Connect with us

Digital Media

Will Snapchat Still Be Useful in 2019? Sports Marketing Pros Weigh In

There are more and more professionals believing that it’s a smart strategy to abandon Snapchat. So, it’s up to the company to go back to the drawing board.

Published

on

Snapchat - Sports - Marketers

Between 2014 and the first quarter of 2018, Snapchat’s daily active user count rose from 46 million to 191 million. From the end of Q1 to the end of Q3, however, the daily active user count fell to 186 million. This marked the first time since the platform’s launch that the daily active user count fell.

A redesign of the mobile app and features that Snapchat made famous making their way to other platforms (i.e. Instagram stories) are both likely to blame for this drop. Marketing professionals have taken note of this and have begun to adjust their social media strategies accordingly.

In some cases, brands are abandoning the platform altogether. This can be attributed to the platform using some of its uniqueness. Snapchat also lacks some of the major analytic features that other social networks offer content creators. It is the opinion of some sports industry professionals that changes are needed soon for the app.

“If Snapchat wants to be a viable social network for marketers, then the platform needs to innovate,” Ryan Vooris, associate sport management professor at SUNY Cortland. “Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook have largely adapted (or flat-out stolen) the features which once made Snapchat unique. Snapchat also appears to lag behind the other three networks in terms of the analytics they make available to marketers. Instagram recently expanded their insights panels. If I’m a marketer, I love the amount of data Instagram is giving me.”

READ MORE: Inside CBS Sports’ Innovative Podcast Strategy 

This isn’t the sense among all of the sports marketing world, however. Some marketing departments are still seeing the benefits that the platform can offer when used properly.

For example, Rachael Caldwell, digital media coordinator at Colorado State University, wants to maintain the audience that her department has built on the app. Caldwell also makes a great point of Snapchat’s ability to reach a good percentage of followers without paying money, as is the case with some other platforms.

“The biggest thing that we’ve looked at with Snapchat is that it’s free. There’s really no cost for us to put out content into the medium,” Caldwell says. “Obviously, we can put money behind it if we want to promote content and break into people’s feeds, but at the end of the day, we do have a follower base that we built there for free and they’re looking at the content that we’re putting out and gaining an affinity for our brand. So I don’t think you can ever say, ‘no, it’s not going to play a role.’ For us, it will play a role just maybe not as big of a role as we had seen in the past because of the rise of Instagram stories.”

Caldwell and other marketers have found that the type of content fans feel drawn to on Snapchat peels back the curtain a bit in some way. Colorado State, for example, allows students and student-athletes to do takeovers on the athletic department’s account to allow fans to get up close and personal at events that they may not be able to attend or at team-only functions.

“We definitely use that raw personal, authentic content on Snapchat,” Caldwell adds. “That’s not to say we don’t use it on Instagram as well. But what we find on Instagram as we use it for a lot more information dissemination as well. So that includes our ‘Rams Rewind’ feature, which recaps some of the biggest storylines for our past week in athletics. So that more produced content is what we utilize on Instagram. But Snapchat is not produced in the moment.”

This is the kind of content that will most likely continue to carry the platform for the rest of its lifespan. However, the door is still open for creators to find new content formats, as well as the inside-look pieces Caldwell mentioned, while their user bases are still there.

READ MORE: Pac-12 Network Grows Viewership Thanks to Cross-Platform Integration 

“As long as teams are not forcing their content on Snapchat, I think it still has a place for them,” says Joe Centeno, art director at Team Infographics. “There is a chance to be creative and still reach the fans that use Snapchat by executing strategies that made it popular in the beginning. The raw behind-the-scenes content still has a place. And fans are still looking for it.”

Long story short, the platform is not totally out of the picture. Creatives that want to continue to reach their audience on the platform will have to continue to find interesting ways to use the platform’s features. Otherwise, by this time next year, the sports industry will most likely be singing a different tune.

“If Snapchat wants to compete in 2019,” added Vooris, “they need to go back to the drawing board and come up with new ideas to attract and keep users. If this doesn’t happen, brands will continue to go elsewhere.”

Joe is currently a freelance marketing professional, writer, and podcaster. His work can also be found on the SB Nation network. Joe earned his bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Louisville in 2014 and a master's degree in sport administration from Seattle University in 2017. He can be reached via email at joe@frntofficesport.com.

Digital Media

Inside the Huddle: Talking Paid Social with Angela Welchert

For Angela Welchert, a social media partnerships lead at IBM, paid social has become an intregral part of her job and the company’s overall strategy.

