Monetize your Audience: Three Stages of Digging into the Data

June 23, 2021

Over the last year in particular, the way that sports organizations think about content has been turned on its head. Second only to the energy and excitement of the live game is the importance of building a deeper catalog of content—both on social platforms and owned and operated streaming platforms. 

But how do you know where to concentrate your efforts—and money? The goldmine is in the data.  

To get the full picture of your audience, it’s important to map your viewers’ journeys across both social and streaming platforms. Combining streaming video and social analytics will give you an unparalleled understanding of your viewers so you can make more of what they want and reap the reward. 

There are three stages of diving into the data that can help sports leagues keep their viewers happy, while attracting new ones. This is based on panelists’ advice from a “Monetization and Distribution Strategies from Leagues and Federations” webinar, featuring Pro LeagueFIBA Media and Marketing Services, Conviva, and Ekstraklasa. 

Stage 1: Audience development 

It’s a different type of fan who consumes highlight clips than a fan who gets fully immersed in a 30-minute documentary on YouTube. Grow your audience by increasing your output of different types of content—from longer lifestyle features about viewers’ favorite players to livestreams on Twitch and reels on Instagram or TikToks. Being able to fulfill both ends of the spectrum will help you expand your audience base, and continuously refined data will allow you to learn about your viewers’ behaviors across time, locations, content, apps, and devices so you can provide content they care about.  

“We’ve put an enormous amount of effort on the digital platforms—the YouTubes, the Facebooks. Also, in the Chinese ecosystem with Weibo, WeChat, and so on. We did it because that was a very cost-effective way also for a federation like FIBA to get a lot of eyeballs and fans around the globe.” — Frank Leenders, Director General at FIBA Media & Marketing Services SA 

Stage 2: Fan and content engagement 

What do people want to see? Answer this question by measuring the performance of your content across multiple channels including streaming and social. This data can help you determine things such as: 

  • The optimal length for your videos
  • Your publishing strategy
  • When to distribute via a social channel vs. on your own platform
  • When to send push notifications 

Data gives you the ability to test and learn. Once you know who is engaging with your content and how, you can attract and build a cohort of people like them and provide more personalized experiences. 

“In the end, we’re testing everything, but what will be key is to regain control over the relationship you have over your products … and knowing the needs from your customers.” –Leander Monbaliu, Chief Business Officer and Head of Legal at Pro League 

Stage 3: Monetization 

From free ad-supported content to monthly automatically renewed subscriptions to sponsorships, there are a wide variety of ways to monetize your audiences—once you’ve used the data to truly understand them.  

“The more models you offer, the better off you are. Of course, this allows you to test which one suits the majority. However, if you want to tap into everyone’s needs, you have it all. What we will be doing going forward, we’ll be playing around with a variety of models.” –Małgorzata Borkowska, Media Rights Consultant and Board Advisor at Ekstraklasa 

But even for organizations that produce award-winning content and break viewership records, monetizing isn’t always easy. Monetization comes down to understanding key information like:  

  • How many views? 
  • How many engagements?
  • What’s the average watch time?
  • Who can I reach across each content type on different platforms in different channels?
  • Then, how can I take action and complete the cycle?  

The intersection of social and streaming data is a powerful tool to help you understand this. Once you know who’s watching and what they want, you can tap into that with targeted subscriptions, offerings, and sponsorships for viewers and advertisers.   

To learn more about combining streaming data and social media data to get the full picture of your audience, watch the “Monetization and Distribution Strategies from Leagues and Federations” webinar.