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SUPERNOVA SPORT WEBSITE TRAFFIC BUILDING IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE

THE ENGLISH TOP FLIGHT


CONTENTS FOREVER RED Introduction

1

The Market

3

Primary Research

4

Online PR

6

Email Marketing

10

Mobile

12

Affiliate

16

Offline

18

Viral

20

Search

22

Online Ads

24

Conclusions

26

Recommendations 28 Bibliography

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INTRODUCTION Following on from the ‘Global Games’ issue, the focus now shifts to how sports’ websites and the operating clubs generate traffic to these sites. This is called traffic building, and in this edition The Premier League teams’ traffic building techniques will be analysed. The best at each technique will be profiled and critiqued based upon primary and secondary research. Live digital media will be examined and compared to others in the sector in order to explain what makes a good traffic building tool. There are eight key techniques of traffic building: Online PR, Email Marketing, Mobile, Affiliate, Offline, Viral Marketing, Search and Online Advertising . A planned mixture of these techniques will build traffic and this is put together through a strategy. This is an emarketing strategy purposely designed to utilise digital forms of advertising to achieve business objectives.

STEVEN GERRARD

SUPERNOVA SPORT TEAM Craig Bennett Chief Editor

Josh Oberman Assistant Editor

Reece Molyneux Content Analyst

ROBIN VAN PERSIE 1


INTRODUCTION

Number of old First Division and Premier League titles: Manchester United 19 Liverpool 18 Arsenal 13

The Premier League is the highest competitive division in English football that features 20 professional teams that can change each campaign, based on performance. Poor performance can lead to relegation at the end of a season, whilst the winners receive The Barclays Premier League Trophy. Each team plays 38 matches, twice against each team, once at home and once away. This league was founded in 1992 and has since become the best in the world, with some teams having global fan-bases that spread through all 7 continents.

All 20 football teams run as singular organisations, who act as shareholders in The Premier League corporation. Each club operates its own website, all globally accessible. The Premier League also runs an official website available for visitors positioned anywhere in the world.

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THE MARKET The Premier League marketplace is similar to that of other industries. Although consumer segmentation and teams’ market share are both based on fan support, the clubs still run as businesses in a tough economic climate. Supporters follow their teams for numerous reasons so highlighting a demographic for any team isn’t possible. However, the Premier League teams themselves still produce analysable market data. Here we can see the Turnover and Wage Bill comparisons for all 20 teams in the 2010-11 season. The Guardian report (2012) [online] explains how ‘The Premier League's 20 clubs made a record income of £2.3bn in 2010-11, yet still made a collective loss of £361m.’ The record spending of Manchester City across this season meant that they were to win the title the following season setting a record loss of £197m. In addition to this shocking data, only 8 teams in the Premier League recorded profit for the 2010-11 season yet we can clearly some clubs having far superior turnover compared to that of the wage bill, which is most clubs biggest expenditure.

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Manchester City – Champions 2011/12


TRAFFIC BUILDING USABILITY STUDY

PRIMARY RESEARCH A nine question survey study was carried out to analyse users’ opinions on some of the different traffic building techniques. The questionnaire was completed by fifty people, each with different answers. The structure of questioning was mainly in a multiple choice answer format. 1.

Do you receive emails from people, brands or companies advertising their products or services? Yes No Sometimes

2.

These email advertisements feature direct links to the company websites, how do you rate this as form of getting visitors to their specific website? Very Good Good Average Poor Very Poor

3.

When generally browsing online or through social media networks, do you see any banner advertisements or online ads that appear round content on different sites? Yes No Sometimes

4.

Upon click these ads take a user straight to the company websites, how do you rate this as a technique of generating website visitors? Very Good Good Average Poor Very Poor

5.

In support of your favourite Premier League football club, do you follow or participate in any social media networks, groups or fan pages? Yes No If Yes, please state………………………………………………

6.

