Mark Adair

Arsenal reveal how they use data to boost fan engagement

The way we watch, engage, and interact with our favourite sports clubs is undergoing changes. Recent UK research suggests that data will now have a more important role in fan engagement than ever before. Sports clubs are now re-evaluating how to future-proof their strategy to attract and retain loyal fans.

But despite the vast data sets at the fingertips of sports marketers, there is much room for improvement when it comes to delivering relevant, personalised communications or messages, experiences, or content to fans in real-time.

According to Cheetah Digital’s report for sports teams and associations, 55 per cent of fans will share psychographic data points like purchase motivations and product feedback with sports brands. Even more, half of all fans surveyed said they desire incentives like coupons, loyalty points, or exclusive access in return for their data.

Whether to boost match-day excitement, connect with fans, monetise a global audience, or increase content relevancy to reach a specific demographic; sports organisations are using Cheetah Experiences to create impactful digital experiences that drive results.

Arsenal F.C. intelligently uses data to enhance digital engagement amongst one of the largest and most passionate fan bases in the world – it’s estimated to be upwards of 750 million people!

The club built out its omnichannel campaign strategies through various technologies with Cheetah Digital being the main platform. That ensures the communication it sends out is relevant to fans and that it’s communicated on the right platforms at the right times in the right tone.

Adam Rutzler, Senior Campaign and Insight Manager at Arsenal, says the most crucial aspect of his team’s work is ensuring that fans receive the best content that’s most relevant to them. “We work with a ‘magic triangle’, the power of three – transactional data, a demographic segmentation, persona-led approach, and behavioural data.

“We get a solid understanding of our fans by taking the combination of these three things and hitting the sweet spot in the middle. What are our fans buying, who are they, and how do they engage with our football club – that’s when we really get the power of understanding our fans, what they want from us, and how we can best give that to them.”

Where Arsenal has noticed the most traction and where it’s getting some real buy-in from fans, however, is in giving away those “money-can’t-buy prizes”, such as corner flags from matches. Fans are really excited about these types of prizes. That memorabilia from clubs is truly meaningful to fans who are very passionate about their teams.

Going forward, Adam says he’s excited about all the possibilities data opens up for the club. “What’s exciting about the insights we’re working with right now to continue understanding our global following is the possibility of turning our triangle into a square by adding psychographic data in.

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