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With sport being such a fast paced environment and fans wanting not just updates but real time accuracy with the information that is shared, it is imperative for clubs, teams and publishers to be in a position to provide this. This type of content should be provided in a way that is easily digestable, visual and most importantly statistically accurate.

We are going to explore the different aspects and approaches to use when you are looking to use data led content as part of your strategy.

The validity of content

Being first to publish and achieve the initial wave of shares, retweets, interactions or engagement brings with it many challenges in relation to creation of social media content. For example, it means that either content has to be created in advance of live sport, to allow for quick reactions for a certain goalscorer or wicket taker, or that you utilise a platform such as Playing Surface to ensure you can actively deliver visual posts, with data led statistics. The art of a commentator has always been to know the statistics of a player and to be able to use that information as the key point of the commentary. Now with the uptake of social media and fans using it to interact with their teams from all over the world, it is therefore crucial that the information provided is not only timely, but the statistics provided are valid and statistically correct.

Social Media reach

The dwindling reach of social media on an organic level (cite econsultancy post 2016) meaning that brands are looking at new and innovative ways for their content to find its way in front of their fans. The increased use of video within Facebook feeds is noticeable and this has meant that the way in which content is created, allows for ways to serve visual content that takes on the mold of video (such as gifs or animations) and increases the reach of this content.

Pay to play

Most recently in October 2017, we have seen Facebook completely change the way in which you can access Facebook content for brands that don’t invest in paid promotion, basically reducing organic reach to pretty much 0 in the countries it was rolled out to.  This change would rely on fans actively seeking the content out on their visits to the social platform, whereas previously the content would have appeared within their feed based on their interactions with the brand.

Positioning a brand as influential

With the use of data within content, it adds a level of authority and influence to the content that is being shared; for example a Facebook post that has strong visuals but also the number of goals that a particular striker has achieved during the season provides the user with more to engage with than a standard post that just says ‘Goal’.  By having a platform such as PlayingSurface available and providing a mechanism to deliver this content efficiently and accurately means that the brand can provide a more polished social media experience for their ‘fans’.

Not just another social media post

With algorithms constantly changing and the amount of people posting content to social networks, it is really important that posts that are shared are structured in a way that allows for them to stand out from the rest.  Every minute of the day there are 3.3 million Facebook posts and over 440,000 Twitter posts published worldwide, which demonstrates the volume which people are both creating and consuming content.  Also the amount of time that people spend on social media has increased from 90 minutes daily in 2012 to around 135 mins in 2017

Tailoring your content for your audience

With the amount of data available to you as a brand from various insight tools and also direct from social media platforms, you have the ability to build content that will naturally resonate with your fans and this will lead to increased engagement rates

If we take a look at Manchester City and their fans on Facebook, we build up a picture of who they are, where they come from and more importantly, the type of content that they like and engage with.  This data is so powerful from a strategic perspective as it allows the brand to continue to create posts and content that they can be confident about its success.

The ability to be able to segment audiences, and with targeting options on paid for activity, a brand could in theory generate tailored content for different audiences based on the audience insights shown below.


By ensuring that teams use the data available in both a planning phase but also execution of the content, before finally utilising insights and results of the performance in a review phase, they’ll be confident that they can create engaging content that truly works for their large audiences. As teams expand around the world, considerations for different language versions of team pages become something to explore, as this approach would increase engagement with local fans in their own language as well as creating a community feeling within specific locales.

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