Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Category

Why Sports Teams [Don't] Need Facebook Developers and Apps

“All good things come to an end.” Those words couldn’t be any more true.

With Facebook investors looking toward an exit and an expected IPO sometime early next year, the casualties from Facebook not only include a multitude of social networks and startups, but very soon, Facebook developers.

While it may be a little premature to write off the future of Facebook developers, the signs are there that their door is closing.

Only A Matter of Time

When Facebook first started, they were on the outside looking in when it came to making money. While Facebook was laying the groundwork for their social network, other companies moved in and enjoyed the spoils of Facebook’s hard work. Social gaming companies like Zynga took full-advantage of a potentially limitless distribution network and market and turned themselves into a multi-billion dollar company.Fast-forward now to the present and you see a completely different landscape. No longer is Facebook standing around while others make money off of them. Rather, they have taken the upper-hand and have re-positioned themselves. From the removal of certain Facebook API’s (example:Static FBML app) to the upcoming July 30th deadline for Facebook games to move toward a Facebook credits based currency system (30% of transactions will be pocketed by Facebook), developers looking to make a profit off of the social network giant will find themselves with few opportunities.

While some may be surprised at this news, Facebook has steadily made it clear that eventually everything would be developed in-house. If you look at some of the early Facebook applications that fan pages and websites would embed and compare it with those available today, the numbers have dropped drastically. Facebook has taken every great application that’s been built by an outside developer and has built it themselves. Logically, it makes sense. Why would Facebook let others make something when they can make it themselves.

How This Affects Sports Teams

With the potential exit of Facebook developers and apps, sports teams should consider the following points:

1. Social Media Agencies. In most cases, social media agencies rely heavily on customized applications for Facebook. While these applications can be visually stunning, the downside lies in the actual conversion rate for Facebook apps. To give you one an idea of the conversion rates that they are looking at, ReadWriteWeb published an article earlier where they found the following:

Like blocking, where a user has to “Like” a Facebook Page in order to access a feature, typically has a 50% or more drop off rate, even when there is something there that is actually worth liking the page to get, such as exclusive content or a great coupon.

Asking the user for a laundry list of access to their profile usually results in a 30% or more drop off rate, and that is for well known brands that they trust.

With Facebook tightening the grip on privacy opt-ins for 3rd party apps, sports teams need to begin re-evaluating if there marketing dollars are spent in the right way. In addition, the bigger question becomes if social media agencies themselves can survive if custom Facebook applications increase in difficulty and decrease in conversion and effectiveness.

2. You don’t need custom Facebook apps to be successful. If you take a step back and view how the average user interacts with Facebook, you will quickly realize that youdon’t need custom Facebook apps. As mentioned, if it’s useful, Facebook will undoubtedly have noticed and will build it themselves. From photo widgets to embeddable like buttons, Facebook has made it so that you don’t need to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on something custom. Especially with sports teams, what’s important is interacting and engaging with ones community, which doesn’t need a custom app.

3. Why are you spending money on Facebook? This is a big question that every sports team should ask themselves. As every dollar spent needs to be accounted for, spending money on Facebook should be done with the utmost caution. In addition, teams need to identify what factor success is being measured against. Spending money to get more fans may sound glamorous, but at the end of the day, what is that fan doing for you? Unless you are capturing fan data (which Facebook doesn’t allow), putting a dollar value on a Facebook fan is still too difficult. Additionally, Facebook apps have long been appealing because of their appeal in monetizing fans (ex: Enter and win contests), but they have been around long enough for us to understand that these rarely work.

Ultimately, with or without outside Facebook developers and the custom applications that they build, Facebook will continue to be a valuable asset for sports teams. Still, just how the social network giant is constantly changing, sports teams need to continue to evolve as well.

~Nearly one in four online American adults (23%) revealed that they will be using some form of social media to follow this year’s men’s NCAA Tournament, according to new research released today from IMRE Sports, and conducted on their behalf by Harris Interactive. The research showed that among those who plan to use social media to follow March Madness, 27% plan to utilize a mobile application to do so.

