Archive for the ‘Social Media’ 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.

(Belmont, CA, April 25, 2011) ~  BlogHer, Inc., the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online, is teaming up with Gatorade, a company committed to providing sports performance nutrition innovation for athletes across all sports and competition levels, to launch a new BlogHer Sports section dedicated to conversation and community for female sports enthusiasts and moms who are raising kids in competitive athletics.

BlogHer created its new Sports section in response to the growing role that sports is playing in women’s online conversations. The Sports section will be a dedicated content area on the BlogHer website, alongside other sections dedicated to conversations around career, money and style. The section will feature BlogHer member posts about sports news, competing in sports and raising youth athletes.

For “Sports Moms” – moms of competitive youth athletes – the BlogHer Sports section will feature blog posts from moms across the BlogHer network who are sharing personal experiences in raising, fueling and preparing their youth athletes to be successful in sports and beyond. Gatorade will participate by providing tips, inspiration and blogger access to experts at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI), Gatorade’s science and educational facility dedicated to better understanding sports nutrition science and exercise physiology.

“Moms of athletes are no longer in the bleachers — these Sports Moms have taken an active role on the sidelines of youth sports, especially in the area of nutrition,” said Sarah Robb O’Hagan, president of Gatorade North America and global chief marketing officer for PepsiCo sports nutrition. “We know how much these Sports Moms do to help their athletes succeed, and we are absolutely thrilled that they can now find sports nutrition information and share their stories through BlogHer.”

“BlogHer is extremely proud to partner with Gatorade to showcase the stories women are telling about sports and their lives,” said Lisa Stone, CEO and co-founder, BlogHer Inc. “From athletes to fans to Sports Moms who are raising the next generation of athletes, women are using social media to share all their wins.”

For more information, please go to http://www.blogher.com/topic/sports and http://www.blogher.com/gatorade.

About BlogHer
Reaching more than 25 million women each month (Nielsen Site Census, October 2010), BlogHer is the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online. Founded in February 2005 by Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone, BlogHer’s mission is to create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment. Today BlogHer creates opportunities for members via a community hub (http://www.blogher.com), annual conferences and a publishing network of more than 2,500 qualified, contextually targeted blog affiliates. BlogHer provides the highest quality content on a range of topics, with all blogs continually edited to meet strict editorial standards, including content quality, category relevance and blog frequency. BlogHer enjoys a strategic partnership with iVillage, part of Women@NBCU. BlogHer’s investors are Venrock, GE/NBC Universal’s Peacock Equity Fund, and Azure Capital Partners.

About Gatorade
The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo, provides sports performance innovations designed to meet the needs of athletes at all competitive levels and across a broad range of sports. Gatorade® Thirst Quencher is backed by more than 40 years of research and is scientifically formulated and athletically proven to quench thirst, replace fluids and electrolytes, and provide carbohydrate energy to enhance athletic performance. The company’s product portfolio is built around the G Series®, a 1-2-3 approach to athlete nutrition and hydration before (Gatorade Prime 01®), during (Gatorade Perform 02® and G2®), and after (Gatorade Recover 03®) training or competition. For more information, please visit http://www.gatorade.com.

About PepsiCo®
PepsiCo offers the world’s largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 19 different product lines that generate more than $1 billion in annual retail sales each. Our main businesses — Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay, and Pepsi Cola — also make hundreds of other enjoyable and wholesome foods and beverages that are respected household names throughout the world. With net revenues of approximately $60 billion, PepsiCo’s people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet, which we believe also means a more successful future for PepsiCo. We call this commitment Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo’s promise to provide a wide range of foods and beverages for local tastes; to find innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment, including by conserving energy and water usage, and reducing packaging volume; to provide a great workplace for our associates; and to respect, support, and invest in the local communities where we operate. For more information, please visithttp://www.pepsico.com.

(San Diego, CA, April 7, 2011) ~ Active.com®, a media property of Active Network, and the leading online community that connects people with the sports and activities they love to do, today announced the nationwide expansion ofSchwaggle, a deal-of-the-day program offering exclusive deals on fitness-related products and services for the active consumer. Schwaggle is one of the first deal-of-the-day programs to distribute offers through both email and Facebook, with a greater opportunity to be shared virally. Kicking off this month, Schwaggle deals will be available in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The introduction of Schwaggle in the three largest U.S. cities will be closely followed by a rollout of the program to other cities nationwide for a total of 25 major markets by year-end, and select international markets in 2012.

