Digital Fan Engagement After COVID-19: Three Takeaways

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy on anyone, least of all on sports fans and content providers. For many fans, watching sports is a way to unwind and get away from the stresses of everyday life. Unfortunately, most sports organizers were unequipped to deal with the obstacles presented by a pandemic, which led to cancellations and many fans being forced to find alternative ways to fulfill their desire for sports-related content. 

This was true not just of sports fans, but fans of all stripes. During the pandemic, most entertainment and media engagement transitioned from physical events to a more digital-oriented landscape. Although more sports events are finally happening again, the pandemic is far from over, and there is no doubt that it will take more time before consumers revert back from their digital habits after living through a year and a half of lockdown — if ever. For companies who want to increase fan engagement in 2021 and onwards, here are three vital considerations to top your checklist.

Prioritize Data Capture

If there was any lesson to be learned in the 21st century about fan engagement even before the pandemic, it was that data is king. However, the lifestyle changes forced by the pandemic have made data capture an even more vital component to any digital fan engagement strategy. As with any attempt to engage with people, advertisers have to know their audience. 

While physical advertisements can be placed in specific locations where visitors tend to have similar specific interests or otherwise have something in common, on the web, it is far more difficult to tune your advertisements towards an audience. Unless you concentrate on sophisticated data capture and analysis, this can seem like an insurmountable obstacle. However, companies like us here at Fanisko make this easy by providing advertising companies with the tools and analytical services required to efficiently capture and use consumer data.

Catch Trends Early

Another prime lesson of the COVID-19 pandemic was the significance of social media and digital connection in people’s lives, which became particularly apparent once physical social interaction became more difficult. Social media use skyrocketed during the pandemic, and platforms such as TikTok increased in users and online media presence at an astounding rate. 

Companies that caught on to this trend early on were able to capitalize extremely well on a platform with a huge user base, without having to compete with every other advertiser. Social media platforms that make it easier to engage with content and other people have taken new importance in the post-pandemic world, and sports companies should take care to stay informed on the newest trends in order to most effectively engage fans. 

Bridge the Digital Divide

One of the most critical issues that most sports and advertising companies had to face at the start of the pandemic was the lack of preparation and infrastructure to transition to a completely digital media platform. Not only did this result in lost engagement during the early days of the pandemic, but it also reveals an endemic issue in the sports industry at failing to keep up with modern advances. 

More people than ever are engaging with digital content, and different generations engage with different types of digital content. Understanding what your target audience is using and transitioning to a model of engagement that can easily reach people digitally is crucial for success in 2021 and beyond. To learn more about how we can help you build your brand, please contact us today.

Has COVID Been Hard On Fans?

Look, if you’re really thinking about this question, the answer would have to be yes. It was immensely hard for some sports enthusiasts to deal with all of the interruptions, restrictions, limitations and shutdowns imposed on everything from peewee baseball to the NFL.

We also went through a lot of stages in this pandemic – those first weeks where everyone was panicked – then the intervening months where slowly, very slowly, some things started to loosen up. We got used to wearing masks everywhere, and we could go to the grocery store, but stadiums were still very limited in how many people they could accept. It was confusing, and a lot of people had to cancel plans, numerous times. There just wasn’t a lot of clarity at the beginning. We all had to muddle through somehow, as they say in that Christmas song. Eventually, 2020 came and went. Good riddance!

Electronic Sports

Here’s a silver lining, though. The major advances that the world has made in digital entertainment and recreation have been really profound, and that’s been front and center in the pandemic era. As soon as things started to shut down, we saw a lot of activity move toward digital sports utilities and platforms. Now we have really widespread forms of digital sports participation and fan platform activity, inspiring type of advances and initiatives that offer more to people who are homebound for whatever reason.

That really dovetails with what we do, because if you look back through the blog and other resources on the site, you’ll see that we’re very actively promoting building sports brands digitally and online. We also hold the principle of gamification, which is key to a lot of these digital innovations. Gamification, simply put, is the idea that by improving the interface and the user experience, you get more engagement and attention. The end user gets something, too – a more fun platform! So that’s a win-win and we always try to underscore the importance of gamification is everything we do.

So while COVID has been hard on the fan base, it’s also given us new opportunities to communicate in ways that require less resources. Instead of flying across the country and paying hundreds of dollars to sit in a seat, you have really vibrant multiscreen viewing and wagering and fantasy clubs and much more. Take a look at what we have done to contribute to this brave new world of esports and digital gaming. We’re excited about what’s here, and what’s coming in the future!