In April, our Chief Operating Officer, Luis Viveiros was invited to join the Football Business Podcast from Football Business Inside (FBIN), to speak alongside Diogo Canas, Head of Social Media at SL Benfica about how football clubs can maximise the value of their digital audience.
In the podcast, Diogo gave some fascinating insights into how the club generates revenue from social media, their approach to different channels and the trends he sees in the industry. Below we have taken extracts which showcase this insight and highlight how a club like Benfica strives to make the most of their digital reach:
FBIN: Diogo, you are the expert here – which social media platform is the most valuable at Benfica, maybe on the one hand in terms of revenue and on the other in terms of audience size?
Diogo Canas: Okay…so in terms of revenue, I would say YouTube. If you have the monetization tools turned on there, it can be a really good source of revenue. In terms of size, obviously because it was the first one to be around, Facebook is still our biggest one. But, in terms of the amount of value, from all of our channels, the one that can bring more value, in general, is Instagram because it’s the most used, in Portugal. It’s where there is the largest young fan base and it’s where you can grow faster than the other ones. The other one that can grow really fast, obviously is TikTok and so, with our digital strategy, we have been trying to find the best spot between all of them.
“In terms of revenue, I would definitely say YouTube. Facebook has some interesting monetization tools as well, but YouTube is still the king in terms of revenue.”
Luis Viveiros: If I’m allowed to ask a question to Diogo here…I think it’s an interesting point, and I think Diogo will be very well positioned to answer… in our analysis we did for our Digital Standards report last year, looking at the types of content per channel, what we saw a lot of from the good clubs – those that have good practices, let’s put it this way – they segment their content in some way. So, for instance, Twitter is an interesting one. A channel like Instagram is obviously more targeted towards video and photos and that type of thing, but on Twitter, we saw you can be a bit more fun, right? You can do those funny tweets or be a little bit more relaxed, a bit less corporate. And we saw a high level of engagement from our analysis of these “funny posts”. So, we saw more funny content happening on Twitter and obviously TikTok is a completely different platform again, so I think it will be interesting to get Diogo’s point of view around the best strategy for which types of content to use on different channels.
Diogo: Yeah, sure. So, Twitter is really good to get super quick traction, it can really go far super, super quick. So it’s yeah, it’s the best platform to do more light. more fun, stuff. Most of the top tier clubs have that strategy and we try to do the same.
In terms of the other ones, Facebook has been trying to adapt to the rise of TikTok and it has been a bit challenging for us to come up with the best type of content for Facebook.
Two years ago, the next big thing on Facebook was Facebook Watch. There was a huge push for longer videos and you get more exposure, more reach if you post longer videos. But, now in the last couple of weeks, they just released an update where Reels from Instagram are shown on Facebook and you can even post Reels natively on Facebook.
So, I think it’s a sign that they have been trying like to adapt and for us, it’s also a challenge to adapt to all of these new changes because Reels has been the most important thing on Instagram. I would say for a year or so, something like that. It has been like the best type of content on Instagram, the one that has the most reach of all of the types of content.
“The pictures are gone. The super beautiful and clean feed is gone. No one really cares about that anymore.”
Twitter is the one that is still sticking to their original idea. Since Twitter was born it has been more or less the same. Obviously, they try to adapt as well to the appearance and rise of other social media platforms – Twitter spaces, is an example of that, created because of Clubhouse, so I think that all the channels try to make changes and adapt to what is happening and to what people are responding to.
For brands and most particularly sports brands and football brands, like us, we try to take advantage of those new opportunities. If you’re the first one to try something and if you’re the first one to take advantage of those new features, it’s easier to get ahead of your competitors in this crazy, crowded business!
FBIN: So, now that we understand like a little bit of the context around the digital landscape, I wanted to dive more into how we can make the most out of it, in particular thinking about how things like artificial intelligence and machine learning – what are you thoughts on how they can be used to shape digital strategy?
Diogo: In my field, there’s something that I find super interesting on AI and machine learning, which is the sentiment. That you can set up through machine learning and AI a way to assess how people are responding to your posts and your content in general. You can explore all of your comments from your posts, and you can apply AI on top of that shows you if people are happy about these posts because they’re using smiley emojis or because like they wrote a nice word and, also the opposite as well.
It seems like a very simple thing, but it is really important.
Luis: To Diogo’s point I would add, the predictive side as well. It’s something that we at Horizm are working on quite a bit, the ability for you to predict what content will resonate, what type of content resonate. If I was to post this content, what type of value – not just monetary value but in terms of impressions and engagement too – can I expect? I think this is something that’s going to be really interesting – its early stages but we’re spending quite a bit of time on predictive analysis as we feel it can be really powerful for people like Diogo with their content generation.
FBIN: Diogo, can you give us the club’s perspective on how you use the Horizm platform in relation to sponsors?
Diogo: In terms of the features of Horizm, I really like the reporting side. It really makes my life a lot easier! I also like the benchmarking feature – to be able to benchmark against competitors and top tier clubs, and the values you can present to sponsors. We’ve found the platform really valuable to show our current sponsors the amount of exposure and value they are getting back.
It has really helped us with the reporting on all the content we post. We have a tag on every post and the platform is then able to give a full report, throughout the season. We can show that a brand has been in this amount of posts and has received this amount of reach, each month, and obviously this helps us to negotiate with the current sponsors, and really helps with future and potential sponsors too.
These extracts were taken from the Football Business Podcast from Football Business Inside.
Want to see more? You can watch the full podcast below: