2012 Sports Social Media Predictions


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How will sports marketers—from leagues, teams, and athletes to brands and properties—use social media to reach consumers in 2012. Activ8Social has selected 10 critical areas that we believe will fundamentally impact fans and sports marketers alike.

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2012 Sports Social Media Predictions

  1. 1. 10 SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA PREDICTIONS FOR 2012Contents1. Gamification2. Context3. Fan Identification4. Second Screen5. SoLoMo6. Measurement7. Google+8. Emerging Platforms9. Fansourcing10. Major Sports Eventswww.a8s.com 2
  2. 2. 10 SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA PREDICTIONS FOR 2012 1 GamificationLet the games begin! Most often defined as the use of game mechanics for non-game applications, the concept of “gamification” is not new. It’s typically suitedfor brands looking to drive action by turning otherwise dull tasks into games, butsports fans are already engaged and passionate about their teams and athletes sowhere does that leave the game layer for sports marketers?While sports fans may not require extra incentive to initially engage, this does notmean teams, leagues, sponsors and athletes can’t benefit from gamification. Forexample, gamification can be used to drum up support during a losing streak orduring a league’s offseason when fan engagement and interest naturally wane.It’s also an effective way to grow, identify, and reward active supporters as well asmove merchandise and bump ticket sales in quick spurts.Look for brands to leverage the in-game experience and creatively play off sportsterminology in their 2012 gamification efforts. For example, Lexus recentlypartnered with NBC Sports to produce a game called “TweetDrive” that allowsfootball fans to interact with sports trivia and win prizes during the NFL Playoffs.Each correct answer adds yardage toward a touchdown drive, which enters fansinto prize drawings. Other examples in the sports world involve the LA Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Baylor Bears. Predictive gaming applications during live sporting events are also making a comeback also and apps like OneUP Games and PrePlay Sports are leading the charge.www.a8s.com 3
  3. 3. 10 SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA PREDICTIONS FOR 2012 2 ContextThere’s more competition than ever for the attentionof your fans. Your message needs to stand out andcontext is what will break it through the clutter. “Context” means delivering theright message, at the right time and to the right audience, at the right locationData facilitates context and the most valuable data in 2012 is where you are rightnow. Lucky for you, sports fans are among the most likely demographics to own asmartphone which signals their location and intentions via social media. Thisprovides opportunities to serve relevant and timely offers. For example, if a sportsteam recognizes a fan’s Foursquare check-in to the arena, the team can then pusha 20% off discount to the team shop where the fan will then spend money.One of the emerging leaders in this area is Google which amassed a $200 billioncontextual business with AdWords. Now Google+ is leading the context battlebetween major social networks with its Circles feature by enabling brands tosegment fan groups.Shazam and Yahoo’s IntoNow give us a glimpse into the future of context in action.After just seconds of scanning your TV’s audio, these apps will recognize the gameor show you’re watching and serve relevant content to your mobile device. For example, ESPN partnered with Shazam to allow Winter X Games viewers to use the app to access video highlights, photos and even music from the event. You can begin to imagine the opportunities for activation and advertising that this type of second- screen capability provides marketers.www.a8s.com 4
  4. 4. 10 SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA PREDICTIONS FOR 2012 3 Fan Identification Identifying social media fans will emerge as a priority for sports teams and brands in 2012. Brands will start tracing their fans across social media platforms then leverage this insight to fill out their CRM database and monetize through more proven methods such as email marketing.It’s easy to get lost in the never-ending battle for “Likes” and followers, but theteams who focus on learning more about their social media fan bases will win themonetization war. The more you know about your fans, the better you are able totarget them with relevant marketing offers such as discounts on their favoriteplayer’s jersey or even their favorite foods at the concessions.So how do you learn more about your fan base? Most sports fans are willing toexchange personal information for a simple chance at winning tickets orautographed merchandise. Another option is to create a more sophisticatedambassador program featuring rewards and incentives for fans to link their socialmedia accounts and earn points for actions.Emerging platforms like Wayin enable teamslike the Denver Nuggets and LA Kings to learnmore about likes and interests of their fans ina fun way. Fans can then be segmented basedon answers for contextually relevant offersdown the road. Look for more innovativeefforts to track and reward top fans like theTampa Bay Lightning executed with RFIDenabled jerseys for season ticket holders.www.a8s.com 5
