Guest Post: Benjamin Stoll founded Digithalamus, a consultancy for digital strategies and solutions, in October 2014 in Berlin. He has worked with a focus on digital and sports for about ten years, helping brands, clubs and organizations with digital solutions, e.g. with Ledavi, GMR Marketing, Serviceplan and sport1. In 2011 he founded the missing piece as a digital engagement marketing agency.
What’s the secret of Ronaldo’s social media domination? How to make profits from social media as a football club? What should sports journalism in the age of digital media should look like? Those and other issues driven by digitalisation were tackled by an international football audience at IFA Conference Berlin on 30th of October.
This time next week we’ll be back up and running with Digital Sport London after the summer break. Last time out we were chatting with Wimbledon’s Alexandra Willis and the Football League’s Russell Scott.
Next up we’ll be hearing from the guys at Grabyo, the UK’s leading real-time social video company who have been working with Wimbledon, ITV Football (on the World Cup) and Sky Sports amongst others.
Thank you to everyone who took time out to come along to last month’s successful Digital Sport London looking at the use of analytics and data in sport. Tomorrow night (23rd July) we’re taking a broader look at digital sport with insights into two different sports from those who work directly in it.
The venue has changed this month as we move back to Rileys Sports Bar (Haymarket) in the centre of London. Back in January 2013 we held a very successful event at the venue with the ever engaging Richard Ayers. Hopefully we will be back at this venue on a regular basis over the coming months.
Firstly we’ll be chatting to Russell Scott who looks after the digital team at The Football League. He’s been in the role for around a year now and has made some significant changes to both the internal set up of the organisation to bring it into the modern age and also externally with new mobile sites, live blogging platforms and training for the 90 football clubs who are part of Football league Interactive. Not to mention a revamp of their own digital channels and content to fill them.
I will be chatting to Russell and also give time for people to ask questions from the audience or on Twitter. You can also leave a question in the comment box at the bottom of this post if you’d like to do it that way too.
Following a drinks break (very important in sport) we’ll be hearing from Alexandra Willis. She will be taking us through the digital activities they employed at last month’s Wimbledon to engage with fans in ever more interesting and in-depth ways, both those within the grounds and others who are watching/keeping up to date around the world.
Again there will be opportunities to ask Alex questions and tap into her knowledge. I will be putting a few questions to her and, as with Russell, there are a number of ways in which you can get involved.
Thank you to our series sponsors; Brandwatch, Grabyo and Rawnet. Both Brandwatch and Grabyo will be demonstrating their products at the event so be sure to say hi and find out more about what they do and how they can potentially help your business (or clients).
There are over 50 people already signed up, so there is plenty of networking to be done over a couple of mid week drinks. Join us from 6pm (first talk starts at 7pm) by visiting the link below to book your place…
Tomorrow sees the 9th edition of Digital Sport London take place at Old Street. Once again we’ll be taking up residence at The Bakery where we’ll be handing out free beers, giving you some insights into what happening on social media around the World Cup and listening to some of the leading players around the use of data in sport.
Through many discussions over the last year with various agencies, federations and clubs it’s become quite obvious that there is a massive amount of variation about how organisations use data, including social media data, to help them in their business.
It’s a topic that I’m very passionate about as I see campaigns and businesses struggle with using social media and measuring it’s impact and effectiveness. A lot of course depends on the objectives of that campaign or general goals and how it all links into business objectives. It’s not just about likes, retweets and reach but insights into what that data means and what you can learn about your fans/customers.
To help guide us through the evening we’ll have contributions from;
Phil Stephan – Consultant @ Two Circles
Phil joined Two Circles from Chelsea where he was responsible for one of the most forward-thinking, data-driven and customer-led CRM strategies in the UK. Prior to that he lead the marketing team for the Southbank Centre, the world’s largest centre for the arts. Phil’s role at Two Circles involved leading much of their work in the area of data-driven customer engagement and revenue growth, as well as the development and innovation of their client offer.
