InHabit teams up with GameBeats to drive fan engagement

Following the launch of InHabit earlier this week, Sportradar sat down with Customer Director for Sports Media, Jonathan Earle to discuss how the AI-led content solution ticks all the boxes for publishers, the results so far and where it fits into Sportradar’s holistic approach to user engagement.

“Your traditional publisher is getting really squeezed in the current landscape. It’s pretty brutal out there.”

In what’s been a tumultuous few years within the sports publishing industry, Earle’s statement will strike a chord with plenty. Like most industries, the media panorama has shifted dramatically in recent years, with the birth of new, younger publishers and new entrants in the marketplace among the key catalysts in that change.

Content remains king, however, with InHabit – a joint relationship between Sportradar and Arkadium – designed to drive up engagement and keep readers on web pages and mobile apps for longer using interactive, gamified widgets or ‘factives’.

“Back in the day when there were very few publishers, they would be the source of your sports news and content and people didn’t have a great deal of choice so they would generally just go to the same place,” Earle explains.

“The problem publishers have now is that the landscape has changed, you now have new entrants in the market such as Amazon, Facebook and Twitter – they’re going to be producing content in different formats that sports fans are just going to lap up. Then you have the rise of the ‘amateur’ publisher – generally younger sports fans who are part the FIFA generation – producing their own content and becoming publishers in their own right, who go less and less to more traditional publishers for their content.

‘’Ultimately, compelling content is key and that’s the currency that will allow anyone to survive, because otherwise why would you go visit a website?”

With the rise of mobile consumption, viral content on social media and the increasing battle for competition from non-traditional players, it’s never been more important for publishers to be innovative and brave when it comes to engaging with readers.

InHabit introduces unique, exclusive, interactive and gamified factives for Sportradar, with Earle adding: “The beauty for the publisher is that InHabit places the factive within the article to keep the fan on the page for longer allowing the publisher to better monetise either their sponsorship or their advertising opportunities. And if they don’t have either of those, we can bring that to them in the form of a bookmaker.”

Testing these factives has further shown just how many sports fans engage on the page, with Austrian media powerhouse LAOLA1 seeing a fivefold increase in average click-through rates and multiple factives being consumed per session. Such figures clearly show a route to achieving what remains an enduring target for publishers – creating a bond between sports fans and their teams or players.

“Arkadium also have a series of US sporting factives for the NFL, NHL and MLB where fans have spent up to five minutes on the page playing with the factive,” Earle explains. “When we tested them out with LAOLA1 we also saw, compared to control cells, significant uplifts in engagement because football fans are no different to NFL, NBA or MLB fans – they’re engaging with their team and that’s ultimately what’s it all about.”

For Sportradar, InHabit also fits into a wider vision when it comes to fan engagement and follows hot on the heels of social media visualisation tool, GameBeats.

Summing up, Earle believes the full turnkey approach to user engagement and media consumption is the way forward and that the trio of GameBeats, InHabit and Sportradar’s array of beautifully designed widgets can combine to become a potent trio akin to Messrs Salah, Firmino and Mane.

“If you’re a publisher, you want as many sports fans as possible to engage with your content and to know your brand through social media and we have GameBeats for that. Those social media graphics drive traffic into the web and once you’re there, you have Arkadium, which keeps you on the page for longer with the support of our statistical data to boot,” he added.

“All of that together, as a solution, means we can drive fan engagement through social media to the web and keep fans on the web page to boost sponsorship and advertising opportunities, which is ultimately what all publishers want.”

To learn more about how InHabit can enhance your editorial content and to request a demo, please visit the InHabit section of the website.

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