As we all know, there is severe consumer fragmentation going on right now across media. Audiences are viewing content on multiple devices, while demanding consistent experiences on each. In short, they want their content, and they want it on every possible medium—now. And nobody is driving this more than sports fans.
According to Sporting News Media, about two-thirds of U.S. sports fans follow sports online, and most (58%) are turning to their smartphones and tablets to keep up with clips of crucial game moments. And while TV remains the ultimate vehicle on which to watch sports (Monday Night Football is so much better on the big screen!) nearly 45% of fans are using a second-screen device while watching sports on TV.
The good news is, brands are starting to respond to the always-connected consumer. Sports venues have added in-stadium wi-fi, and many teams and media outlets have created dedicated mobile apps that allow fans to get in-the-moment push messages, watch expert analysis and make changes to their fantasy lineups. But as more fans demand to stream more video across more devices, advertisers and brands must build a cross device strategy specific to video, in order to cater to this group.
1. Use interactive video cues to enhance passive moments.
It’s clear from the data that sports fans are multi-taskers. They’re interested in keeping a constant pulse on all things sports—whether it’s news, highlights, scores, commentary or trades. This is where the opportunity for those who are using video to connect to fans becomes even greater. By adding interactive elements to videos, such as overlays, click-throughs, information to buy local game tickets, etc., the video experience for an active view becomes completely immersive. Not to mention, it plays into the hands of an audience already seeking more in-the-moment content.
During the Formula 1 races, NBC used interactive cues in their video to link audiences to their website. From here racing fans could see race times, race leaders, channels, access the Live Extra Anytime feature, and have access to any in-the-moment content they could get their hands on. Because of this, NBC saw a dramatic increase in click thru rates, as well as overall time spent with their video audience.
2. Create device-specific content to streamline the experience.
It’s not a secret that content should vary from device to device—many features such as clips and score updates are better absorbed on handheld devices. But beyond content, brands must think about behaviors and desired outcome from those campaigns. If the goal of your video is to encourage fans to download your app, developing this for the mobile environment, rather than TV, makes the behavioral jump much easier. Bridging offline to online behavior is still an uphill battle for most marketers, but with sports fans already being second-screen multi-taskers, the opportunity is already in their hands.
Take social media for example. Nineteen percent of social fans share clips of games on social networks and the most popular social networks to follow sports are Facebook (70%), YouTube (40%), Twitter (24%) and Google+ (16%). With the majority of audiences using mobile devices to connect to these channels, marrying these behaviors with video is a sure-fire solution. During the 2014 Winter Olympics, NBC wanted to ensure its viewers were able to easy connect to their social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+) during the games. By integrating clickable icons on their digital video promotions, audiences were able to easily share and connect with other Olympics fans—no matter which device they were using.
3. Don’t be afraid of connected TV.
Sports fans love games. Duh. So why not start using a channel where games are the predominant focus to stream sports content? Devices such as Playstation 4 and Xbox One are becoming the breakout medium for advertisers seeking to reach an audience that pays attention. A recent study by Innovid showed that video completion rates were the highest on streaming devices such as Roku and Playstation, vs mobile and tablets. Brands who want to ensure their content is fully absorbed need to make sure it’s on channels that it will be watched in full.
There is no escaping the power of digital and the demands audiences are placing on brands. But is technology is helping make live sporting events an interactive, engaging and social-worthy feature—not to mention helping brands realize greater ROI and insights into their cross-screen efforts. Sports lovers are flocking to video across multiple devices whether you are ready or not. So, if you are ready to respond, it’s a surefire way to score more points with them.