Jamie Parsons – Sales Development (Sport) @ Brandwatch
Joining Brandwatch in 2014, Jamie is part of the Sales Development team. His main focus is the sports and gambling sector, which he feels has amazing potential for growth through the use of customer insight with social media monitoring. Used by brands that include 30 of the Fortune 100, Brandwatch delivers a class leading social intelligence platform for companies across the globe.
Charlie Dundas – Business Development Director @ GMR Marketing
Charlie started his career in sports marketing at TWI (now IMG Media). Following this he spent 2 years at Sports & Outdoor Media in a front-line sales role bringing in revenue for rights holders in cricket, football and rugby, and then MediaCom with clients such as Snickers, Nokia, Akzo Nobel, Dell and VW on sponsorship strategy. Latterly, Charlie has spent 2 years at market leading sports and sponsorship research agency, Repucom, leading the UK market through a period of change following the acquisition of Sports Marketing Surveys, before moving to GMR Marketing to take up the role of Business Development Director.
If you are about earlier in the afternoon, we’ll be showing the Argentina v Nigeria final group game from 5pm where you join in playing along with Squawka’s new Battle Mode game for a bit of fun.
If not, we’ll be starting proceedings as usual with a 7pm first talk from myself and then Squawka CEO Sanjit Atwal. Sanjit will be talking about their findings into the use of second screen applications during the World Cup.
Join the likes of deltatre, Aqueduct, PRISM, Team GB, Perform Group, Bigballs Films, Fast Track, Northampton Saints and Stream UK for a fun and informative evening in East London. Places are still available for tomorrow’s event.
We’re proud and delighted to welcome on board not one but TWO new sponsors for the Digital Sport London series. Grabyo and Rawnet will be present at each #DSLondon event over the next few months as the series continues to grow and become an established part of the scene.
The events have been running each month now since September and regularly attract 50+ attendees. The rest of the year’s events are now being planned with specific and speakers to be announced shortly.
Having two new sponsors on board ensures that the events will get bigger and better as we work towards our aim of not only hosting a great night but being able to add even more value through filming each one and releasing highlights.
Bringing Grabyo on board opens up exciting options for us to explore within the use of video within social media. It’s not just about bringing in money to invest in the events but also partnering with companies who bring something special to the party. They currently work with the likes of SkySports, Channel 5, Setanta Sports and many other top clients.
“We’ve been impressed by the content and attendance of Dan’s Digital Sports events and believe it plays an important role in bringing people together to share ideas and best practice. We’re very happy to be supporting the initiative and look forward to sharing our own experiences as we continue to help broadcasters, content rights holders and brands capitalise on the significant commercial opportunities in real-time video.” – Gareth Capon, CEO at Grabyo
This week saw the 7th successive #DSLondon event, this time being held at the office of London digital agency Aqueduct. The event, as we have tried to do, offered two different elements with a ‘fireside chat’ with founder of Australian agency Sports Geek, Sean Callanan. This was followed by a really interesting panel discussion on live event blogging led by Andy McKenzie from LiveWire Sport.
Grabyo and Rawnet will be present at all our future events, so make sure you check them out at their stands in the venue. I’m sure you’ll find out more about them in the coming month’s as they become a regular fixture at our events.
Matt Briggs from The Online Rule has kindly put together his takeaway thoughts from the recent (and first ever) #DSManchester event which took place last Thursday (17th) at TechHub. A further write up with the presentation slides and a Storify of the day will also be up on the site in the next couple of days…
Manchester got a dose of Digital Sport last Thursday when UK Sports Network brought the event to the North West.
The line-up was one of the strongest yet, with delegates being treated to presentations and discussions involving the likes of BBC Sport, Manchester City, Everton, deltatre, Stream UK, Leeds Rugby and Manchester Metropolitan University.
As you might imagine four hours of digisport chat with such a diverse range of speakers threw up a lot of talking points, too many to be covered in one solitary blog post. Instead I’ve pulled together five of the key takeaways from the afternoon.
1. The power of stories
Agency or in house, it didn’t matter. Every presenter and panel member at #DSManchester, regardless of their background, talked passionately about the effectiveness of one thing – stories.