Front Office Sports

Published

on

angela-welchert-ibm-paid-social

On February 22, a handful of digital media professionals from across the industry will converge on New York City for the first in our Huddle Series. Participants will get the chance to learn from these speakers and grow their knowledge of five specific areas within digital media: paid social, content distribution, platform strategy, monetizing social media, and vertical content.

In the buildup to the event, we’ll be introducing you to the huddle leaders who will be lending their expertise. Today, we begin with Angela Welchert, a social media partnerships lead at IBM. She will be one of the leaders of the huddle “Pay to Play: Executing Better Paid Social Campaigns”.

Welchert describes herself as a professional who does her best work focusing on the bigger picture.

“I like to focus on looking at the grander scheme and really drilling down into opportunities that are executable,” Welchert stated. “Throughout my career, I’ve heavily contributed to driving forward social presence for companies and organizations.  Now leading paid partnerships for IBM, I’m focused on identifying opportunities for us to really optimize social.”

Welchert also describes her current role with IBM as the highlight of her career. Prior to landing that job, Welchert graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where she studied business administration and marketing.

Before moving to New York, Welchert jumped into the world of social marketing at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota as a social media strategy consultant. In 2011, Welchert migrated to the Big Apple to become the director of social media at Berkeley College before joining IBM in 2014 as its global social business manager. In 2018, she was promoted to the social media partnerships lead.

“In the first six months or so that I’ve been in this role,” Welchert remarked, “I’ve spent a large portion of my time reevaluating how we’re executing and strategizing when it comes to paid social, which is a very heavy investment for IBM. I pride myself on bringing a multidisciplinary attack to the way we’re approaching paid social.”

Over the course of her career to date, Welchert has become very conscious of the multi-faceted nature of social media marketing. In order for other young professionals to find success in the field and specifically in paid social, she recommends that they do the same.

“Social marketing is both an art and a science. The science side of it with targeting, reporting, and optimizing is important. However, you still need to be very cognizant of the art side of social media when it comes to content creation.”

READ MORE: Front Office Sports Digital Media Huddle Series at Bleacher Report

In her brief time at IBM, Welchert has already made a significant impact for the organization. Specifically, her changes to what platforms the company invests money are paying dividends.

“IBM is a massive company, with over 400,000 employees globally. Sometimes change can be slow moving. So I believe the most impactful thing that I’ve done so far in this role is bring together our leadership team including social, paid media, corporate advertising, and our agency of record to change the way we do paid social.”  Welchert states. “we are now in the process of deep diving into our paid social investments, to create a new process that will better position our paid media teams for success. By doing this, we will see significant cost savings for IBM, but we will also improve the return from our investments.”

Meet Welchert and hear more of her thoughts on the current digital landscape at the Front Office Sports Digital Media Huddle presented by Opendorse in New York on February 22. For tickets and additional info, click here.

Continue Reading

Digital Media

DC United’s Broadcast Deal Could Further Demonstrate Digital Media Potential

FloSports’ broadcast deal with D.C. United exemplifies the company’s mission to raise the profile of sports outside the Big Four leagues.

Published

on

Photo via DC United

A positive in increasing segmentation of sports media could be the corresponding rise in the popularity of sports outside the Big Four.

That’s what digital streaming service FloSports has in mind for a variety of sports, most prominently soccer in the United States. The company recently secured a multi-year agreement with MLS side D.C. United for coverage.

“We’ve always had our eyes on trying to get into soccer,” said Mike Levy, FloSports vice president of global rights acquisition. “Strategically, it really only made sense if we could do it with a really good, smart, strategic direction. We held out until we felt like we found it.”

FloSports started in 2006, largely with wrestling and track and field content.

READ MORE: How Wayne Rooney Added Millions of Additional Brand Value for D.C. United and MLS

Most of D.C. United’s home and away games will be aired on FloFC.com, the provider’s 25th sports vertical. The broadcasts will be in both English and Spanish. Also included in the deal with D.C. United is rights into original D.C. content, like behind-the-scenes programming.

“D.C. United is committed to providing fans with an innovative and high-quality viewing experience for all of their regionally broadcast matches,” said Sam Porter, D.C. United senior vice president. “Our deal with FloSports presents a new and unique opportunity for fans to get behind-the-scenes access to the D.C. United first team … while also providing a world-class broadcast production for viewers.”

Levy said the reason major professional sports have captured the American mindset is because of the previous media efforts and marketing. He said the future of other sports is up to the marketing and media opportunities presented to them — and soccer is in an ideal spot with its global popularity and U.S. youth participation.

Traditional media properties like NBC and FOX provide excellent live soccer coverage, Levy said, but there’s a deeper opportunity with the off-hour programming to explore and become a content destination.