Have you seen your Premier League football club or any other football club operating community based football programmes? Examples of this are: coaching, fan support, live chat, opinion polls, expert analysis, free media, communities, blogs and portals. Yes No Don’t Know

7. When seeking information or buying a product online, what entices you most to certain websites? Personal data capabilities

Free content

Promotional offers

Partnerships and Sponsorships with businesses you know

Mobile accessibility

Word of mouth

Other, please state………………………………………………………………………………………………………

8. Does traditional offline advertising like leaflets, newspaper/magazine ads, billboards and sales promotion offers, encourage you to visit the appropriate websites? Yes No Sometimes 9. When searching in a Search Engine (Google, Ask, Yahoo, Bing), do you always find the highest search results the most useful? Yes No Don’t Know

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QUESTIONNAIRE RESULTS GRAPHS

PRIMARY RESEARCH Q2

4%

Q4

8%

4% 20%

16% 24%

36% 26% 34% 28%

These pie charts show users’ ratings of email advertising (Q2) and online advertising (Q4) traffic building techniques. Each show different percentages but they both show over 30% of the 50 users feel that these forms of traffic building are good and over 20% rating the methods as average. Q5 results show that 31 users (62%) do participate in social media activity surrounding their favourite Premier League club. Many written answers given were ‘official pages’ and ‘unofficial groups’ through Facebook, Twitter and Blogs.

Q5 38% Yes

30

62%

25

27

Q8

20 15

No

16

10 5

7

0 Yes

No

Sometimes

The potentially key results from Q8 highlight significant importance, as the chart explains how some users are still driven by older, more traditional advertising forms. Traffic building techniques usually remain online, however there are positive results claiming that 54% are sometimes driven online by traditional advertising medias and 32% said yes, they are always driven to websites by traditional advertising.

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JACK WILSHERE


ONLINE PR Online PR are the activities of a brand or company conducted through marketing techniques. These can be through third party sites, networks or online communities that are highly visited by the target audience.

BUZZ BUILDING Creating noise and impact around brands and campaigns - Viral - Social Media - E-mail

Although Manchester United FC are the best team in the online PR sector, below is proof that it can go wrong, even for the best. The final 2012/13 squad photo was put together and released in September 2012. Disaster strikes, as the image is launched with a stand out spelling mistake. The picture was available through physical postage but was mainly distributed through online channels via download and Email.

BRAND ENGAGEMENT Generating user interaction to understand needs + influences - Surveys, forums, polls - Social Media feedback - User generated content

The team photo nightmare coincided with an early season ‘Anderson’ shirt mix up.

ONLINE PR ACTIVITIES SEARCH MARKETING Building external links in order to enhance SEO and SEM - Press Releases - Copy, AdWords, Key words - Widgets, Blogs

BRAND PROTECTION Reputation of brand and monitoring online activity - Crisis Management - Social Media observation - Online ads protection

RYAN GIGGS 6


WIDGETS

ONLINE PR

Widgets are generic software applications built upon coded technology . These are intended for multiple platforms including; desktop, mobile, web and television. Some Premier League teams have both official and unofficial widgets in the marketplace, with many consumers opting to use unofficial widgets. This is because a personal approach is adopted and users can customise more freely. This is effective as fans are more likely to keep using widgets as long as they coincide with what each user wants. ADVANTAGES

DISADVANTAGES

As well as being globally interpreted and understood, widgets are free to produce and therefore most are free to obtain. These can be used across multiple platforms for maximum efficiency. Social media widgets still enable the user to interact through their relevant accounts and communities. They are informative based and highly personable as consumers can alter and personalise settings and data to suit their needs. Many people use widgets to set reminders and alerts for scheduled meetings and appointments. More recreation based widgets are used for news and games related to the industry. There are also theme widgets, used mostly on mobile phones, these launch colour themes on handset.

However, widgets can be easily hacked and data can be stolen, as well as this, bug and virus problems are very common. Downloaded widgets are language set, therefore some widgets are not compatible with some devices, as these are of a different language. From this, system glitches can occur creating issue after issue. Widgets also require a lot of production testing prior to release in order to see relevant browser scripts support. This is because many browsers, especially on mobiles and tablets do not support scripts, technology that widgets are built around. Lastly, widgets can quickly become outdated, with thousands being produced daily, new themed widgets offer more up to date capabilities.

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SOCIAL MEDIA

ONLINE PR

MANCHESTER UNITED

Primary research through a usability study revealed that 62% tested users interact with their club via social media. Of the 31 responses given, many were Facebook pages, separate networks and players from their favourite club’ personal twitter accounts.

Q5 38%

62% Yes

No

8

Manchester United are the third most followed team on social media, behind Real Madrid and Barcelona. 23.4 million Facebook users follow the club on this platform. Being the Premier League’s elite social media site there are certain features Man United have used to create such effectiveness. Fan interaction is key and the club operate other social media platforms alongside Facebook. They were the first Premier League club to launch their own social network, in a bid to interact with its 500million fans.


