Case Study

Defining PropSwap's Digital Space

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PropSwap uses Bonsai to overcome sports betting’s pandemic downturn while reducing customer acquisition costs by 50%

PropSwap is an online sports betting platform that enables users to buy and sell bets similar to the way folks can bid on auctions on eBay. For example, PropSwap users can bet on things like who will hit the most home runs in the Major Leagues this year and who will win next year’s NBA championship. They can also make more complicated bets, choosing who will win the NBA championship and the World Series, for example.

The Challenge

Losing traction during the COVID-19 pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in March 2020, the sports and gaming industry was flipped upside down as sporting events were postponed or canceled altogether, like the popular NCAA March Madness tournament. At the same time, casinos shut down, preventing sports bettors from buying tickets to see the secondary market. Due to this confluence of factors, PropSwap saw its marketplace struggle, with fewer and fewer bets taking place.

To overcome this challenge, the company started looking for ways to engage more users in a cost-effective manner.

The Solution

Supercharging digital marketing with Bonsai

At the time, PropSwap was spending the bulk of its marketing budget on terrestrial radio advertisements. While this approach enabled the company to precisely target customers in specific markets — and engage with niche audiences, like experienced sports bettors — it becomes expensive quickly, particularly at scale. Making matters worse, PropSwap’s competitors were buying time in the same locations, which made it more difficult for the company to truly stand out.

Seeking a better way forward, PropSwap began looking for ways to boost its online reach and accelerate its digital marketing efforts. Since the company didn’t have much experience with online marketing, PropSwap knew its best bet was to partner with a digital agency that knew the ins and outs of digital and could help them build a modern, resilient digital customer acquisition strategy. And that’s when they found Bonsai, a marketing and management consultancy built for the digital age.

"Bonsai has been tremendous to work with. Their attention to detail and expertise in the field of paid search marketing has been extremely beneficial for PropSwap. I would recommend them to any growing online business."
Ian Epsein
Co Founder, PropSwap
The Results

Establishing a digital presence and building a smarter business

Since making the decision to join forces with Bonsai, PropSwap hasn’t looked back.

“Bonsai has been tremendous to work with,” explains Ian Epstein, one of PropSwap’s cofounders. “Their attention to detail and expertise in the field of paid search marketing has been extremely beneficial for PropSwap. I would recommend them to any growing online business.”

Here are some of the specific benefits the online sports betting platform has experienced thanks to its partnership with Bonsai.

A robust digital presence

With Bonsai’s help, PropSwap was able to establish an online presence and first-party audience strategy while taking advantage of a number of digital tools, including search ads, display ads, email marketing, measurement, native advertising, paid social, and more.

For example, the Bonsai team helped build sophisticated audience lists around website activity for remarketing purposes. They also started a weekly email campaign and created promotions based on customer behaviors.

As a result, the PropSwap team was able to reach a wider range of potential users more effectively, and with less effort. They were also able to increase customer retention by 33 percent.

A unified marketing approach

Suffice it to say that starting a digital marketing initiative for the first time is complicated, with multiple ad platforms, channels, and policies to consider. Thanks to Bonsai’s expertise in measurement and search advertising, PropSwap was able to cut through the complexity and achieve strong results online.

In turn, PropSwap was able to optimize return on ad spend (ROAS) across all channels while identifying areas where radio ads could increase results for digital.

Decreased customer acquisition costs

As an online betting platform, PropSwap resides in a highly competitive space and competes against other online sportsbooks that have incredibly deep pockets. By building an attribution model for online and radio conversions, Bonsai was able to help PropSwap drive the best value in specific markets.

Altogether, Bonsai was able to help PropSwap decrease its customer acquisition costs by 50 percent. Plus, Bonsai ran a bid optimization algorithm that got the company clicks on searches for every one out of three of its competitors. The algorithm ingested all digital ad exposure and touchpoint data — including locations, keywords, day of the week, audiences, and demographics — to find the best prospects and audiences across platforms.

Accelerated user growth

With Bonsai’s digital pipeline guiding the way forward, PropSwap was able to surpass the number of users the site had in all of 2020 during the first three months of 2021. By the time the football season rolled around — the biggest time of the year for PropSwap — the company had achieved 200 percent growth.

And they did it without increasing cost-per-click (CPC) spend. While other advertisers reported a 20 percent increase in CPC growth for 2022, Bonsai helped PropSwap keep its budget flat.

Business intelligence made easy

As PropSwap made the move to digital, Bonsai helped develop a framework to define betting media management and create KPIs to drive marketing and business decision-making.

To illustrate, PropSwap needed deeper insight than what traditional attribution modeling could deliver. The company wanted to understand customer behavior at the most granular level, and Bonsai developed a tracking model to understand the lifetime value of a customer and the behavior patterns of buyers and sellers. This gives PropSwap the intelligence they need to understand how UX changes impact outcomes, which sports events were driving the most customer acquisitions, and more.

A partner that can grow alongside them

By joining forces with Bonsai, PropSwap has built a more resilient business. As the company continues to scale, PropSwap is confident they have a talented partner that can keep pace with its growth. Since partnering with Bonsai in December 2020, PropSwap has closed two successful rounds of funding, and the future looks brighter than ever.

To learn more about how Bonsai can help your brand accelerate its digital marketing efforts, check this out.