Schwaggle was first introduced in the Bay Area in January of this year and initial consumer acceptance has been strong, with discounted deals to local Bay Area events such as Bay to Breakers and the Marin County Half Marathon selling out within hours. Now, active-minded consumers in the New York, Los Angeles and Chicago areas will have access three times a week to exclusive and targeted deals on sports and fitness products and services, discount registrations for endurance events and golf tee times.

“With the successful launch of Schwaggle in the Bay Area, we have lined up a host of local and national vendors ready to offer high-quality, relevant daily deals to active lifestyle consumers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and our upcoming cities,” said Brian Enge, vice president, strategic projects of Active Network. “Schwaggle provides a unique value proposition to both fitness-minded consumers who benefit from compelling offers, and vendors who benefit from a highly-targeted audience to whom they can market their products and services.”

The April launch dates and initial deals include:

  • New York 4/7 – discounted registration for Tunnel to Towers Run, a Run/Walk fundraiser for the 9-11 commission
  • Los Angeles 4/12 –discounted registration for Gladiator Rock’n Run
  • Chicago 4/19 – discounts on GU Performance Gels and Xterra Wetsuits

Organizations offering their products and services via Schwaggle have an opportunity to reach a large demographic of consumers comprised of runners and athletes, health and wellness enthusiasts, golf and tennis fans and adventurers. Schwaggle is the only online coupon software to sell a finite inventory of items so vendors won’t be overwhelmed by demand.

Active.com plans to further expand its Schwaggle plans program to include community events, camps and more in the near future. To learn more about Schwaggle, visit http://schwaggle.active.com.

About Active.com

The Active Network, Inc. is a leading provider of organization-based cloud computing applications serving diverse market segments including business events, community activities, outdoors and sports. Our technology platform, ActiveWorks™, transforms the way organizers manage their activities and events by automating online registrations and streamlining other critical management functions, while also driving consumer participation to their events. Our flagship media property, Active.com, is the leading online community for people who want to discover, participate in, and share activities about which they are passionate. Headquartered in San Diego, California since 1999, the company has over 25 offices worldwide. To learn more, visit us on the web at www.ActiveNetwork.comor www.Active.com.

Contacts

Active Network
Mona Klausing, 858-964-3813
Mona.Klausing@ActiveNetwork.com
or
The Blueshirt Group
Brinlea Johnson, 212-551-1453
Brinlea@blueshirtgroup.com

 

ESPN Front Row -Blog

Posted: April 8, 2011 in Social Media

The new blog, to be updated daily, will be managed by the Communications department, and be a collaborative effort among the company’s key personnel — meaning it will feature a variety of voices, opinions, and insights. Topics will focus on ESPN news and people, the employee experience, behind-the-scenes activity and will serve as a platform to address select company issues that are making news. ESPNFrontRow.com will feature a comment-posting functionality to allow two-way communication.

Sheldon Spencer, a journalist with more than 25 years of experience, will serve as the site’s primary voice. Spencer, most recently an NFL editor for ESPN.com, working with NFL blogs, served as a staff writer for the National Sports Daily (1990-91), Seattle Post-Intelligencer (1991-96) and the San Jose Mercury News (1997-2000).

As a more informal and personal source of news and insights than a traditional website, ESPNFrontRow.com will engage readers with both personality and authority as a source of information, photos, video and more. The blog will feature posts that attempt to educate the consumer as well as entertain them.

Opening Day, ESPNFrontRow.com will launch with a collection of real time photos that depict “A Day in The Life” at ESPN.

“The goal for ESPNFrontRow.com is to provide fans a window into ESPN,” said Mike Soltys, ESPN vice president, communications, domestic networks. “We will provide credible, relevant, informative and fun content that will take readers inside ESPN.”

Consumers will be able to access the site directly at www.espnfrontrow.com or via links on ESPN.com and ESPNMediazone.com home pages. Posts on the site will also be distributed via social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

 

~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.

