Sports Marketing from Coyle Media, LLC.
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Who is following NHL fans on Twitter?
Over the past 18 months, sports teams have amassed huge followings on Facebook and Twitter. In an attempt to understand the fans following sports teams, Coyle Media has fielded a series of surveys in partnership with various professional and collegiate teams. We’ve collected over 12,000 completed surveys and learned a lot about sports fans and their social media preferences.
We are continually analyzing these data looking for insights. We’ve found it particularly interesting to see how fans behaviors can vary from sport to sport, and between various media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Team Websites.
The infographic above is a snapshot of one team’s survey data. We filtered the data and focused only on responses collected from Twitter followers (leaving out Facebook & Web surveys) to offer this glimpse into this fan segment. We’ve done the same with the Facebook data, and will release another (companion) infographic very soon. We hope readers will take time to compare the two sets of data for themselves.
To make the data easier to read, we broke it into three main sections: Demographics & tickets, Mobile & Social, and Sponsorship. These are not the only data collected, just the highlights.
Demographics & Tickets:
It’s not surprising that the majority of club followers are male, but it’s worth noting that the Twitter followers of this NHL club are more heavily male than Facebook followers (75% to 67%); Twitter followers are more likely to live inside the club’s DMA (65% to 54%); 78% of the Twitter followers who took the survey attended at least one game last season; 59% of those attendees used their own money to buy their tickets (not guests), and 8% are season ticket holders. These Twitter follower percentages are nearly identical to Facebook followers; Finally, a higher percentage of Twitter followers are avid fans than Facebook fans (87% to 67%). This might be explained simply by the fact that a higher percentage of women follow on Facebook than Twitter, and women are less likely to be avid.
Mobile & Social
Overall, Twitter followers are more likely to engage via mobile devices (e.g. SMS, check-in, multi-screening) than Facebook followers, but both Twitter and Facebook fans are much more likely to own smartphones than the U.S. average, and both groups check their social media accounts frequently and are very likely to be multi-screeners.
In addition, it’s interesting to note the various behavioral buckets these fans place themselves into. Just 1/3 of these fans consider themselves ‘spectators’ online, and only 1% are ‘inactive.’ If this is true, then this group of fans is far more likely than the average online person to engage with and / or create content.
Team fans who also follow brands via social seem to be influenced very positively by their experiences in social media. More than 90% of Facebook and 94% of Twitter followers are more likely to purchase a product as a result of following a brand. This could bode well for teams who involve sponsors in activation via team social channels.
Overall, while this survey is not scientific, a few things seem clear from our analysis of all the data:
1. Not all social fans are created equal – Some live nearby and purchase tickets, others are remote. Some prefer Facebook, others Twitter. This seems to indicate that teams could improve marketing results via database segmentation and direct marketing to choice fan segments.
2. Social fans are mobile fans – When a social channel is preferred (over the Web), a majority of that activity is done via mobile device. This would indicate that teams should step up their efforts in the mobile arena ASAP.
3. Social fans are AVID fans – Generally speaking, avid fans are more likely to buy team products, more likely to respond to sponsor offers, more likely to be interested in team content (year round) than average fans. Avid fans are more likely to check-in, subscribe to team news products, attend team events and they are more likely to create and / or share team content than average fans.
The future is here today
More than 50% of social fans are Gen Y, which means they’ve grown up and / or grown accustomed to digital media. These fans’ expectations are being formed by the experiences they’re having with other brands (outside sports). Based on these experiences, fans are more-and-more coming to EXPECT their favorite teams to allow them to engage with the team via social / mobile, and are likely to grow frustrated quickly if they are prevented from doing so. Teams should consider these facts when planning their customer service initiatives as well as their content, and inbound / outbound marketing strategies via digital channels.