The most provocative and engaging content doesn’t just fall out of the heads of marketers and make its way onto our screens, it comes from those people who have tales to tell about the things that make sports fans tick. Our job is to facilitate the telling of these “stories from the stands”.
Nothing quite highlighted how accurate this assertion was like Capsool’s CityStories project, which allows dedicated Blues from across the globe to share their experiences with the club and other supporters. The result is a highly personal and evocative history of the club written by those who have lived it. Good sport is greater than a brand.
2. Don’t underestimate the importance of video
Yes, yes, you may be sick of hearing it, after all we have been reminded for years now, but video really is the king of content. As Matthew Quinn of Stream UK pointed out, pictures may paint a thousand words but according to Forrester Research one minute of video is worth 1.8 million!
That’s not all. A good video can increase the likelihood that your site will find itself on the first page of Google by 53 per cent as well as double the length of time users spend on your website. Have you got a product to sell? A video of it makes users 144 per cent more likely to add it to the cart.
It’s lucky for us that sport makes great video. How clubs go about leveraging that and distributing the content is another discussion entirely.
3. Mobile first? No, mobile equal
“Mobile first” is one of those phrases that has been drilled into the skulls of anyone involved in digital over the past twelve months. It’s no surprise. The UK mobile market worth £1.03 billion and it’s estimated that mobile use will surpass that of desktop in 2014. Does all this really mean you should neglect the big screen experience at the expense of the smaller one? Mobile experts Scott McLeod, Mike Dunphy and Russell Stopford didn’t think so.
Mobile may be gaining are larger audience share but users are gradually shifting from desktop to mobile, not migrating all at once. Don’t damage the experience of one set of users by opting for mobile first. Instead aim for mobile equal. Ensure that the content, interaction and experience remains the same regardless of where or how they are visiting your site. Make your message consistent across all platforms.
4. Know your audience
British Cycling decided to set up their Go Sky Ride community because they knew their audience wasn’t just made up of hardcore cycling buffs, but casual riders too. This basic awareness of how diverse the cycling community in Britain is has since set the tone for the governing body’s relationship management.
British Cycling understood that information gathering exercise shouldn’t just stop at understanding the obvious differences between stakeholders. Knowing who and what their audience likes has allowed them to make educated decisions about who should front the next campaign and when it should be launched. As Susan Tranter said: “getting to know your audience is not a waste of time”.
Identifying how, why and when users consume content can’t guarantee success, but it can certainly give you a fighting chance.
5. Fighting the churn
Leeds Rhinos lose the most followers on Twitter on a match day. Conversely it’s also the time of week they gain the most followers.
Why the churn? Existing social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter simply aren’t designed to accommodate the sheer volume of posts that a match can bring. The result is a one size fits all approach, where clubs are using networks that aren’t built for in-depth commentary out of fear that if they don’t provide that service some fans will look elsewhere. Unfortunately it’s a tactic that also brings overexposure and turns off some supporters off.
There is no hard or fast way to end the high turnover of followers, but one way to combat it is to ensure that you’re creating stellar content elsewhere. According to Phil Daly the Rhinos use social media to give fans 360 degree access to the club: “where a security guard stops you on match day, we let you in”.
Be unique. Clubs can offer a huge amount of exclusive material to supporters. Even those that may not appreciate having their feeds full of blow by blow accounts of every single match they will appreciate that behind the scenes snap of the players celebrating a famous victory.
Next week is a big week for us here at UK Sports Network. After heading up to Glasgow last month for our first ever event up there, we’re now going to be doing the same in Manchester.
“But why should I go” I hear you say. Well I believe there are 3 main reasons that you should head along, not even counting that we’re the only community that’s been set up solely for those who work within digital media for sports teams, federations, agencies and tech companies.
The line up of speakers I think is our best yet and we’re cramming a lot into half a day. Not only do we have presentations from the likes of British Cycling, Manchester Metropolitan University, deltatre, Stream UK and Capsool but also panels made up of digital people from Leeds Rugby, BBC Sport, Everton FC, Man City FC and PERFORM.