 

(Atlanta, GA, March 15, 2011) ~ This year, NCAA March Madness will be just as much about the fan Tweets and Facebook posts as it will about the high-flying dunks, buzzer beaters and improbable upsets. That’s because Coca-Cola Zero, Turner Sports and CBS Sports have partnered to create the most impressive and robust online fan experience ever with the launch of the Coke Zero NCAA March Madness Social Arena.

From the First Four™ through the Final Four®, fans can log on to the Coke Zero NCAA March Madness Social Arena at CokeZeroSocialArena.com and follow every aspect of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, from the action on the hardwood to the online social commentary. This innovative digital experience will accompany live streaming of the games on March Madness on Demand (MMOD) and feature a real-time Social Ticker displaying fan chatter and trending social topics around the tournament, and a first-of-its-kind Social Bracket that ranks teams based on the sum of online conversation about each team. The MMOD experience, including the live player, can be accessed through NCAA.com, CBS Sports.com or SI.com. “Each year millions of everyday people suddenly become rabid basketball fans – immersed in the live action of March Madness and obsessed with following every play, every upset, every victory over the three weeks of this exciting tournament,” said Bea Perez, chief marketing officer, Coca-Cola North America. “With the Coke Zero NCAA March Madness Social Arena, we’re giving fans the ultimate way to follow the tournament wherever they are and play a role in March Madness through their own social commentary.” When visiting the Coke Zero NCAA March Madness Social Arena online or via the new iPad app, fans can monitor and contribute to the social chatter around each match up from their own Facebook posts and Twitter feeds. Fan comments and social media posts related to March Madness will appear in “Tourney Buzz” on the site.

 Joining in on the conversation will be CBS Sports and Turner Sports online and on-air basketball analysts who will be regularly commenting on live game action, sharing tournament observations and connecting with fans. The Coke Zero NCAA March Madness Social Arena also will contain an “Impressive Moments” section, a video portal highlighting the most exciting plays from each round of the tournament. Fans will be prompted to vote on their favorite impressive plays, and the video with the highest ranking will be featured on the national broadcast show, “Impressive Moments of March Madness” presented by Coke Zero airing at 3 p.m. EDT on CBS Sports leading up to the coverage of the Final Four games on April 2. And to top off this most impressive March Madness experience, Coke Zero is sponsoring a sweepstakes where fans have a chance to win tickets and a trip for two to the 2011 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Houston. Between March 14-24, fans can submit an entry on Coke Zero NCAA March Madness Social Arena for one of two grand prize packages, including two Final Four 2011 Final Four tickets, round-trip airfare and accommodations for four nights in Houston. To visit March Madness On Demand and explore the Coke Zero March Madness Social Arena, visit http://mmod.ncaa.com. iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch users can download the free NCAA March Madness On Demand app from the App store. More information on the Coke Zero NCAA Men’s Final Four Sweepstakes, including complete contest rules visit www.cokezerosocialarena.com.

 About The Coca-Cola Company The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. The Company’s portfolio includes 14 billion dollar brands, including Coca-Cola, recognized as the world’s most valuable brand, as well as Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply and Georgia. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company’s beverages at a rate of 1.6 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate.

 For more information about our Company, please visit our website at www.thecoca-colacompany.com.

 About the Turner Sports Turner Sports, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., is an industry leader in televised and online sports programming, airing championship level sporting events on TBS, TNT and truTV, and managing some of the most popular sports sites on the Internet. Turner Sports’ television line-up includes the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, NASCAR and professional golf. The company’s digital portfolio includes SI.com, NASCAR.COM, NCAA.com, PGATOUR.COM, GOLF.com and PGA.com, as well as an accompanying collection of mobile websites and connected device apps. Turner Sports and the NBA also jointly manage NBA Digital, which includes NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA LEAGUE PASS, NBA Mobile, the NBA Game Time App, NBADLEAGUE.com and WNBA.com. About the NCAA The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit http://www.NCAA.org and http://www.NCAA.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes. The NCAA is proud to have the following elite companies as official Corporate Champions — AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola — and the following elite companies as official Corporate Partners — Enterprise, The Hartford, Infiniti, LG, Lowe’s, Planters, Reese’s, Unilever and UPS. NCAA, Final Four, March Madness and First Four are licensed by or trademarks of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Contacts Coca-Cola Refreshments Kirsten Witt, 404-676-0314