ONLINE PR SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media marketing formulates a number of positive results for any business. As most social media is free, it immediately becomes attractive. Businesses will use multiple platforms and networks to interact with brand fans and other interested parties. It is an advantageous tool to use as it can produce feedback through the media communication process. If exploited well, social media will produce the adjacent features that are highly beneficial to companies, with ‘increased exposure’ and ‘developed loyal fans’, just some of the more crucial outcomes specifically relevant to Premier League football teams.

Business to business social media is also popular as the B2B stats card highlights. Companies in both B2B and B2C look to build and maintain successful social media activity, the below diagram focuses on the relevant aspects required.

Fulham FC also built their own social network site through Ning. This platform provides all the tools and expertise needed to make a community work. Fulham use this network to bring fans together and grow excitement for the team. There is a Social sign in, live chat, forums and videos, connected to 8,400+ fans, 70+ groups with 27,000 created discussion topics.

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EMAIL MARKETING

@ Conversation Email works best for marketing today when it can prompt a dialogue and encourage social sharing.

Integration Email campaigns need to be integrated to marketing communications and overall strategy.

Email Marketing is a digitalised form of direct marketing, it ‘is basically not much more than using the internet and email for direct marketing purposes’ (De Pelsmacker et al, 2010). Brands and companies use opt-in emails to skip other communication channels in order to target the precise demographics of consumers in the brand target audience. Emails allow marketers to aim highly targeted information in order to maintain consumer loyalty.

SMART INSIGHTS – EMAIL MARKETING: CRITCAL SUCCESS FACTORS

Relevance

Incentive

Meet the needs of the recipients. Targeted groups or segments need to be identified from the customer database. Need to avoid any Spam themes.

Creative + Copy

The WIFIM factor or ‘What's in it for me’ for the recipient. What benefits does one gain from clicking on the links.

Attributes The message headers such as the Subject line, From address and format have all been written about at length.

This is part of the creative and refers to the structure, style and explanation of the offer together with the calls-to-action in the email.

LUKAS PODOLSKI 10

Timing Time, day, week, month, year and regularity of email.

Landing Page The page reached after the user clicks on a link. Typically, on clickthrough, often the user will be presented with a direct response form to profile or learn more about them.

Can you stand out?


EMAIL MARKETING

Stoke City are renowned by many for having the most spirited and loyal fans in the Premier League, perhaps even the country. Its geographical location may aid this as there is no other big club for miles. However, this big fan base is not only built around the physical but also the digital. All Stoke City registered members who opt in for email will receive regular enewsletters and promotional offers. These are dispatched upon house lists and

sometimes feature cobranded and third party links too. This extensive e-plan helps involve fans in the dayto-day operations of the club making them feel wanted. Customisable data keeps the fans interested, this helps make Stoke’s plan efficient and gives it a USP that some other teams lack.

35 30 25 20 15

31

10 5

11

8

0 Yes

No

Sometimes

11

The survey research data shows a mixed reaction to Email marketing. 44 of 50 results showed email across Good, Average and Poor. 36% felt it is a good technique, supported by a further 8% saying it is very good to market through Email. In relation to question 1, email marketing showed good popularity amongst tested users as 62% do receive and 22% sometimes receive emails from brands and companies. Although this is not specifically related to Premier League football teams and the email marketing they do, the graph results do show a positive correlation. Looking at the two we can see high numbers of users receive emails and higher numbers of users saying they see this as an effective way to build traffic. Consumers know what they want and marketers should get up to date with trends and see that email can be big here and now.


MOBILE Mobile has launched a whole new dimension to advertising and marketing. It acts as the middle location between the consumer and the brand website. This is when enticing the customer is so vital in order to build traffic to a site. People’s lives now revolve around this small handheld device; being able to shop, browse the net, access bank details, navigate directions, locate restaurants and museums, pay bills and download media content.

SMS/ MMS APPS

GAMES

TYPES EMAIL

DISPLAY

Because of this, mobile attracts the younger generations, digital natives born in the age of technology and digital advancements. Therefore, for marketers, mobile data enables consumers to build awareness, and leads customers through the awareness to buying process. Mobile also enables easy repeat buying with storage of usernames, passwords and previous entered data, users can access this easily wherever they are.

Below shows screen shots of the Tottenham Hotspur website in mobile format (microsite) and in full both on a mobile device. We can clearly see the mobile layout fits full screen and there is no sideways scrolling only downwards. Whereas the full site it not as simple to use as one has to zoom to read text and scroll sideways for further navigation tabs and options.

