In this episode of the Football Business Podcast named “How to make the most of your digital reach“ we talked to Luis Viveiros, Chief Operating Officer at Horizm, and Diogo Canas, Head of Social Media of the renowned Portuguese club – S.L. Benfica. Below are the podcast’s key takeaways.
Digital assets can drive more revenue opportunities
Luis stated that clubs should find ways to monetize their digital assets. When he first entered the football industry, digital reach was just an add-on for sponsorship. Now, even though the industry is still in the early stages of digitization, most teams have already adapted and seen it as a crucial revenue generator. Furthermore, the rising trends like Web3 or Metaverse are recent buzzwords that football clubs are trying to understand and put into practice. This will help clubs provide an immersive fan engagement, and the money will follow, eventually. And, of course, clubs can attract brands and sponsors who want to be part of it.
Diogo added that it’s easier for clubs to measure all kinds of metrics in the digital landscape and show value to potential sponsors. For example, clubs can now show the exact number of times their sponsors are exposed on each channel. Also, every social media platform nowadays will have different monetization tools.
Head of Social Media, S.L. Benfica
The impactful metric for digital monetization – Value Per Fan
There’s no single measurement that answers everything right. For digital reach, Diogo and his social media team at Benfica adopt standard metrics like impression or engagement rate. However, regarding monetization, clubs are recommended to consider this one impactful metrics – Value per Fan.
- Value per fan: The digital value that teams/leagues can generate from their digital fanbase. This simple formula is total digital inventory ÷ total audience size.
Luis used the GDP and GDP per capita as examples. While GDP is a country’s total annual production of goods and services, GDP per capita is a country’s economic output per person. This works the same for total fan size vs. value per fan. For example, on a global scale, everybody only talks about the total size where we have elite giants like Real Madrid, Barcelona, or Man United. However, it doesn’t mean clubs with bigger digital fanbases can extract more value from fans. Smaller clubs with better content still can surpass the elites in terms of value per fan.
Diogo also shared that it also differs from platform to platform. At Benfica, while Facebook has been around for a long time and has the biggest size, Instagram and Youtube actually bring more value in growth and revenues.
Being agile is the answer to the future changes of social platforms
The truth is that we can’t tell what the future holds. The lifespan of social platforms is getting shorter and shorter. We now have our parents on Facebook, while the younger audiences leave it for good and move to new platforms like Snapchat or TikTok. But maybe in 5-10-year time, TikTok could be a platform for everyone. Luis believes it’s just the natural cycle of social platforms, and new things will always arise. Realistically, new technologies like Metaverse or Web3 will need a few years to take off. New platforms might appear, but current ones can also adapt and evolve. For instance, if Facebook and its Metaverse vision succeed, it will significantly impact how we share and consume content. The real and most important question for the sports team is how they can be agile to changes.
How A.I. helps clubs make the most of their digital fanbase
Diogo believes that technologies like Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) or machine learning could help his social media team understand how Benfica’s fans really feel and respond to the club’s content. For instance, clubs can gather all comments and utilize A.I. to identify patterns like which posts, words, and emojis are people happy with and vice versa. Though this looks like a simple task, and a few brands already offer such solutions, it’s still at an early stage in football. Luis added that the power of A.I., in the long run, is predictive analysis. Clubs can predict what content resonates with their fanbase and analyze what type of value this content piece can generate, whether monetary value or reach (impression or engagement). Predictive analysis can be helpful for people like Diogo as it allows you to not just “I’ll do it and we will see”, but have all sorts of information in advance to maximize the content quality before publishing.
How Benfica commercializes their digital asset with Horzim
In short, Benfica uses Horizm’s platform to improve the evaluation and monetization of the club’s digital assets. Luis explained two key goals for this collaboration: the analytical and marketplace sides.
Regarding the analytical side, Horizm’s platform provides Benfica with a holistic view of its digital inventory and fan value insights that can be shown to sponsors and partners. Additionally, other features such as benchmarking can help Benfica, especially Diogo and his social media team, compare their content performance with other key competitors and top-tier clubs. This improves the content quality over time and helps Benfica show transparency and negotiate with their current and future partners.
Regarding the marketplace side, Luis stated that not only should clubs look at the past and see how their digital channels performed but also look ahead and try to commercialize their digital inventory. Horzim’s platform can identify commercial opportunities relevant to Benfica’s inventory via predictive analysis. More importantly, besides classic sponsorship packages like naming rights, jerseys, and stadium rights, more brands are looking for so-called micro-campaigns where they have very targeted audiences. This is a huge untapped opportunity for clubs to maximize smaller partnerships, especially in the digital space.