This may seem obvious.
For sports teams generating fan engagement is generally not a challenge. Sports fans are seeking out content and more than happy to provide their favorite team and league plenty of likes, comments, and shares. The numbers back this up; in an extensive benchmark study of social media conducted by RivalIQ in early 2019, Sports Teams were second in engagement on both Facebook and Instagram.
Pro teams have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of followers. Minor league teams, as well, are generally pillars of their communities and attract the attention of their local population.
But what does all of this engagement do for them? Do they know who liked their posts? Does it help them learn about each of their digital fans? Is there a way to leverage all of this data to drive revenue?
Engagement is not enough
A few years ago, marketers could more easily answer these questions. Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. were more than happy to provide brands with a wealth of data. But, over the past couple of years that has - fortunately for consumers - dramatically changed (see: Cambridge Analytica). The tech companies, these days, have gone far in walling off all customer data, which has dramatically changed the game for sophisticated marketers that hope to utilize data to better serve and target their audiences.
So in an era when data is more critical than ever, how can sports marketers know who they are engaging with in order to best capture insights of their large audience? While the fan base is large, most teams only “know” about 10-20% of their actual fanbase. Sure, season ticket holders are known as well as fans that have subscribed to a team’s newsletter and, perhaps, purchased tickets. But what about the other 80-90%? Furthermore, how well do teams know those fans that they do have in their database? And let’s not forget about fans living outside the region that only support the team via TV and Social Media? While these fans may not have the ability to purchase tickets, they can drive revenue through many other ways.
Currently, the best way to capture individual profile data is to capture “declared data,” i.e. data that the fan willingly shares. This is not a new tactic and, traditionally, this has been done via forms and landing pages. Teams implement contests and prizes in order to get their fan base to provide key data points. While this method does collect information, it struggles to obtain completions. Forms that are tied to contests have the highest conversion rate (CVR) of all types of forms and even these have just a 34% completion rate, but the average CVR is just 17 %. Surely there must be a better way!
Let the games begin!
Fortunately, there is a better way. The trick is to obtain declared data naturally, through easy and conversational channels. Instead of sending out a mass email or posting a generic form to Facebook, teams can leverage 1:1 channels (such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter DM or even through a team’s mobile app or website) to take a more conversational approach. Getting a fan to provide information to a “friend” is a lot more likely to succeed.
The data backs up the success of this method. For example, at Pico we allow teams to have these 1:1 conversations, with native, seamless experiences that keep the fan inside his or her preferred channel, usually starting first with an engaging game and then continuing the interaction conversationally. Questions asked through these interactions help the team to better understand who their fan on the other side is, and have a CVR of about 90%. Pretty incredible numbers demonstrating how much more success can be had when marketers shift the framework from commercial to conversational.
And once you’re talking to them, you can then drive revenue from them as well. Leveraging the data, fans in these interactions can be pushed the right offers at the right time. Pico data shows an astounding 35% Click Through Rate (CTR) on offers from initial conversations. Once data is further leveraged and offers are pushed out to specifically targeted segments at a later time, rates get as high as 60-70%.
That’s the key:
1. Get the fan engaged as a friend.
2. Then simply ask him or her what you want to know.
3. Share offers and content that make sense for that specific fan.
4. Increase your revenues.