MOBILE MEDIA

THEO WALCOTT 12


INTEGRATED MOBILE

MOBILE MOBILE EMAIL

As a platform, mobile offers marketers a different approach to communicate with consumers. Integrating other traffic building techniques into mobile marketing would be highly beneficial for those to try as the quick and easy accessibility through mobile helps encourage usability. From this, consumers will have established a link with the brand on their mobiles and will look to expand this through website exploration. Here we can see the popularity of mobile email, a quick and convenient way of accessing emails on the go. Marketers have the ability to target people at different points in the day, night or week, knowing roughly what the consumer is doing

and when they are doing it. These diagrams show that one in three say they are using mobile email more than ever, and that special offer emails are the most favourable to receive on the mobile platform. Promos + vouchers and real-time delivery tracking are also popular as the latter gives consumers the ability to see where parcels or packages are in the delivery process whilst they are on the go, without having to sit at a computer to find this information. Promos + vouchers, similar to special offers provide the customers with an incentive and are enticed to the brand. As a combination, mobile email provides the primary steps to building brand loyalty as the emails will be sent and received when the consumer is on the go. Perhaps even doing what the emails relative to, for example shopping, exercising or at the cinema.

LUIS SUAREZ 13


INTEGRATED MOBILE

MOBILE

Players are also involved in social media, notably Twitter, where they voice their opinions and day to day schedules. This poses as a good opportunity for marketers to exploit as players like Rio Ferdinand (below) have nearly 4 million followers. If targeted well this audience can be used effectively. Snickers demonstrated celebrity marketing as Ferdinand photo tweeted himself with a Snickers bar, sparking social media interest surrounding the official Snickers Twitter account.

Mobile social media is also a big feat in the Premier League and teams’ traffic building. Mobile gives users access to their social media accounts on the go, meaning that they are able to communicate through tweets, statuses and photos whilst at matches or whilst watching matches. Debates can spark, especially through twitter, as professional players can also get involved and these can relate to clubs, players, management, results and more. Football clubs can run social media campaigns at home matches knowing many of the thousands of spectators will be ready to go on their mobiles. Mobile social media gives the Premier League football teams the ability to interact with fans, just like normal social media, however it is on the go. This means up to date opinions, tweets and statuses happening here and now.

The moment Arsenal signed Olivier Giroud in Summer 2012, the club launched #WelcomeOlivier on its official Twitter account. Fans were encouraged to tweet with the hashtag welcoming Giroud to the club. Mobile social media in this instance meant that people who aren’t at work, in the office or at an internet enabled computer, were still able to participate and be involved through mobile technology. Fans from all over the world tweeted reactions to the deal instantly because of mobile social media capabilities. Most Premier League clubs operate their own official Twitter accounts via the internal marketing and PR teams.

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MOBILE TABLETS AND APPS

Tablets offer a similar marketing scope to mobile. However, the content can sometimes be more in depth because tablet consumption isn’t always the same as mobile consumption. As a result, marketers can target specific audience demographics with detailed advertising like banner ads on online content, email marketing and SEO/SEM. Search is different on a tablet compared to mobile as consumers atmosphere and situation whilst operating a tablet will be different.

Many apps combine Premier League football as one and split into different parts, one for each club. Upon club selection, the user will then reach the latest news feed for their team, being able to scroll through media reports. Being part of an app like this is good as consumers are able to look into the League as a whole, not just one team. Manchester City operate a successful app through the Apple AppStore and through Android Google PlayStore. The app features a variety of sections including news, matches and social media. The link here between app browsing and social media is also key and can drive users to the full MCFC website as a consequence. Marketing through this tool is good as it can be used to offer ticket and official merchandise promotions that fans would be highly interested in.

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Many use tablets whilst watching television, encouraging dual screen marketing through linear programing and social media conversation. Others will use their tablets for sofa banking, research into home or car insurance, recipe guides and much more. Consumers spend time on tablets, when in a more relaxed mood, perhaps at home. This enables marketers to include more information on tablets than they would through mobile marketing campaigns.

WAYNE ROONEY


AFFILIATE Affiliate Marketing is a popular method of promoting web businesses in which an affiliate is rewarded for every visitor, subscriber and/or customer provided through his efforts. It is a modern variation of the practice of paying finder's-fees for the introduction of new clients to a business. Compensation may be made based on a certain value for each visit (Pay-per-click), registrant (Payper-lead), or a commission for each customer or sale(Payper-Sale). The most attractive aspect of affiliate marketing, from the merchant's viewpoint, is that no payment is due to an affiliate until results are realised.