These are some of the results released of the survey of 2,366 American adults surveyed online between February 24 and 28, 2011 by Harris Interactive. The research was spearheaded by the Maryland-based sports marketing agency, IMRE Sports.

Social networking sites top resources to follow the games

The way Americans utilize resources to follow March Madness paints a unique picture of how brands can focus their spending as digital and social media options continue to rise in popularity.

Of the 23% of online Americans who plan to use social media to follow March Madness, the research study revealed the following:

  • 50% will use social networking sites
  • 31% will specifically utilize YouTube
  • 27% will utilize a mobile application

The research also revealed that those with higher household incomes ($75K+) and college graduates are more likely to be planning to use mobile applications and Twitter.

Checking scores atop reasons why fans plan to follow games via social media channels

The focus of why Americans plan to use social media to follow March Madness in 2011 reveals a variety of trends that brands can exploit via advertising.

Among the 23% of online Americans who plan to use social media to follow March Madness, the research study revealed the following statistics:

  • 62% will use social media channels specifically to check the scores
  • 44% will use them to watch the games
  • 44% will use them to follow their favorite team/college
  • 40% will use them to follow their own bracket/other gaming purposes
  • 19% will utilize social media channels to follow their favorite player/coach

The research also shows that men will be more likely than women to use social media to follow March Madness, by a margin of 3 to 1 (32% men vs. 14% women).

Facebook is the most popular social media channel for men’s college basketball fans throughout the season

March Madness aside, social media channels are very popular amongst men’s college basketball fans year round. The survey revealed that roughly two in five online Americans (42%) follow men’s college basketball throughout the year. Among those followers, the research also revealed statistics that might impact how brands spend money on college basketball next year.

Of the 42% who follow men’s college basketball throughout the year, the study showed:

  • 44% use social media tools to interact with the sport
  • Facebook is the most popular way to follow/interact with the sport (25%),  followed by Twitter (13%) and blogs (13%). 11% interact via online forums.
    • Specifically, Facebook Pages (18%) and Twitter accounts (10%) hosted by sports or news networks are the most popular.
    • Roughly one in 10 (13%) follow/interact with a team/college Facebook Page. 7% follow/interact with a player/coach Facebook Page.

“As more fans continue to engage in social media channels to view sports and follow their favorite teams and players, there are more opportunities for brands to share their messages with the very targeted demographic that lies within sports fans,” said Kelly Nowlan, research director at IMRE Sports.

For more statistics and insight on the implications of this research, visit the IMRE Sports IQ blog atwww.IMRESportsIQ.com.

About the survey

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of IMRE Sports from February 24 to 28, 2011 among 2,366 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Kelly Nowlan at 410-821-8220 or kellyn@imre.com.

About IMRE Sports

IMRE is an agency of marketing experts serving brands and clients invested in the Sports Industry. IMRE Sports connects brands to fans and helps corporations leverage their sponsorship investments to generate more brand exposure and fan engagement. IMRE’s clients include Target, Stanley Black & Decker and John Deere. Services include marketing, public relations, social marketing, advertising, emerging media and research. For more information, visit www.imresports.com.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

 

(Newark, NJ, February 16, 2011) ~ In a first for a professional sports franchise, the New Jersey Devils (@NHLDevils) today launched Mission Control, a Digital Command Center designed to activate and further extend the franchise’s online brand presence. Located inside Prudential Center (@PruCenter), the command center will be fueled by fans using Twitter, Facebook and other online channels hosted by the franchise and opening its digital outlets to bloggers and message board users.

The Devils carefully chose  25 social media savvy fans, the self-proclaimed Devils Army Generals, through Facebook and Twitter to act as the voice of the team’s fan base using Devils’ social media platforms.   Several of the Generals already host fan blogs of their own.  The team and Generals (@DevilsGenerals) were assisted in the development of Mission Control by the team’s social communications consultant, Jim Delaney (@activate).