“We believe you have to figure out how to create an emotional connection,” Levy said. “You have to do a lot more than just broadcast live sports. Any given Saturday night, there’s a thousand sporting events to choose from in the linear and digital stratosphere. And that’s just sports; there’s general entertainment and news too.

“All these types steal attention spans. So, we look for opportunities where fans aren’t getting that deep level of attention these sports deserve.”

Levy said FloSports will continue to seek other soccer rights deals to further prove soccer deserves the attention level the other major professional leagues receive from traditional media.

Other sports, along with wrestling and track and field verticals, FloSports has zeroed in on include Brazilian jiu-jitsu, fast-pitch softball, and rugby.

FloSports also has rights in basketball with the Euro League and Australian and German professional leagues and is a large platform for high school hoops.

READ MORE: Immersive Media’s Infancy Creates Industry Opportunities

“We’re looking to expand the international pro game in the U.S.,” Levy said. “Basketball is something we’re excited about.”

Football provides a large challenge as it is dominated by traditional media, but Levy said FloSports is seeking deeper penetration in high school sports, as well as some collegiate opportunities. Levy also said he sees tremendous opportunities in baseball at every level outside of Major League Baseball and currently broadcasts a variety collegiate games.

The proliferation of the internet and streaming services has provided the ability for platforms like FloSports to grab serious viewership in sports that previously saw almost zero coverage, even ESPN’s famous off-hour programming, in the past. Sports fanatics will devour content in their preferred sport if it’s available.

“There’s never been this level of fragmentation with this movement to digital,” Levy said. “Through that, we believe all sorts of sports have the opportunity to rapidly grow them as they get passionate viewers, and we can do our part to feed into it.”

Continue Reading

Digital Media

A Pivot Back From Video Feels Unlikely for Sports Media in 2019

The pivot-to-video experiment produced mix results for some, but don’t bank on sports publishers turning a hopeful gaze toward long-form written content in 2019 and beyond.

Published

on

pivot-video-feels-unlikely

Photo via Unsplash

For the better part of the last few years, sports media outlets shifted a lot of resources from written content to video.

FOX Sports was arguably the most notable example of pivoting to video — and still to this day only publishes video content on its website. Initially, the result of the drastic alteration in content strategy was an 88 percent drop in web traffic.

To further complicate things, it has since come to light that Facebook’s video metrics may not have been completely accurate. Long story short, the trend of the pivot to video was not a successful one for the industry.

This being said, a full transition back to focusing on true long-form written content is not something that many industry professionals see in the cards for the near future.

LISTEN: Addressing the Challenges of Working in Social Media 

“Personally, I remain skeptical that long-form written content will really take off as the primary offering for most major sports publications,” said Jared Kalmus, assistant manager of SB Nation’s Underdog Dynasty. “The fact remains that web publications depend on clicks to drive their revenue streams, and the effort and writing talent required to publish long-form content is prohibitive when compared to quick-hit ‘click-bait’ posts.

“The ideal approach is likely to have some type of matrix between long-form features and quick news updates, but this requires a staff expansion for most publications. That’s a big ask as most publications are struggling to even pay their existing talent a living wage.”  

The ease of publishing what are essentially small stories in a series of tweets or other social media posts further complicates things. At least this is how Joe Serpico, a reporter for Fox Sports Radio 1340 AM in the DMV area, sees it.

“It pains me to say this, but I don’t see written publications being any better even with video not taking off as planned,” Serpico said. “That’s mainly because of social media. When breaking news happens, we rush to Twitter and Facebook to get the information. A lot of beat writers give most of the information they’re putting into their story in tweets or Facebook posts. These days, we see writers incorporate tweets into their articles too.

“The video experiment did seem to backfire, but I don’t think it will help written publications be the primary focus again. It is social media that has changed journalism most.”

READ MORE: 3 Predictions for Sports Digital Media in 2019

In talking with other writers throughout the sports space, you’ll find many who share a similar opinion. Creatives with a writing background continue to be unoptimistic about the state of the space, especially with stories like that of former Sports Illustrated writer Austin Murphy, who published an account last month of his transition to a full-time job delivering packages for Amazon, becoming more and more common.

This is not to say that other types of creatives are doing anything wrong.

The social media space has given rise to a massive number of talented videographers, graphic designers, animators, and so on. It does spark interest about the time we live in as media consumers, however. The space shifted to a massive focus on something, it was a statistical failure, but it doesn’t seem like it’s really going to change things all that much.

Could 2019 prove that feeling wrong? We’ll have to wait and see. 

Continue Reading

Trending