Cobranding

Links

Sponsorship

Apps Affiliate Marketing

Liverpool football club have the most affiliate partnerships in the Premier League. Affiliate marketing or using business partnerships to attract more users to the website. This also links to the

Liverpool’s affiliate marketing structure sees partners of the club promoted directly on the Liverpool website, This shows the value of the agreements with various sponsors to the club. One key affiliate of the club is Indonesia Airlines, who use the link with Liverpool football club to promote tourism to the country. This is reciprocated by Liverpool wanting to extend the global reach of the clubs brand.

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Liverpool co-branding, with its business partners, to attract more users to its website. This is done through events and competitions by the business partners that link back to Liverpool football club.


AFFILIATE

Manchester united also have a strong partnerships with Turkish airlines and Chevrolet. This shows how important online media partnerships are to the Premier league and all of its clubs.

Having strong media partnerships can help premier league football clubs extend their global reach, Manchester United have increased subscriptions to its MUTV service in the middle east by 31% due to the link with Turkish Airlines. Liverpool have been able to set up football academies in other countries for free, and encourage support for the club in countries that previously had no idea about football. This shows the power of using partnerships to expand your brand in a less expensive way.

Smart Insights Affiliate Marketing Success Factors Commission This needs to be competitive to increase eCPM or EPC for the affiliate. Cookie expiry period or window The more you can extend this from 7 to 15 to 30 or even in some cases 90 days will increase EPC. Conversion rate / average order value If these are competitive within your sector you will be bale to offer a more better commission than your competitors so affiliates will display your links and ads more preferentially.

Affiliate marketing between Manchester United and Turkish Airlines resulted in the production of United themed graphics for TA aircrafts. Similarly, affiliate sponsor Chevrolet announced the deal by providing every first team player with a free Chevrolet car. Both mass market each brand to opposing audiences, generating awareness and raising the club profile.

Communication of offers and creative You have to make it easy for affiliates to do the best job for you by contacting them in advance with new products and deals and giving them the creative, feeds and content they need to promote you. Relationship value do they value working with you – do you offer them extra apart from the commission?

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OFFLINE Offline traffic building must effectively communicate the organisations URL and OVP. Manchester United use effective offline strategies in order to promote their website and build traffic.

Manchester United have their own football channel on Sky TV where fans can watch exclusive programming that cannot be found anywhere else. Examples of content are unrivalled player access, matchday build-up and live U18s and U21s. Fans can watch premier league football fixtures specifically linked to the club. MUTV requires any Sky TV or Virgin Media package at a cost of ÂŁ6 a month. MUTV is a good way to build traffic building to the website because once fans have subscribed to MUTV they are able to videos on demand on the clubs website.

PAUL SCHOLES

Direct marketing can be used to increase traffic building. The Manchester United website allows for people to register to the website. This allows fans to be the first to know about products, offers and promotions. Manutd.com uses direct mailing to target customers and offer them products when they have purchased an item from the online store. This encourages people to keep returning to the website and it increases loyalty. Every year, United organise a preseason tour in a foreign country, mostly on a different continent to their own, where football isn’t as popular. For the 2012/13 season united held their pre-season tour in Johannesburg, South Africa. This is a good traffic building technique as it builds awareness to football in different countries and raises the teams profile in that country. This is also good PR for the team because it shows how Manchester United is trying to support football worldwide.

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OFFLINE MUTV Video playback will increase traffic building because it means customers can watch MUTV away from home. Traffic building is also increased because customers are also able to join MUTV online if they do not wish to telephone Sky.

GLEN JOHNSON

During Manchester United football matches the ad boards will display adverts for the clubs partners and sponsors. Manchester United uses the advertising space around the pitch in order to build traffic for their website. The electronic ad board around the football pitches often changes and at times it will display the website manutd.com. This can attract fans to the website that are viewing the game in the stadium or from home.

Another way the club does this is through merchandise shops, which encourage customers to become members of the United website to gain a 10% discount on merchandise throughout the official online megastore.

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VIRAL Pass on Media emails coverage Buzz Word of marketing mouth

Viral marketing involves marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks and other technologies to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes.

In the Premier League Arsenal do this the best due to links with Nike and also in house viral video adverts. These show how Arsenal use viral campaigns to appeal to fans, and also links with its kit supplier Nike to establish and expand the brand throughout the football audience. The football industry uses Viral advertising to promote merchandise and

products, Premier League football clubs such as Arsenal use the campaigns to attract supports to the brand, and inform them of changes in the Merchandise, as you can see from the video clips.