Mission Control is headquartered in a newly constructed dedicated suite of offices in Prudential Center that will serve as an interactive digital hub for the team to engage in online discussions, initiate proactive outreach, track media performance/trends, and deliver interactive service to fans and followers of the Devils and the Rock on Twitter, Facebook, fan message boards and other media channels.  Fifteen individual screens in Mission Control instantly monitor all aspects of the Devils and Prudential Center brands.

“Mission Control will allow our team to connect directly with our fan base, expand the Devils’ presence throughout social media platforms, and ultimately give our fans the opportunity to be a part of the Devils family,” said Jeff Vanderbeek, Chairman and Managing Partner of Devils Arena Entertainment. “The National Hockey League is aggressively using social media and we want to set the standard not only for the league but in all of sports as well.”

Mission Control will serve to not only connect the Devils with fans but will also allow the team to engage more broadly with music and entertainment enthusiasts. Prudential Center has established itself as one of the country’s ‘must-play’ stops for top concert acts, family shows and high-profile special events. The Rock recently ranked 6th in the nation according to Venues Today 2010 arena rankings.  Mission Control will host opportunities to grow the Prudential Center brand and promote its top shows and concerts via all digital media platforms.

Mission Control is a next step in the Devils overall strategic goal to more effectively engage through social communications. Starting at the end of 2010, the Devils introduced the Digital Zone on the arena concourse.  The Digital Zone gives fans a hands-on opportunity to tweet, post and check Facebook during the game.  In addition, the team offers an Apple iPad rental program,  with customized  Devils’ application as well as apps from the NHL and other sports,  while watching the game live. The team has also successfully tripled their number of Facebook followers this  season, and grown significantly on Twitter.

The logo for Mission Control was designed by Devils fan Chrissy Baptista of Elizabeth, NJ, through a crowd-sourced design contest via social media, believed to be a first by any professional team or venue. The logo incorporates the Devils’ demonized font, the Prudential Center’s ‘arena art’ element, and NASA-inspired graphic rays that symbolize outbound communications.

“Being a designer, I jumped at the opportunity to create a logo for the New Jersey Devils Mission Control,” said Baptista. “I’m a Devils fan, of course, and it makes it that much cooler to see my design represent this program. I’m really excited to see it in action.”

Media Contact:

Anne Sciaino

asciaino@prucenter.com

973-757-6246

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Auburn Hills, MI, January 24, 2011) – The Detroit Pistons announced today that the club is hosting its first ever Social Media Night at The Palace of Auburn Hills when they face the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday, February 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Fans that purchase tickets on Facebook (facebook.com/detroitpistons) or Twitter (twitter.com/detroitpistons) will have access to three exclusive ticket offers for the game on February 2. Option 1 includes a 100-level ticket, social media t-shirt, exclusive pre-game meet and greet opportunity with Pistons’ forward Jonas Jerebko and VIP Club access for $125. Option 2 includes a 100-level ticket, social media t-shirt and exclusive pre-game meet and greet opportunity with Jerebko for $35. Option 3 includes a 200-level ticket and social media t-shirt for only $10.

The Pistons will also give selected local bloggers the opportunity to cover the game and write about their experience at The Palace. Following an application and approval process, bloggers will receive a lower-level suite ticket and have access to an exclusive post-game media interview session with forward Charlie Villanueva. Any post-game coverage that is shared will receive recognition on Pistons.com. Bloggers can apply athttp://www.pistons.com/social_app by January 26 to apply for this unique experience. The website location provided should include specific examples of your work in regards to Pistons or other sports coverage.

PNC, one of the nation’s largest financial holding companies, is the presenting sponsor for the Detroit Pistons. For more information about PNC, please visit www.pncbank.com.

 

Miami Dolphins and Fan Appz Team Up to Engage ‘Finatics’ Online

(Santa Monica, CA, December 14, 2010) ~ Fan Appz, a leading developer of social media marketing applications, today announced that the Miami Dolphins are using the Fan Appz platform to grow and engage their passionate fan base online as well as to promote games, merchandise, events and more through social media channels.  Fan Appz offers a suite of solutions to produce effective, highly measurable campaigns to spark user engagement, extend viral sharing and promote social competition while delivering a compelling way for brands to solidify and monetize their relationships with fans.

