Volleyball World uses Segment to build relationships with 800 million fans and grow the world’s fourth largest sport

With Segment, Volleyball World was able to generate a ‘Single Fan View’ and use integrated customer data to drive engagement and deliver 531% ROI on all ad spend.

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“Working with Segment has allowed us to develop a future-looking customer data strategy. Unlike other CDPs, Segment isn’t just about collecting data in one place – the focus is on what you then do with this integrated data to transform the customer journey and drive business value. Segment has enabled us to approach customer data in the right way and build an integrated ecosystem ready for the future.”

— Motasem El Bawab, Head of Digital, Volleyball World

Volleyball World is a new partnership between the FIVB and CVC Capital Partners aimed at driving growth, innovation, and investment in volleyball around the globe. Volleyball World’s goal is to create an integrated ecosystem connecting all volleyball stakeholders (fans, athletes, corporate partners) together through both digital and live events.

Volleyball is the fourth most popular sport globally, with more than 800 million fans and high participation across the world.

In order to achieve this ambition, Volleyball World needed a solid framework for customer data which would support its direct to consumer strategy. It was, however, relying on a fragmented ecosystem for customer data, which meant that it had little understanding of customers and a lack of confidence in the accuracy and quality of its data. 

Volleyball World turned to Segment to create a centralized, single source of truth for event and user behavior data.

In doing so, it was able to:

  • Drive a 400% increase in revenue in 2021 from one key event on its OTT channel.

  • Reduce cost per acquisition (CPA) by more than 50% and deliver ROI of more than 531% on all ad spend.

  • Collect and aggregate customer data across all touchpoints into a single pane of glass view to build a deep understanding of its customers.

Integrating customer data across a fragmented ecosystem

Volleyball World needed to develop a much deeper understanding of customer behavior across all touchpoints. Its customer data was dispersed across several databases and there was no way to aggregate this data to analyze interactions across channels. 

For instance, the company had three different sign-on systems for customers – one on its website, one on its OTT channel and another for its mobile application. Customer data was duplicated across databases and this was preventing any direct email or push notifications to customers.

Elsewhere, the company was investing in social media advertising but without any in-depth insight into customers, making it very difficult to track performance and ROI.

Motasem El Bawab, Head of Digital at Volleyball World, recognized an urgent need to adopt a more strategic approach to customer data to support the organization’s vision. It needed to create a ‘Single Fan View’ which provided a full, end-to-end view of all customer interaction across the funnel and established the foundation for more compelling, personalized fan experiences in the future.  

Volleyball World chose to deploy Segment because of its focus on customer value, as well as its capabilities and functionality. Motasem recognized how Segment would not only collect and unify customer data, but would then allow the company to activate this data in a range of exciting ways to optimize the fan experience. 

The company has a modular, ‘plug and play’ technology stack, so Segment’s ease of integration was perfectly aligned to this and supported any potential changes in the future. And in the sports industry, which is seasonal by nature, the scalable nature of Segment was ideally suited to the company’s business model.

Creating a single source of truth for customer data

Volleyball World brought in Segment to integrate multiple data sources into a single Customer Data Platform (CDP) and manage its data across all of its products and channels.

Volleyball World - Tech Stack

Volleyball World has integrated 12 Sources into Segment and 5 Destinations. The company uses a number of analytics tools including Google Analytics and Facebook Ads, and it deploys Oracle Eloqua for email marketing. It also uses Pushwoosh for push notifications on mobile.

With a CDP in place, Volleyball World is now able to capture data from every interaction and touchpoint across its website, OTT channel and mobile application into a single repository in a standardized way.  

This is providing the company with rich insight into its customers – for example, Motasem and his team can see the exact moment when a customer drops off its OTT channel during a live match stream – and this is completely altering the way that the company approaches customer engagement and communication. 

Segment is deployed widely across the organization, by the Business Strategy team, the CRM team and the Acquisition team, which has connected Segment to Facebook Ad Manager and is now able to use audiences created in Segment to create localized campaigns.

Activating customer data to enhance customer experience and drive performance and revenue

By deploying Segment, Volleyball World has not only been able to collect and manage its customer data in a single platform, it has also been able to activate this data to drive significant improvements in campaign performance.

For instance, using audiences created in Segment, Volleyball World was able to generate extremely strong conversion rates and high volumes of subscribers to one of the key events on its OTT channel, the Volleyball Nations League. As a result, the company saw a 400% increase in revenue in 2021, compared to 2019, even though it only staged one such event, compared to four events in 2019. This was only made possible by the fact that the acquisition team had access to trusted customer data and could engage core and affiliated audiences with relevant content.

In addition, the introduction of Segment has resulted in a sharp improvement in ad performance. Cost per Acquisition (CPA) has been reduced by more than 50% between 2019 and 2021, and ROI on all spend is now above 531%. 

On the back of these results, Volleyball World is now looking to extend its use of Segment beyond customer acquisition and engagement. Using Segment Personas, the company will be able to provide personalized experiences for fans, based on their previous behaviors and interactions, and their favorite teams and players. This is expected to lead to significant improvements in customer retention and lifetime value (LTV).

What’s next? Volleyball World plans to launch new digital products such as an ecommerce channel and e-ticketing solution. With Segment in place, it will be able to cross promote these new offerings and target customers with personalized incentives to build value and drive bottom line growth.

“Segment has enabled us to integrate and activate our customer data, and to develop a much deeper understanding of our customers. We’re creating an integrated ecosystem which allows us to own the fan relationship and achieve our ambition of growing our sport around the world.” - Motasem El Bawab, Head of Digital, Volleyball World

Industry: Media
Location: Switzerland