Aman Birdi, Founder of App Development Company Digiruu highlights the importance of interacting digitally with fans.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, race fans have been unable to watch their favourite teams and drivers live in action at their favourite tracks, highlighting just how important it is for Formula One (F1) teams to do all they can to drive fan interactions and engagements digitally. But never has it been this important. For many teams, Covid-19 has disrupted many of their planned marketing strategies needed to stay relevant and keep fans engaged.
You see, Covid-19 hasn’t just highlighted how vital it is to go digital. It’s accelerated the need to go digital. Realising this, F1 teams have been more active than ever on social media and are realising it’s positive impact. However race fans are craving more. They are actively looking for ways to interact digitally with their favourite teams and drivers. As a result, it’s time for a number of them to follow in McLaren’s footsteps and turn their attention to creating their own app.
The reason is quite simple - apps give fans what they need, when and how they need it in the fastest possible way, particularly during a time where fans can’t attend live races. They enhance that vital connection between the fans, their experience and the team. In fact, a well-designed truly bespoke app turns the most casual Aston Martin or Williams fan into the loyalist Tiffosi-type fan at Monza who lives and breathes the team. The kind that helps drive revenue for the organisation.
1. Apps maximise engagement
Fans carry their phones with them everywhere. In fact, recent stats have shown that people are spending four to five hours a day on mobile, 92 per cent of which is in apps.
Google’s latest insights show fans are engaging with their favourite sports apps two to three times daily, spending a minimum of fifty minutes each day on sports apps. Apps are where they are, and whether it’s in the official F1 app or Sky Sports, it’s vitally important for you to get your fan’s eyes on your app rather than losing them to third parties.
2. Apps allow you to market more effectively
Having an app provides you with what is one of the most powerful communication tools available, push notifications - messages that pop up on your mobile device from the apps you’ve installed which look like text messages . But why are they so powerful? Stats have shown that push notifications are read 80% of the time vs 15 per cent for email (on average).
In fact, push notifications are ten times more likely to be opened than email. This means you’re able to get your message out to more fans and importantly, increase your chances of getting the right message to the right fans at the right time, which will undoubtedly help to build a stronger fan/team/driver relationship. Other sports clubs outside F1 have seen an increased ability to further drive sponsorship around this unique, enhanced engagement, which shows huge potential for F1 teams looking to utilise the same strategy.
3. Apps build loyalty
Sports clubs outside of F1 have increasingly realised that one of the keys to sustainable growth is to focus more on fan retention and building club loyalty, rather than just acquiring new customers. Analysts have shown that the cost to gain a new fan is nearly seven times the amount than to retain an existing one, who is fourteen times more likely to engage/buy from you.
Having an app for your F1 team allows you to build this loyalty by feeding your fans with content that is pleasingly presented and able to be navigated with ease, resulting in a user experience that keeps fans returning to the app again and again.
How McLaren Got It Right
This is an app world, and nine out of the ten current F1 teams aren’t in it, which means you are definitely missing out (although McLaren will thank you for it).
As Sky Sports F1 pundit Natalie Pinkham said in her guest appearance on the WTF1 podcast just after the McLaren 2021 car launch, “I think they [McLaren] have done really well to nurture their fanbase in a way that probably no other team has.
"You obviously get hugely passionate Ferrari fans, you get hugely passionate fans for every single team but there’s something a bit different about McLaren because there’s a real sense of community.
"A real sense of family. And when you saw all the little faces on the big screen behind us [speaking about the fans seen tuning into the video conference at the car launch], you thought every single one of them felt connected at a time we need it most. You need to feel this coming together.“
Sports clubs outside of F1 and McLaren have turned their attention to apps and fans are responding because they take fans away from a linear schedule and towards a 24/7 experience that drives a deeper team/fan connection - one that all other F1 teams need to take notice of.
Here are some of the features seen in the McLaren app and other sports club apps that are keeping fans engaged in 2021:
Live race updates with virtual race day experiences
Specific race replays and highlights from within the garage, including driver radio transcriptions and press conferences
Quizzes, votes, and polls including race day predictions for increased interaction
Latest team news and information which users can personalise, choosing what news/updates they would like to receive
“Access all areas” with behind the scenes paddock/garage footage and in-app content streaming (pre-recording and/or live)
App-only competitions with the chance to win exclusive prizes e.g. signed driver caps
First rights to buy new merchandise is released to the general public
In-depth driver and team member profiles
Ability to interact with other fans and members of the team
Added incentive to earn points with more interactions, giving users the chance to win experiences and prizes
Premiers Sports Network have partnered with Digiruu to help F1 teams maximise customer engagement and build brand loyalty through their own app. Head on over to www.digiruu.com/f1 or email Aman at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a FREE call today and see how they can make your bespoke app a reality.