Over the coming weeks and months, the Dolphins will be working with their sponsorship partners to develop and execute social media campaigns that provide a deeper and more engaged connection between the Dolphins Facebook “Finatics” (fans) and the particular sponsor’s brand and social media and marketing objectives.

The Miami Dolphins have continually been ahead of the curve in using technology to boost their fan experience, and their activities to date on Facebook have earned the team nearly 500,000 loyal fans.  The Dolphins were also one of the first teams to deploy FanVision, a handheld device used within the stadium that enables fans to view instant replays, real-time stats from around the league, highlight reels of the game and the actual network telecast of the live event.

“We have a passionate fan base that is engaged with us through social media so we are always looking to leverage the latest technology to give our Finatics the best experiences available and to provide our marketing partners a seamless way to be a part of it,” said Jim Rushton, Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships and Integrated Media for the Miami Dolphins.  ”Partnering with Fan Appz made perfect sense given their successful track record with the NFL and other sports leagues.”

“Fan Appz is changing the way companies interact with fans online, and sports organizations like the NBA, the NFL and the Miami Dolphins are quickly recognizing the value of using social media to harness the collective passion of their fan base,” said Jon Siegal, Founder and CEO of Fan Appz.  ”When it comes to using technology, the Miami Dolphins are definitely leading the pack, and we’re proud to help them take full advantage of their social media presence to drive continued business success.”

About Fan Appz

With a reach of more than 100 million social media users, Fan Appz technology is used by many of the world’s largest sports and entertainment companies as well as tens of thousands of businesses to maximize the lifetime value of their customers and fans.  Fan Appz was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif.  For more information, please visit www.fanappz.com or Fan Appz on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FanAppz.

About Dolphins Corporate Partnerships and Integrated Media Group

The Dolphins Corporate Partnerships and Integrated Media Group’s primary mission is to provide the team’s corporate partners with fully integrated multi-media sports marketing programs comprised of new and existing Dolphins media and sponsorship assets including audio, video, text, and print and in-stadium elements.

There’s no doubt that in the last year, social media has exploded in the sports industry, with superstars from different sports joining platforms like Twitter and Facebook to interact with their fans. However, there has almost been as much negative noise about athletes using social media as there has been positive.

Although it may seem like a beat up topic for some, social media, especially in sports is still a fairly new phenomenon. PR crews do the best they can to educate and teach, but Twitter and Facebook were made to encourage open sharing for common-folk, not basketball all stars with paparazzi waiting to analyze their every character and Twitpic.

Simply put, it can be extremely hard for a professional athlete to fully grasp what should or not be said online, even with professional PR aid on the side. Athletes are passionate and emotional, and that’s what makes sports so interesting, but there are grey lines that ought not to be crossed, especially when an athlete is venting and just wants to be heard. I’m not trying to discourage authenticity, but as an athlete, (aka public figure) there are certain rules to play by (ie. – explicit swearing is generally a no-no).

This is where I believe social networks that promote exclusivity can help. Path is a brand new social network hot off the press that allows users to share photos with up to 50 friends. They don’t allow connections to other networks, and pride themselves on creating a community where members are allowed to share honestly and personally. An athlete could use Path as an outlet to add their inner circles and get their online social fix to share openly and freely without having to worry about being politically correct or doing something that may affect their image, while leaving their Twitter and Facebook pages available as engagement tools. Let’s just say Michael Beasley sure could have used Path to show off his new tats.

The revamped Facebook groups is another tool that encourages small, tight knit groups. As of right now, Path has plenty of limitations with no commenting and only allows pictures to be posted through their iPhone app. Facebook groups is a full fledged group network with commenting, photos, link sharing, and email notifications. In a private Facebook group with all his buddies, Charlie Villanueva could talk about fighting Kevin Garnett all he wants in any language he wants without looking like an immature attention seeker.