  5. 5. 10 SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA PREDICTIONS FOR 2012 4 Second Screen2011 saw the end of viewers using TV as a standalone technology. Now, viewersare using their tablet, smartphone, and laptop to interact with whateverprogramming they are watching—whether it’s checking-in, updating their status,or live-tweeting. For example, during the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final,7,196 tweets were sent per second. Viewers, particularly sports fans, are lookingfor opportunities to get in the game.According to one infographic, 70% of sports fans would like to interact digitallywhile watching a sporting event.Here are a few key predictions for 2012:Twitter and Facebook will launch their second-screenefforts. Twitter has the best chance of dominatingthis field because its focus is already on real-timeconversations. Facebook already utilizes Open Graphto share what users watch on Hulu if they’ve optedinto “frictionless sharing.”Facebook recommendations will be integrated into Comcast’s upcoming Xfinityexperience, where viewers can “like” shows from their TV sets. Social media postswill be included in the show. This has already been done on NBC’s The Voice andthe same can apply to sports games. Social TV producers of sporting events canpull tweets, Instagram pictures, Facebook posts, or GetGlue check-ins from thefans to show on the air. Second screen apps will consolidate.TV networks, cable providers, and tech startups have all launched or plan tolaunch their own second-screen app. Some of the apps developed this past yearinclude GetGlue, Miso, IntoNow, TV Dinner, and many more. There are also onesthat are sports-specific, such as Kwarter or Football Meister. Some have alreadydeveloped partnerships with providers such as AT&T and DirecTV. By the end ofthis year, we will see many of these startups either disappear, like BeeTV, or getacquired by a larger media entity.www.a8s.com 6
  6. 6. 10 SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA PREDICTIONS FOR 2012 5 So-Lo-MoOne of the latest buzzwords flying around the social media community is SoLoMo,which stands for Social, Local, and Mobile.It represents the intersection of these three concepts in order to personalize anexperience for the consumer. Many apps are already cashing in on this concept,including Foursquare, Gowalla, Shopkick, and even Starbucks. While 2011 wasfinally the year that geolocation and checking in burst onto the mainstream,expect to see the use of geo fully realized at sport stadiums and venues in 2012. “In 2012, more than half of all social media usage will occur on mobile devices adding greater emphasis and key context to location .”Two examples of sports So-Lo-Mo apps to keep your eye on in 2012:StadiumVIP, a free smartphone app, allows you to purchase food, beverages, andmerchandise right from your seat. Products are either delivered right to you orcan be picked up. Expect to see more of these stadium-focused apps where fanscan make purchases, check-in, and share their game experience with their friends.Footballmeister is a mobile gaming app that’s focused on soccer. It allows you topredict matches of all major European leagues, earn points, compete with friends,and earn titles, trophies, and badges in order to reach the ultimate goal ofbecoming “the Meister” of your favorite team or league. At the moment, the apponly utilizes the social and mobile elements of SoLoMo, but look for a locationcomponent before the end of 2012.www.a8s.com 7
  7. 7. 10 SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA PREDICTIONS FOR 2012 6 MeasurementA continuing trend from the past year (and theyear before that) is the sophistication with whichmarketers measure the ROI of their social mediamarketing efforts. Two out of five marketers havelittle confidence in the effectiveness of their abilityto measure social media campaigns, according torecent research from Chief Marketer.In 2012, actions will speak louder than words. ROI will continue to shift fromsimply measuring “likes” and followers to measuring amplification, cross-channelimpressions, and sales units purchased on a campaign and global basis. For example, Starcom MediaVest Group recently teamed up with ShareThis to pilot a new metric for ad buying that values content based on how often content is shared and the impact of those shares weighed against unique page views. Sharing metrics highlight brand affinities and identifies brand advocates. Expect to see more customized digital metrics develop.One of the most underserved areas of social media and mobile analytics is amongthe long-tail. For a few years now, products like Radian6 and Lithium have offeredexpensive measurement platforms. Now services like Sprout Social are emergingthat offer cheaper price points and simplified, yet powerful dashboards.For sports marketers, companies like Brand Affinities Technologies (BAT) offerdedicated tools like @BAT Social to effectively measure athlete campaigns fromboth a consumer and an advertiser perspective through patented technology.www.a8s.com 8
  8. 8. 10 SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA PREDICTIONS FOR 2012 7 Google+Google finally arrived on the social mediascene in 2011 with its much-anticipatedsocial network Google+. The site has quicklyamassed 90M registered users but hasgenerated low activity levels from users.The MLB and NBA jumped on the bandwagon, creating pages for each of theleagues’ teams. In 2012, we see Google+ becoming more widely used by brandslooking to integrate it into their social media plans using features such asHangouts, Circles ,and Ripples that Facebook and other platforms don’t offer.Hangouts: The video chat feature that allows up to 10 people is a unique featureto Google+ that the sports industry can use to create intimate experiencesbetween fans and athletes. The Dallas Cowboys conducted a hangout withlinebacker DeMarcus Ware where nine Cowboys fans had the chance to askquestions. Google+ ‘On Air’ functionality will open up the ability to broadcastHangouts to a wider audience in 2012. Expect sports organizations and athletesto make announcements, chat with fans, integrate contests and more.Circles: As Google+ becomes more popular, look for teams and athletes to useCircles as a way to segment fans whether it’s to share exclusive content with theirbiggest supporters or to target a specific demographic.Ripples: Google+’s measurement feature, Ripples, is unlike anything otherplatforms offer with the ability to see who is engaging with your content andwhom it is reaching. The incredibly useful feature will be used in 2012 to find themost engaged fans, reward them and reach out to their networks.2012 will be a make or break year for Google+. It’s the year that Google+ needs tofind its relevance in a Facebook world. The one driving force that will keep itgoing is the integration with the Google network and Google’s search engine.www.a8s.com 9
