OPINION: La Liga giants set engagement benchmark

27 Jan 2017

By: Sport Industry Group

In one of the world’s biggest club games of the season, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid drew December’s El Clásico, but were both winning examples off the pitch…

For the first El Clásico of the season, both teams took a fresh approach to engaging fans in the build-up and match-day experience on Facebook. The Spanish giants adopted a live, video-first strategy to engage their global combined fanbase of 152 million people on Facebook, but to also support their commercial partners and drive tune-in for international broadcasters.

In the week building up to the game, the club gave fans behind-the-scenes access to the training session and the managers press conference. Compared to the last El Clásico at the end of the 2015/16 season (2nd April 2016), an increase in video production and post frequency of 57% helped drive over 86 million video views through the build-up (six days) and on match-day.

According to the rival clubs, adopting a Live-first approach resulted in 178% increase in Live views compared to the previous meeting of the two clubs.

“The live, video-first strategies from FC Barcelona and Real Madrid for the El Clásico are great examples of how clubs can use Facebook to bring their fans closer to the action, no matter where they are in the world,” said Jerry Newman, Facebook EMEA head of sports partnerships. “Both organisations used Facebook Live in a number of creative ways, enabling fans to interact directly with their favourite players and watch each club prepare for one of the biggest games on the footballing calendar. These efforts helped the clubs grow the reach of their content and interact with a worldwide audience in new and unique ways.”

On the day of the match alone, both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid increased Live views by 164% with dedicated match-day experiences for fans.

"El Clásico is without doubt one of those unique moments of the season," added Rafael De los Santos, Real Madrid’s digital director. "The second the date of the match is revealed it is the moment our fans make a mark in their calendars. It’s the moment where we want to make our fans and the team live the intensity of such an event together. Facebook Live allows us to reach all of these fans, no matter where they are in the world, we bring them together around the content the club generates and we make them feel like if they were deep inside “El Clásico”, supporting the team and helping  the players."

Russell Stopford, FC Barcelona’s director of digital, added: "We wanted to bring our fans from all over the world inside the excitement of El Clasico in a brand new way, with innovative content and new experiences available on Facebook. We worked on new formats with two presenters during the pre-match build up, half-time and post-match, where fans were taken pitch-side at key moments and inside the stadium in areas not commonly seen. We also saw great results with new publishing possibilities on Instagram too, like Instagram stories with mentions. The Facebook live Q&A with Gerard Piqué and fans around the world was a great success. We look forward to leveraging more of Facebook's innovative tools in the future."

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