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Engaging with Fans in the Smartphone Era

By: Andy Cooper

Fans are smarter than ever before, resulting in an increased appetite from sports fans for information. Push messaging has become an integral proponent of the mobile application strategy, playing a huge role as sport embraces the digital age. That said, there is a fine line between engagement and annoyance for users.

Consumer Engagement

Sports fans are hungry for real-time content, making push notifications and the sports industry the perfect combination. For live sport apps, the initial component for push messaging is obvious: notifications based around the score line. Whether a run is scored in baseball or a goal in soccer, push messages allow fans to get real-time score updates delivered straight to their smartphones. This, of course, allows the consumer to track the progress of not just their own teams but also their rivals. However, pushing real-time scores may not lead to further engagement, as they could provide all the information that the consumer requires at that point – especially if the app does not include information that the notification contains.

The demand from the user for information and insights provides the opportunity to push more than the score line. From injury updates to starting lineups, news to video, and insights to statistics, the push message should act as a tool to entice the fan – taking the user from a notification to engagement with the app itself. There is a wealth of potential opportunities to push notifications to the user; however, this can be off-putting to some, and this is where customization to allow the user to choose their preferred content is important.

Customization Is Key

There is a fine line between engagement and annoyance for users of push notifications, which is where customization becomes vital. Overuse of push notifications could result in infuriation more than engagement, leading to users removing the app. Allowing the consumer to pick the type of content they want to view, from as little to as much as the user would want, gives the user the control of what they want from the notification service.

Technology that profiles user interests, such as favorite teams/players and what content a user wishes to be notified of (like score lines, statistics, and video) can further empower the app, as this will allow the manufacturer to understand exactly what provides the most interest to users of the app – and content can then be built around this data. The addition of location services, including a check-in service if at the stadium, could provide further opportunities for notifications, as fans going to matches could have more interest in real-time information sent directly to their devices, such as team news and football statistics, or even the weather on match day, than those watching from home.

With the increased appetite from fans for information, push notifications are perfect for sports, and allowing the user to customize notifications to detail what they receive provides the manufacturer of the app the opportunity to load up on content for further engagement.

By: Jimmy Coverdale