Six Secrets of Viral Content Mark Hughes – Buzz Marketing Author

Six Viral Marketing Hooks

SANTI CAZORLA

#1 Taboo

#2 The Unusual

#3 The Outrageous

#4 The Hilarious

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#5 The Remarkable

#6 Secrets


VIRAL Another club that uses viral advertising is Chelsea, they recently used one of their players, Fernando Torres, in a viral video to promote new kit. This shows how viral advertising with the Premier League is growing, and the use of star players to promote the team and what it has to offer supporters is the main way clubs are using it. Viral is not the forefront of teams’ strategies as it can also cause negativity and unnecessary slating. Chelsea also launched a viral video of four first team squad members playing life size space invaders. This sparked both media and social media interest, generating consumer conversation.

ADVANTAGES

DISADVANTAGES

Social networking has increased exposure as media and news can spread global instantly. Low costs or free to produce. Time and resources are easily available. Easy to integrate with other marketing.

Association with unknown groups and spam threats, both leading to software abuse and actual brand negativity. Brand dilution. Negative buzz or a potential nuisance factor.

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SEARCH

Search engine marketing (SEM) increases visibility in search engine results pages (SERP) through optimisation and advertising. Create relevant Keywords and Ad Groups

Test Ads and Keywords

PPC Management Refine the campaign

Measure Results

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an effective way to get more traffic to your website and improve the quality of that traffic. Search engine optimisation is where the visibility of a website is affected in order to rank higher on search engine results. The website will receive more visitors and advertise the website better the earlier and more frequent it appears on the search results list. Chelsea are good at SEO because when you type in the generic search term “football club� into a search engine such as Google, the official Chelsea website is the first web result that appears on the page.

Pay per click advertising (PPC), advertisers pay when their ad is clicked. It is used for the advertising on search engine results and also on banner advertising. When keyword searches are done on search engines there are contextual ads displayed around the ads. If these are clicked on then the results will charge the company for paying the featured ad. For the advertiser, keywords are given to search engines which let them know to display the ads on the results page when people search for those keywords.

JAMIE CARRAGHER 22


SEARCH PPC ADVANTAGES

PPC DISADVANTAGES

Instant Results

Expensive

One of the fastest ways of driving traffic to a website, as ads will appear instantly upon activation.

PPC payment is dependant upon how many clicks an ad gets. A business’ ad could be clicked frequently within a short space of time equating to high payment costs.

Control and Flexibility

Click Fraud

Ability to design campaign ads that meet business needs. Flexibility comes through performance tracking and targeting ads at a particular position incorporating certain keywords a specific times.

Some publishers will attempt to earn more money by clicking on PPC ads on their own sites. Some also use family and friends to do the same.

Budget Setting

Internet users can sometimes accidently click on ads, directly taking them to other sites. This results in the users immediately shutting the page or clicking the back button, this will obviously not result in any sales.

PPC gives freedom through costs control by setting daily and monthly budgets. One can decide how much they wish to pay for keywords to meet marketing targets.

Pay for Results The operating business only pays when an ad is clicked on which means there are no posting or placing fees.

Targeting PPC allows us to target ads so that they only appear to certain customers. This is aided by the choice of keywords purchased. Targeting can come through language, location, and different demographical characteristics.

Accidental Clicks

No Guarantees Paying for PPC does not mean that you will make money from the clicks accrued. Millions of users click on links and the leave the page. Not all clicks translate into sales.

Heavy Competition Competition for key words is high. Using unpopular key words and phrases is a good way to avoid this. But again, acquiring popular key words and phrases still doesn’t mean that clicks will translate into sales.

Level Playing Field All business are on a level playing field, they bid and purchase for keywords specific to their ads. This means that larger businesses will not always gain and the smaller businesses lose out.

Social Social Media User engagement

Link Building Manual Requests & link creation

The SEO pyramid is a basis to establishing successful search engine optimisation. The process begins at the bottom building upwards.

Scanable, content-based link strategies

Keyword Research & Targeting Keyword brainstorming Term/Phrase Selection On-page targeting – titles, metas, URLs, H1s, text, internal anchor text

Accessible, Quality content Unique text content Bot accessibility URL structure Internal link architecture Sitemaps Server response codes

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ONLINE ADS

Banner ads are an important aspect of internet advertising as they can attract the consumer and by clicks, lead to sales. This type of internet marketing is used for two main reasons, the first being to alert and entice online users in and the second to generate and maintain brand awareness.