  9. 9. 10 SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA PREDICTIONS FOR 2012 8 Emerging Platforms2011 was the year that niche social networks came into play and stuck. As weenter a new year, look for these platforms to weave into the sports industry.These social networks have immense opportunity for sports organizations andfans to connect in smaller communities with focused interests. Expect teams,athletes, and brands to experiment with their marketing through platforms like,Tout, Viddy, IntoNow, Kwarter, Pinterest, and Instagram community.Pinterest: The online pinboard that allows users toorganize and share things they love has gained serioustraction, nearly quadrupling in users. While the serviceskews heavily female, Pinterest remains an openplatform for the sports industry. The visual nature ofPinterest lends itself to sports brands like Nike andUnder Armour to share their products and styles. IntoNow & Kwarter: As smartphones and tablets continue to grow, teams will use services such as IntoNow and Kwarter to connect with fans both at the game and home. Apps like these can create more interactive and engaging experiences.Tout & Viddy: Athletes and teams will use services like Tout and Viddy to updatefans with brief happenings. These short videos give fans instant access into thelife of an athlete such as pre-game rituals and the aches and pains of the sport.Instagram: Like Pinterest, Instagram, has experiencedenormous growth in 2011. Athletes are using it on aconsistent basis to share photos of their life. In 2012, lookfor teams to employ this popular app to show behind-the-scenes looks of the organization and run promotions to tiefan experiences together with the team’s community.www.a8s.com 10
  10. 10. 10 SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA PREDICTIONS FOR 2012 9 FansourcingCrowdsourcing, or fansourcing in the case of the sports industry, has becomeincreasingly more widespread in its use. With the help of social media, sportsorganizations are finding ways to better serve their fans by using their combinedbrainpower, creativity and excitement to gather new ideas. Social media is aplatform for communication and 2012 will be the year that teams embrace it,offering their fans new experiences and allowing them to drive decision-making. At the end of last year, the Philadelphia 76ers came up with three options for a new mascot and turned to fans to choose which one would represent the team. Sports Illustrated also turned to fans, in an unprecedented move, letting them decide which cover would appear on the Best Sports Moment of 2011 issue.With the growing usage of content creation based sites and apps, the average fannow has the ability to shoot and edit original content. Organizations will harvestthis content for ads and other purposes much like Pepsi has in the past with SuperBowl commercials. To further involve fans, the industry can put the design oflogos, merchandise and other elements into the hands of fans.ESPN ran a contest for the design of the Winter X-Gamesmedal that will debut at the event this January. Thedesign of Sally Fitzgibbon’s surfboard is yet anotherexample of fansourced design. By giving fans the reignsand directly involving them in the decision-making ordesign process, sports marketers can build a strongerknit community with their fans. In return, fans feelempowered as key stakeholders in the process.www.a8s.com 11
  11. 11. 10 SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA PREDICTIONS FOR 2012 10 Major Sports EventsMany of the technologies used during Super Bowl XLVIwill also be utilized during the London 2012 Olympics,including live-streaming on the web, the social mediacommand center, and the prevalence of second screenand mobile apps. However, we also expect brands toincorporate new technology into Olympic campaigns.RFID, or radio-frequency identification, has many practical uses. Several brandsincluding Mercedes and Coca-Cola and sports organizations like the Tampa BayLightning and ING New York City Marathon have already experimented with RFIDtags at events. This innovative technology could be used at the Olympics byputting an RFID chip in badges so that attendees can check into different venuesand instantly send pictures and updates to their Facebook newsfeeds.Athletes could use also do the same in the Olympic village to keep fans updated. Augmented reality (AR) is the super-imposing of computer generated content over a live view of the world. We think this technology will be on prime display in London. There is already an app called the Olympic AR Navigator that covers the 2012 London Venues, Olympic Flame locations, and Olympic cities dating back to 1896. You can aim your mobile device anywhere in London and the viewfinder displays pop-ups which tell you the direction and info related to a nearby Olympic event.Near field communication, or NFC technology, allows mobile devices to pay foritems by simply tapping the phone on a specialized reader at the cash register.Samsung and Visa have already announced a partnership to offer NFC mobilepayments before, during, and after the Olympics. Google is also looking toincorporate mobile payments via Google Wallet in London this summer.www.a8s.com 12
  12. 12. Activ8Social is a creative digital agency that builds engaging fan experiences to drive loyalty @Activ8Social fb.com/Activ8Socialwww.a8s.com 13