How Hash Ads boosted player trials by 60% for a leading football academy using a WhatsApp chatbot

Stars of Africa is the biggest youth football academy in South Africa. It has groomed more than 15 professional football players representing Europe as well as the South African national football team - Bafana Bafana.

1346
TRIAL APPLICATIONS LAST SEASON
70%
PLAYERS ATTENDED THE TRIALS
60%
INCREASE IN REVENUE FROM TRIALS
1346
TRIAL APPLICATIONS LAST SEASON
70%
PLAYERS ATTENDED THE TRIALS
60%
INCREASE IN REVENUE FROM TRIALS
landbot case study hash ads
COMPANY

Stars of Africa - a football academy established in 2003 with the mission to develop young football talent by providing players quality skill instruction & coaching.

HEADQUARTERS

Johannesburg - South Africa 🇿🇦

EMPLOYEES

INDUSTRY

Sports and Fitness

AGENCY PARTNERS

Hash Ads is a creative agency that specialises in videography, paid media buying and digital campaigns.

1346
TRIAL APPLICATIONS LAST SEASON
70%
PLAYERS ATTENDED THE TRIALS
60%
INCREASE IN REVENUE FROM TRIALS
landbot case study hash ads
COMPANY

Stars of Africa - a football academy established in 2003 with the mission to develop young football talent by providing players quality skill instruction & coaching.

HEADQUARTERS

Johannesburg - South Africa 🇿🇦

EMPLOYEES

INDUSTRY

Sports and Fitness

In 2003, a group of passionate football-loving entrepreneurs took the challenge of helping young football players and coaches to evolve and grow professionally. They established the Stars of Africa Football Academy to become a leading force in Africa’s youth development and coach education.

Today, they focus on discovering raw talent and providing quality coaching and skill instruction facilitated by a fully qualified and highly skilled technical team. The academy also offers youth development for the players, who, in many instances, come from disadvantaged communities.

In a similar spirit, the academy is building new development centres in schools and communities across the country to improve the accessibility to quality sports coaching.

With the influx of player inquiries for trials, coaching, and league matches, the academy roped in Hash Ads as its creative agency partner to increase awareness about the program and transform the player trial & coaching experience using an innovative approach.

landbot case study challenge
THE CHALLENGE

Creating awareness about animal cruelty and improving engagement with prospective donors to improve leads

Capturing a larger cut of the player pool and the missed revenue potential

The open football trials

Every December for the last four years, the academy has held an open trial for young individuals aspiring to be professional football players. Three months before the trials would start, the academy started receiving close to 500 messages per week on WhatsApp from players and their parents of the players—all of it organically.

landbot case study hash ads

A player registration nightmare

The team didn’t have any automation in place. Hence, one person would manually ask each incoming player 7-8 questions and capture the relevant player data, while another person would copy and paste these responses into a Google Sheet one by one.

The existing trial registration process on WhatsApp Business App was painstakingly slow for the players as well as the Academy team. There were too many manual steps, and the process often took a long time with a lot of back and forth to confirm player attendance for the trial. The Academy team faced challenges scaling the process to reach maximum efficiency while also improving the overall player experience.

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THE SOLUTION

Automating academy operations on the most used app in South Africa

In South Africa, WhatsApp chat automation has been growing as an attractive, cheaper alternative to other services like SMS messaging, which is expensive and doesn’t offer a scalable two-way conversational experience with interactive media options.

Some parts of South Africa still have limited internet access. The majority of the players signing up for trials have limited access or internet bandwidth. Hence, placing a web chatbot on the website or even launching a Facebook Messenger bot didn’t feel like the apt strategy.

Faeez Saloojee | Hash Ads - Agency Partner

According to Statista, WhatsApp is the most popular social media app in South Africa, with some 93% of internet users in the country using the messaging app.

Playing on the offensive with WhatsApp

With WhatsApp’s increasing popularity and penetration in South Africa, the team at Hash Ads decided that the best way to get closer to players and their parents was to be where they already are—on WhatsApp.

Building automation with Landbot felt like a no-brainer

Automating a chatbot from scratch can be an uphill task, especially with no prior coding experience. The team wanted a tool that could make the implementation easy, and Landbot checked all these boxes:

Visual, drag & drop bot builder

Intuitive & friendly user interface

Native integration with Google Sheets

Well defined and simple documentation

We are a creative agency, and chatbots are something that we don’t do as part of our services. However, since we were already providing creative services to our client, we suggested automating WhatsApp as a solution. They were happy to let us experiment, and it was the first time we implemented a conversational solution using Landbot.

Sailing through uncharted waters with stellar support

Understanding the nuances of the WhatsApp Business API and identifying the relevant use cases for our client became easier with Landbot’s personalized onboarding process. The customer support team at Landbot was also readily available, understood our needs and requirements while building the bot, and provided the necessary advice.

Tackling the basics - A guided trial registration experience

The Hash Ads team started by creating a flow for football trials registration whose primary role was to capture player data like name, location, player position, and birth year to automatically qualify, segment, and then export the data to an internal database using the Google Sheets integration.

Stars of Africa bot - Register for a trial

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And the game begins - The trial process

After the trial registration process is complete, the chatbot will ask for explicit consent from the player to receive proactive WhatsApp notifications from Stars of Africa about the trial dates and other process updates.

The proactive notifications sent in the form of template messages have helped the Academy team improve operational efficiency as well as increase the player turnout for the trials.

The younger players love the quick response and the instant gratification that comes from real-time interaction with a chatbot.