Above is an example of banner advertising related to Premier league football teams. Here, Arsenal and Nike have utilised wellknown online sports equipment retailer Pro Direct Soccer to display the Arsenal home kit. Upon click, this banner ad takes the user to a separate new page solely selling the Arsenal home strip.

There are four main criteria banner ads should follow in order to maximise attraction and click potential. 1. Banner ads should only be present on websites that are relative to the ad content. 2. Creatives should design banner ads to only advertise products of services, as opposed to websites. 3. Banner ads shouldn’t feature on homepages, only on product selling pages, linking to both 1 and 2, expressing relevance in targeting. 4. In order to be seen as much as possible, banner ads should only be placed at the top of webpages. Higher placed ads do not require the user to scroll down the page.

Do your research Keep it simple

Be picky with your words Keep the file size low Choose colours with context in mind Find the right place for them Deliver on your promise

ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN

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ONLINE ADS Sometimes 36% Yes 50%

Primary research data highlighted the popularity of and user visualisation of banner ads, however this type of digital advertising is rarely used by premier league football clubs.

No 14%

4% 16%

20%

26% 34%

Question 3 asked users if they actually see banner ads whilst browsing online. The conclusions from the above graphs are that only 14% of tested users do not see any sort of placed banner ads at all. Exactly half said that they regularly see banner advertising whilst online with the remaining 26% only sometimes seeing these ads. This question posed was relative to banner ads in general, not specific to the PL football clubs.

ASHLEY YOUNG

Liverpool use online banner adverts to advertise the latest football games to fans, this works well as a fan could be watching a game’s highlights online and then see a banner advert for the next game and be interested in attending. By using multiple online medias to promote different aspects of the club, Liverpool football club can be seen to have an extensive online advertising plan.

The following tested users’ opinions of banner advertising. A combined 44% think it’s a good and very good technique of traffic building. However roughly a quarter only say that it is an average form of digital marketing for site traffic building. On the negative, only 20% of users felt that it is not a good technique to adopt when building traffic.

Another club that uses online advertising to promote itself is Arsenal. They use behavioural targeting to advertise the club to fans; they do this by analysing who watches arsenal related videos on YouTube, then placing arsenal online TV adverts around their channel in order to get them to visit their official site. This shows how the club is using new technology to locate and attract fans to official online portals.

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CONCLUSIONS Upon conclusion a number of issues arise as the Premier League football clubs industry marketing strikes a unique approach to digital. Immediately, factors that arise are that offline, search, viral and online ads are the least used traffic building techniques. As football clubs are business that are financially secure through fans buying merchandise and season ticket and regular ticket sales. This means that traffic building communications need to encourage fans to support as opposed to get fans to actually buy. Online PR This form of traffic building is popular in the industry as football clubs like to use fan content to encourage support and therefore generate web traffic. Activities such as video players and other free media are used but the most popular aspect of online PR is social networking. Widgets on mobile and tablets are also used by many clubs, some producing official widget apps. Social media is massive amongst Premier League football clubs, as fans can communicate both with each other and the club, as well as players and participate in online media activities. This is the most popular traffic building feature in the in

DANIEL STURRIDGE

the industry. Most professional teams operate across one or multiple social networks building more and more fans by the week, enabling them to communicate with the club and fellow fans, and to receive free club content. Email Marketing Personal email marketing is more regular in this industry compared to group mail marketing. Registered member fans receive tailored emails advertising ticket sales and official club merchandise. Primary research into this area rated this technique as quite effective as 88% felt email marketing was at least average, good and very good. Customising emails to directly address the receiver is a good plan to adopt as it encourages rapport building between the fan and the club, sparking further email offerings in the future. Premier league teams often use monthly e-newsletters as the basis for email marketing, both brand building and personal selling at the same time. Mobile M-commerce is the newest big thing in the digital marketing arena, it now means that consumers can be targeted wherever they are, whatever they are doing and whenever in the day. This scope across the Premier League is very advantageous as clubs can integrate other marketing through mobile. These can include, social media, email and viral, with viral content being spread through both social networks and personal email. The freedom marketers have with mobile is unprecedented, fans can now get involved in social media activity whilst at matches, this encourages ticket sales and as a consequence drives web traffic. Official and unofficial team apps are very popular on the android and appstore markets on mobile, fans are able to download these, many for free, further building fan association with the club and encouraging supporters to visit the websites in order to receive further club content.