We’ll be covering topics that are both general and specific, giving a fantastic look into what is both happening with within digital sport and what we is coming around the corner soon. There are talk titles such as; “Digital in Sport: Disrupting and levelling the playing field“, “Not just racing but riding: how British Cycling is building communities of real cycling fans, and real cyclists“, “The Digital Paralympics, from London to Sochi” and “CityStories: The Social History of Manchester City Football Club“.
Reason 2 (and 2 1/2)
We like to do things a little differently here than most events organisers (who wants to do the same thing all the time eh?). So instead of booking a sports venue or hotel, we’re going to be heading to TechHub Manchester. A shared working space and community for tech entrepreneurs and start-ups, something we see ourselves as being.
This type of venue provides for a more stimulating and relaxed atmosphere for the event. Being part of this vibrant community even for only half a day will hopefully help provide an environment that is both inspiring and fun to be part of.
Not only will you get all this when you come along but we’ve also been working on something to present ourselves. At the start of day I’ll be showcasing our new website, built with the great guys at Storystream who will also be in the crowd, that will eventually take over from the current UK Sports Network site. It’s not only a new site but a new name and a new brand. Exciting times!
Another big reason people head to these events is to meet and chat with other people in the industry. So if this is your aim for heading along then you can expect to find people from;
- BR101 Sports
- European Handball Federation
- Manchester Futsal Club
- Manchester United FC
- Scarlets Rugby
- Red Bull
- Sky Sports
- Prozone Sports
- Two Circles
- Intechnology Wifi
- …. and many more
So if you’re interested in heading along there is still time to pick up a ticket. Prices are £50 + booking fee for standard tickets and £25 + booking fee for students. You get yours now by heading to…
We look forward to seeing you there!
The Commonwealth Games are coming to Scotland this year, as am sure you are very be aware (if not, you will be soon). This massive event is taking place in Glasgow and as part of their media plans their looking to bring a group of ace bloggers on board to help spread the buzz!
#Team14 is the name for a new collective of active bloggers for the duration of the Games. The topics they’re looking to cover include; Glasgow/Scotland, technology, lifestyle (fashion/entertainment), sport, culture & festival 2014, news/photography, Queen’s Baton Relay, and events.
To become part of the story, all you have to do is head to the website (link below) and fill in the application form. Entries close on 10th April at 5pm, so get your name down now!
It’s a fantastic opportunity for new and established bloggers alike. With a good mix of people there will be an amazingly diverse amount of content that the Glasgow 2014 team will have access to. “Influencers” have long been seen by brands and agencies to be important when it comes to creating and spreading ‘buzz’ about products and events. Now it good to see sports events taking this same approach.
If you think you’ve got what it takes with your blogging skills, then why not give it a go. Good luck!
Last week saw our first visit to the country of my father’s birth (as you may have guessed from my very Scottish surname!). Glasgow is a wonderful city and we were lucky enough to find a great event location within it.
The event wouldn’t have been possible without the initial help from Robert Boyle (@RFC_Rab) in securing the venue and bringing together a great line-up of speakers. It was great to be able to hear from the likes of Commonwealth Games Scotland, Dog Digital, Yomego, Scottish Hockey, Quipu TV, Teamtrackr…. and of course Rangers FC.
There is a great write up from the event by Mark Stuart from Yomego. He has brought together some of the insights from the event as well as explaining more about his presentation – looking at some examples of digital media successes within sport.
There was also a great panel session with Jack McGill (Quipu TV), Stuart Moffatt (Scottish Hockey) and Robert Boyle (Rangers). We took an in-depth look at live streaming and how this could be utilised by smaller sports, such as hockey, when it comes to gaining valuable coverage and awareness for their sport. Unfortunately we don’t have any video of the session, something we’re aiming to address at future events.
I’ve looked to include all the presentations from the event so you can take pieces of interest out for yourself. We hope to be back in Scotland towards the end of the year and recap what happened at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Below the presentations you’ll see a Storify of the day!