fan engagement in football

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Fan Engagement and the Need for Speed

16th June 2021

In sport, speed can be the difference between winning and losing - that split second in decision making, or the spotting of a gap in an opposition’s defence before they do. When it comes to engaging sports fans, speed off the pitch is as important as speed on it.

Fan engagement is at its most powerful when it’s ‘in the moment’, capitalising on the emotional ties inherent in sports fandom. For sports digital teams, the speed with which they can respond to these moments by creating tailored and unique engagement experiences becomes a competitive advantage.

If speed of content creation is important, so too is the ecosystem it lives in. Whilst the world of social media is a fertile ground for audience growth, reach and engagement, it comes at the cost of reduced data capture opportunities. Moreover, the world of social media metrics such as likes or impressions - whilst a valuable insight into fan interest and engagement - rarely translate into meaningful monetisation opportunities.

At touch.global we’re on a mission to change the state of play. We’re guided by a purpose to provide football clubs with a quick and easy way to produce content that interacts and engages with fans and, crucially, facilitates this engagement within owned environments such as club mobile applications or websites, to allow first party data capture.

Touch, the sports industry’s self-serve, interactive content creation platform, allows football clubs to create professional, branded content experiences at ease, at speed, and that are valued by sponsors. Touch consists of three core pillars: create, engage, monetise - each targeting a stage of the fan engagement journey. Let’s explore them:

CREATE

At a time where sports organisations are facing economic and resource constraints within their internal teams, content creation can suffer. Touch combines intelligent workflow automations and customisable engagement templates using Club brand guidelines, with premium third-party sports data to create interactive, free-to-play engagement experiences that fans and sponsors value highly.

The Touch experiences typically focus on game periods, including Fan line up predictors, match predictors; in-game events such as half-time fan polls, dynamic fan sentiment trackers; or post-match debriefs including player ranking, video vote and MOTM. Of course, the modern digital sporting experience wouldn’t be complete without a few gamified features such as spin to win and merchandise prize generators. And this is just the start.

So, delivering timely and relevant content to your audience when they’re most engaged is clearly a powerful tool, but it must be built on solid foundations. After all, delivering timely content no-one wants to see is like scoring a goal once the offside flag has been raised - entertaining, but ultimately useless. Each of our experiences has been independently tested by our ‘Fan Community’ - a focus group of thousands of football fans - to ensure they are optimised and validated for engagement.

Don’t just take my word for it - our data suggests that 60% of the Fan Community say they’re more likely to visit their club app or site if Touch experiences where available.

ENGAGE

The word ‘engagement’ in sports marketing tends to wear many hats. For some, it represents the passive reception of content, measured by metrics such as impressions, reach, and video views, alongside their audience’s immediate reaction to that content - likes, comments, and shares. However, in reality, true engagement is a two-way street where fans feel empowered to co-create content with their club, seeing transparency in the outcomes of their interactions.

Touch allows content to be surfaced in the social media environments where fans spend their time yet drive engagement to the owned and first-party digital platforms of the club creating it. With the power of content co-creation and gamification, fans increase their dwell time and strength of engagement, providing triggers for repeated and shared interactions. It’s this increase in the strength and scale of fan engagement within first-party platforms that lays the foundations for the final stage of the customer engagement journey - monetisation.

MONETISE

At a time when the traditional sporting revenue streams are under pressure, utilising the power of digital to unlock incremental revenue opportunities has never been more important. Touch allows organisations to capture first-party data from new and existing audiences interacting with their experiences, creating opportunities for personalisation and enhanced conversion and it provides clubs with brand new sponsorship opportunities for new and existing sponsors.

When Tom Cruise delivered his now-famous line from Top Gun, he was unwittingly voicing the content delivery challenge of the digital age!!

Touch is a platform built for speed but its main purpose is to drive revenue for football clubs – ideally allowing performance off the pitch to be in harmony with the performance on it.

Get in touch with me at ted@touch.global to learn more about how Touch can support your Club.

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