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CONCLUSIONS Affiliate Team sponsorship is big in sport in general, and in the Premier League football sector, many clubs have multiple sponsors with some teams having over ten affiliate businesses. Clubs like Liverpool and Manchester United have many, and United operate with AON as the kit sponsor with DHL sponsoring training kit. Businesses and brands are desperate to be associated with top Premier League teams as the fan bases are huge. Clubs like United have millions of global fans who can be exposed to club affiliate and sponsorship companies, raising business awareness. This is a good traffic building technique to adopt as site visitors on affiliate brand sites will often be referred to and linked to the affiliate football team site. This promotes more traffic as visitors will come via affiliate brands.

Search SEO and SEM are also not very popular in the Premier League sector as professional clubs don’t necessarily rely on website traffic to succeed as businesses, especially as ticket and merchandise sales on and prior to match day produces main operating profits. However, search marketing could be used to drive users to websites for certain aspects, if they are trying to identify one specific thing. This is more suited as fans may be able to search for ‘Chelsea’ and placed ads via search engines will show links to the official club store . This in fact is done to drive traffic as the online club store is an area of the full official site. Search marketing can drive visitors to purchase goods, thus increasing website traffic and merchandise purchases at the same time.

Offline Manchester United majority use advertising over other offline techniques to increase traffic building. It requires continued work to generate a regular stream of incoming visitors such as advertising and PR. Primary research was strong in this area as some consumers are still driven to sites by traditional advertising, providing useful opportunities for marketers to carry on exploiting , in order to be successful.

Online Ads Banner advertising is also not very popular in this industry as, similar to search, club merchandise sales don’t necessarily contribute to business success as much as it would if it were a sole product or service selling organisation. Clubs can use this form of traffic building to sell products effectively. These ads can be strategically placed on affiliate sites or other sports site closely linked to the specific teams and the Premier League.

Viral Viral marketing is a good technique to adopt via social media. Premier League teams may look to market viral content to spread through social networks and fan chat rooms in order to create a buzz surrounding the club performance and activities. These can feature on official club sites, driving traffic via shares through social media featuring links to the viral videos and images on the club site. This isn't as big as some traffic building techniques as it can be costly to produce video content that is just going to drive traffic as opposed to attract more fans. However, it is effective especially through social media and could be exploited a lot more in the future.

ANTONIO VALENCIA 27


RECOMMENDATIONS Online PR The main recommendation here is to encourage all Premier League football clubs to launch their own social media network. This can be done in house or through outsourcing but establishing interactivity between the club and its fans has numerous advantages. Manchester United is a successful example of a club owned social network. However, social networking can be done through existing platforms like Facebook but building a separate social site for fans can encourage all age demographics in contribute and interact with the club and its activities, as Facebook only appeals to certain age groups. Additionally, Fulham FC have launched their own network through ning, site software that can be bought, built and maintained by employees. We advise all clubs to use social media to reach out the their fans and to keep supporters interested, this can be done through competitions, freebies and downloadable content. As a whole, social networks will drive traffic to the official club sites through links and mainly affiliation with official merchandise through the online shop, and via news articles and up to date content. Mobile M-commerce or mobile marketing is current, therefore the recommendation here is for Premier League teams to use mobile technology to market the club and brand. Supporters are known to be on their mobile phones throughout

The day and can be targeted by traffic building activities The scope of activity across mobile is huge, marketers are able to reach consumers through social media on mobile, and through widgets, apps, games and email. Emails can be tailored to suit the part the part of day they are being sent out at. Apps are already very popular, with both official and unofficial ones being available. However, teams should look to use mobile as a way of reaching their supporters, this can be useful during half time activities at live matches, both for supporters in the stadium and fans watching elsewhere. Viral Viral promotional materials currently not very common but funny and watchable but relevant viral content can drive supporters to websites as they will always want to see more, and communication with other fans regarding the video or image on the site page. This technique can be expensive to produce but if used and delivered well, traffic will always be generated as fans will always want to laugh and are always intrigued by unique content featuring their teams’ players. This video or image content can also reach targeted fans through multiple media platforms, including, mobile and tablet, and can be reached through email, social media and other online PR forms like apps and games. WE recommend that Premier League teams use this technique in order to built further site traffic.

M: SIR ALEX FERGUSON

M: ARSENE WENGER 28


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Premier League Traffic Building  

Traffic building in the Premier League football sector

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