The team has been liberated from the manual work of sending messages to the selected players informing them about the trial dates and other details, including the location of the trials and receiving player confirmations.

WhatsApp messages can be automated to send interactive notifications that support text, images, emoji, GIF, video, audio, location, and PDF files.

Stars of Africa bot - Trial details & attendance confirmation

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Step 4 - Campaign assets submission, review & approval
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That’s not all! After completing the trials, players and parents proactively receive information about the selection results via the WhatsApp bot.

Stars of Africa bot - Trial process & Trial results

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That’s not all! After completing the trials, players and parents proactively receive information about the selection results via the WhatsApp bot.

Stars of Africa bot - Trial process & Trial results

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customer 3rd person
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My origins are in ecommerce where lead generation can be complex. Thanks to Landbot we achieved improvements of up to 400% in 3 months, with the same advertising expense.
Marco Borsani

customer 2nd person
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Landbot allow us to go beyond the simple concept of chatbot or livechat and to provide to our customer and even to ourselves a complete and immersive conversational experience.
Lara Petraglia

Marketing Manager | Conversational Design

landbot case study results
THE RESULTS

Ever since the Academy automated their WhatsApp communications, the recurring revenue from trials has increased over 60%. Over 1300+ football trial applications were received last season via WhatsApp, leading to an all-time high player attendance of 70%.

whatsapp bot automation hash ads

A better player onboarding experience

Landbot’s WhatsApp automation solution made it easier for players and their parents to register for football trials. Easy accessibility on mobile via WhatsApp made it possible for more individuals to participate in a trial and allowed them to do so sooner. It enabled the Academy team to easily review more registrations and quickly notify players and parents about trial dates as well as trial results.

Instead of having trials only once a year now, the academy does trials frequently every couple of months.

Faeez Saloojee | Hash Ads - Agency Partner

Increased player opt-in, attendance & revenue

Stars of Africa has been able to keep players updated and looped in on upcoming trial dates, matches & leagues with Landbot’s proactive messaging feature using HSM templates. The majority of the players who register via WhatsApp opt-in for future communication because of how seamless the interaction has been—resulting in over 70% of registered players attending the trials.

The Academy charges a trial fee of R100 from every player. We have seen the revenues increase by over 60% with the increased attendance.

Improved operational efficiency

The academy team manages all communication with the registered players and their parents through WhatsApp, allowing the Stars of Africa team to save time. Football coaches who were earlier involved in player operations now focus on developing the young talent on the playing field.

The team used to spend numerous hours manually copying & pasting player data, reviewing applications, sending trial confirmations & results when they primarily relied on the WhatsApp Business App. However, thanks to WhatsApp Business API and Landbot, the increased productivity has enabled the team to focus their energies on revenue-driving aspects of the business & expansion.
CAMPAIGN TYPE
Conversational Design Bot-Powered eCommerce Campaign for an aluminum planter manufacturer.
Conversational Design Graphic
RESULTS
Close to 5,000 chats with 40%+ conversion to lead and a CPL of 1.71€.
CAMPAIGN TYPE
Own Conversational Design Bot-Powered Facebook Campaign.
Conversational Design Graphic
RESULTS
Over 64% lead conversion with 345 completed chats out of 536, with a CPL of 2.44$.
CAMPAIGN TYPE
Landbot on a full landing page + integration with Active Campaign for the email marketing campaign.
SOAP Graphic
RESULTS
From 6665 emails sent, the open email rate was 73.64%, and 61.97% of clicks.
CAMPAIGN TYPE
Levels of engagement - email marketing campaign
SOAP Graphic
RESULTS
In red, the number of opened emails are the biggest slice of the pie chart.
LEADS GENERATED
Number of leads acquired using a standard landing page VS using Landbot for lead generation.
552
😑 Landing Page
3588
🏆 Landbot
4000
3000
2000
1000
500
0
RESULTS
552 leads acquired with a landing page VS 3,588 leads using Landbot.
COST PER LEAD (CPL)
Cost per lead results when using a landing page instead of using Landbot.
Landing Page 😒
CPL of over
650$
Landbot 🚀
CPL below 400$
RESULTS
CPL of over 650$ when using a landing page VS less than 400$ with Landbot.
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GROWTH WITH LANDBOT

And that's the goal, to win together

With services reaching the masses on mobile, platforms like WhatsApp have transformed the digital world into a global community without borders. In recent years, the digital evolution of the average internet user has accelerated 10x. Netizens have become savvier in adopting digital technologies and are ready to share opinions, connect or transact via smartphone.

There is a growing demand for bot services, especially WhatsApp; we realized this when we started building bots with Landbot. It has opened another revenue stream for our digital agency, and we have now made it a part of our service offerings.

Faeez Saloojee | Hash Ads - Agency Partner

Medium-sized businesses in all industries have understood the need to pivot to digital platforms to align with evolving consumer needs. Amidst this digital transformation, chatbots have become the go-to solution for automating conversations at scale, to improve business operations and boost revenues.

Agencies enable niche businesses like Stars of Africa to become more customer-centric with Landbot’s WhatsApp automation. They simplify a complex process and reduce the time required to complete repetitive tasks—saving time and money while boosting revenue without increasing overheads.

The team at Hash Ads is constantly adding more features to the chatbot. For instance, the chatbot will send educational content like game techniques and coaching tips to non-selected players in the upcoming releases and capture operational data from selected players like jersey numbers, size, etc.

With plans to open multiple academies across South Africa to foster the sporting culture in the country, Stars of Africa is already on a hyper-growth trajectory, and we at Landbot are always here to cheer & support them as they take on new challenges.