Attracting Millennials By Meeting Them In Their Space

May 9, 2016 AudienceView Staff

The need to appeal to millennials is important to any organization, but for collegiate sports it's the lifeblood of their attendance. As college sports fans become more an more enamoured with watching  highlights on their phone,  organizations have struggled with figuring out how to take advantage of this by enhancing the in-venue experience.  Some campuses have taken radical steps in improving the in-venue experience by installing wireless networks around their stadiums, allowing attendees to easily use their phones throughout the game. But a study done by the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) and Oregon’s sports marketing center found that the least important factor that influenced student's decisions to attend games was a stadiums cellular reception or wireless capability. The findings were mirrored in studies done by Michigan, and by schools in the Southeastern Conference.

If improving the quality of the cellular service doesn't help drive attendance, collegiate organizations need to start thinking outside the box if they want to attract students. Every social media channel has its time in the spotlight, but recent user trends suggest that live video streaming is the wave of the future. While Facebook emerged as the king of social media early on, new reports suggest that "original broadcast sharing"—which are posts consisting of a user's own words and images—fell 21 percent from 2014 to 2015, resulting in a 5.5% decrease in total sharing. Part of this could be a result of users understanding the lack of ownership they have over content posted online, but this development poses a big question for social networks: how do they keep audiences engaged? Enter, live video.

Facebook has been rolling out their live video capability, allowing users to broadcast their love moments to their network. They join apps like Veetle, uStream, and Twitter’s Periscope in the race to bring people the video content they want in a real-time fashion. College sports organizations should consider taking advantage of these features by broadcasting some behind-the-scenes footage, like practice, or the atmosphere in the locker room right before a big game, to boost their online profile and entice generate fans

Snapchat, an app that is quickly becoming the most popular social media network for audiences aged 18-24, relies on users posting short videos online to compile a story that’s available for viewing by their network. One of the features Snapchat offers is the ability to add custom geofilters to images and videos shared on the app, allowing viewers of the content to establish where it’s being recorded without the user recording it to specify.

These geofilters are typically created by the Snapchat team, but a new update allows users to create their own custom geofilters that become available when a Snapchat user is in a specific location. “Using geofilters can add a level of exclusivity to a specific event when they’re used correctly,” says Amanda Wood, Graphic Designer at AudienceView. Amanda notes that while company logos can’t be put on the geofilters without a cost, organizations can still take advantage of geofilters to promote specific shows. “A college sport team can add an extra benefit for Snapchat users by using a well-thought out geofilter, while also communicating to anyone viewing the snap that your event is being attended to by their peers, people whose content they’re already engaging with.” If you've created a geofilter that's only accessible to people in to people who are attending the tailgate you've organized, it will drive people to join in on the fun.

Snapchat is also becoming one of the premiere locations for fans to watch sports highlights. Some college sports are already being broadcast as public Snapchat Live Stories that are accessible to worldwide fans, but a recent announcement from NBC means that the 2016 Olympic games will also be broadcast on the social channel. “Through this partnership with NBC Olympics, we’re able give our Snapchat community the opportunity to dive in and experience the world’s largest sporting event right on their phones,” said Ben Schwerin, Snapchat’s director of partnerships, in a statement. Similarly, college sports should take advantage of broadcasting the energy of the game in the hopes of attracting students to attend future events.

Attracting a younger demographic to attend games doesn’t need to feel like you’re pandering. Implementing any of the tips outlined above can result in an increase your event awareness while earning respect from a hard-to-reach demographic:

  • Don't worry about investing in better cellular communications, worry instead about creating better moments that fans will want to share
  • Consider using live video streaming to show the action behind the scenes, enticing people to get out of their homes and into the game
  • Add a Snapchat geofilter for the tailgate so viewers can learn more, and new potential fans can look into the fun



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