Nick Phillips, campaign director at Ball Street, examines the changing landscape of media consumption and how brands can make it work for them by partnering with key social influencers.
Changing Behaviour of Viewers
A decade ago watching football on TV was a one-way experience. The game was consumed passively – at home, or perhaps down the pub. In many ways, viewing was very much an isolated activity; fans were unable to join in and experience the action with millions of like-minded people across the world.
No one cared though. Social media hadn’t been invented. The concept of following a game with your phone on Twitter, with the excitement and interactivity that comes with it, just didn’t exist. And any attempt to explain such a thing would have been met with confusion.
The Landscape Has Now Shifted
While the TV broadcasts remain largely unchanged, the match day experience for sports fans has transformed. A report by Accenture, a multinational management consultancy, revealed that 87 per cent of people who watch TV do so with a ‘second screen’. It is essential for brands to understand this evolved and unfamiliar landscape.
From long before kick-off, right through to the morning after the game, social media is alive with chat about the weekend’s big matches. Fans are reacting in real time to events they feel passionate about. They’re constantly sending photos, making comments, producing Vines, shooting videos, retweeting, liking, favouriting, clicking, and viewing…
This activity, if harnessed correctly, can enable brands to achieve incredible levels of engagement and conversation with relevant and effective content centered on an organic and shared experience – like a football match.
Engagement on social media is so frequent that during a match the trending topics in the UK are often about what’s happening on the pitch. That’s millions of people reacting to these trending topics and engaging with them. This is a huge advertisement for football, and such is the power of social media, people are increasingly switching over from traditional broadcasters to channels like Twitter.
"‘Owning the moment’ is an offering that Ball Street, a multi-channel influencer network, have devised to align brands during a live game."
‘Own the Moment’
How can this new landscape work for brands? It is a largely untapped area for companies, but it presents a huge opportunity. Increasingly, brands are searching for innovation in their advertising campaigns. Old media lacks excitement when contrasted with organic social media conversations initiated by key influencers.
‘Owning the moment’ is an offering that Ball Street, a multi-channel influencer network, have devised to align brands during a live game. This can be a specific match, or an event within a game such as a goal being scored or a trophy being won; but how we can place that brand at the forefront of an organic conversation happening in real time?
The influencer will be active in that conversation regardless of the brand’s involvement, meaning the brand can be inserted into the conversation in such a way that it is not self-evidently an advert.
When Wayne Rooney broke the England scoring record, Vauxhall were able to ‘own the moment’. Vauxhall, the official sponsor of the England team, prepared a piece of relevant original content featuring Wayne Rooney which was uploaded natively to Twitter and released once the record was broken. Ball Street seeded the video across its network of social influencers, giving the video huge reach, engagement and views.
Vauxhall, by partnering with Ball Street and their network of key social influencers, placed themselves at the forefront of a natural and organic trend, achieving thousands of views and engagements, and making the most of an asset they already had access to in Wayne Rooney. They truly were able to ‘own the moment’.
2015 was described as a record-breaking year by many marketing industry experts, and according to statistics agency Statista, by 2016 it is expected that there will be well over two billion social media users the world over.
As this flourishing industry develops, the opportunities to exploit influencer marketing during live sporting events are growing exponentially. Opportunities presented by social influencer marketing cannot be ignored. This space needs to be taken note of and brands currently working with Ball Street have already got the upper hand on their rivals.
Nick Phillips is campaign director at Ball Street, the UK’s leading multi-platform football influencer network. Ball Street brings a new level of engagement across their collective of true fans, social influencers & bloggers and have created original content and social campaigns for the likes of Vauxhall, Virgin Media, Google/Uefa and Barclays.
For more info, visit corp.ballstreet.co.uk.