Brand wars: What drives sportsbooks' share of voice?
Published 4th July 2014
Most iGaming brands are focusing their attention on what to do with their social media profiles: what should be posted on Facebook, how do we manage our Twitter and what video content could be developed for our YouTube channel?
Justified questions, but what many brands don’t realise is that their branded social media profiles are probably not going to be the largest voices impacting their brand. During the past four months I’ve studied online brand mentions of 47 sportsbooks across social networks, blogs, forums and news sites. In the iGaming Business Social Monitor report I’ve unveiled that the combined voice of a brand’s total audience, ie the voice of customers, affiliates and partners talking about a specifi c sports book, can be up to 25x the reach of the brand’s own social media channels.
That should be an eye-opener for most marketing people about what and who impacts a brand in social media. Of the sports book researched I saw a big difference in how sportsbooks’ own social media content impacted the voice and reach of their audience.
A brand like Paddy Power with close to 250,000 monthly mentions across all channels would never have such reach if it weren’t for their cheeky, humorous and timely content and marketing stunts. When Paddy puts a replica of Sir Alex Ferguson outside the Old Trafford with the instructions “In case of emergency break glass”, they give the Twittersphere, bloggers and journalists the golden content they want, in return this gives Paddy Power the branded online reach they need.
There are other brands that have little following on social media and aren’t really doing anything remarkable that their audience talks about. Instead the trend is that such sports books are focused on delivering a great product, good odds and customer service. This is what fuels the social media buzz from its audience. Such an example is 188Bet; its own, almost 7,000 Twitter followers, dwarfs compared to the combined Twitter audience of 171,168 followers that talked about 188Bet in April.
Of course, the more Twitter followers a brand has, the larger audience it can reach, but I think that the above graph illustrates the opportunity for today’s sports books to better discover how they can further
energise their online audience and build their reach through them.
So what could sportsbook brands do to energise their online audience to talk about them? Not every sportsbook can (or want) to be like Paddy Power, but every sportsbook can look at where their money is being spent today and relocate to activities that yield better reach on social media. Whilst a bespoke shirt sponsorship of a football club brings a certain amount of eyeballs it also comes with a hefty price
tag. And guaranteed that a press release announcing the new partnership won’t make the Twittersphere go wild.
Whilst Paddy Power wins its audience by being remarkable, being innovative, trustworthy or best also works. Best is hard, innovative is challenging and trustworthy takes time. But sometime it’s about not building an online reach with an audience; treating customers badly, cheating and doing the wrong things can build up a large online reach in an instant.
Traditional media is no longer the only channels that creates brand impressions, neither is brands’ own social media profi les. In 2010 a drew an illustration that a called the “Social media purchase funnel”, and I think it is more relevant today than it was back then.
At the center of brand impressions on social media sits the customer, someone that has placed bets on your sports book, interacted with your customer service department and read your newsletters. The value of that free bet just increased a tiny little bit with @ samsonmcmuffin’s tweet. At the heart of understanding of how you as a sports book can energize your online audience for increased amount of positive brand mentions lies rigid work of analyzing who’s talking about you, where, when and about what.
Even if the overlap of customers is huge, each sportsbook is different in its own way, and very few sports books are today actively trying to energize its audience. There’s a huge opportunity for the right brands to get smart about this!