their brand performance to date and needed a drive of activity ahead of the 2021/22 Hockey season (Sept – April) to set them up for strong sales in the Black Friday to Christmas period. It’s peak sales time for sales, and they needed LMM to supercharge their success.
As with any niche / specialist sector or seasonal ecommerce brand, it’s imperative to always listen to the data. We knew from day 1 we needed to concentrate on the granular details of the account, products, conversion rates, audience traits, bidding strategies, keywords, and scale the activity and budget up to achieve Black Friday objectives.
Our analysis had to start with TH’s product portfolio. They offered huge global brands like Opo, Gray and Kookaburra, so we knew if we could enhance visibility across the GDN we could increase sales. We took a deep dive into the products available and rated them from highest value to lowest in terms of conversion value (%). This way we could ensure when increasing visibility, it was for the most conversion rich products.
We could see females had a higher conversion rating than men, and with kids’ products being a high revenue product, we started to understand a big audience was mothers looking to buy Hockey gear for their kids. This was further strengthened when we saw the highest intent audience age range. Key traits of the audience included sporting goods, cycling enthusiasts, fitness equipment, and other fitness / sporting themes. This analysis was key for our Black Friday planning, as we knew if we could target athletic parents with kids interested in Hockey, we could increase sales.
Bidding Strategy Analysis
To ensure we got to Hockey season and Black Friday with flying results, we made sure A/B testing was a key strategic addition to our campaign work. We started with testing bidding strategies, specifically Target CPA versus Maximise Conversions. We split budget 50/50 across both and reviewed the data weekly and monthly, to see which performed best. Maximise conversions was driving the most conversions. We then commenced A/B testing ad copy across campaigns, and found the audience converted more when given clear and concise CTAs like ‘Buy Now’ or where the headlines matched keywords like ‘Hockey Gear: Buy Now’. We then paused all campaigns that utilised other headlines and scaled up budget against those driving website traffic and conversions.
Then to round out our A/B testing phase was keyword testing. We tapped into our exclusive Google Premier Partner network and worked with our dedicated Google team to guide us through an ROI test on Broad Match versus Exact Match & Key Phrase Matches. With Google’s industry insights and access to previous Black Friday market demand for this niche sector, they ensured we had a pre-Black Friday test on keywords. The results showed Broad Match keywords were driving more conversions, and driving a higher conversion value – aka, Revenue.
Now we understood TH’s audience and revenue generating products, we knew what campaigns to run to strategically drive sales. Those were Search Campaigns and Smart Shopping Campaigns. Display was ruled out based on previous performance, and busy parents buying sports gear for their children would have limited internet time. Budget was therefore invested in Search / Shopping. Search was key as the highest intent audience would be using the GDN to search for key product names or brand names, like ‘kookaburra hockey stick’ and we knew TH needed to be the first website they saw. Smart shopping would then allow us to gain wider reach amongst the Google shopping network, and with AI bidding in place, it would ensure we maintained a high ROAS and high CTRs. Smart Shopping campaigns would also ensure those busy parents would be able to make a quick and easy purchase, with limited hassle, ensuring CX remained positive.
By the time we hit Hockey season (Sept) we understood TH’s offering, their audience and how best to strategically optimise their campaigns for success. We therefore increased visibility, scaled up budget for Black Friday, and watched the results roll in. Black Friday 2021 not only hit a new high for TH’s daily sales, but it was also the biggest day of online sales in Total Hockey history. Our attention to detail had meant we could make informed decisions on their account and ensure they got the best ROI.