The Myth Of Fan Engagement

If you’re reading this blog, the chances are that you’ve heard of FanHub and are aware that our app is off to a flyer since last week’s launch.

We’ve now spent a week camped in the App Store’s top 200 sports apps, an important accolade that has arrived far sooner than we could have dreamt. At one stage last week, the only club with an app ranked higher than FanHub was Manchester United, and we also sat above The Athletic with their multi-million dollar budget.

In contrast we’ve spent literally nothing, and instead we thank our community for the amazing support.

Apps for fans are nothing new, there are literally hundreds of them, but there’s a reason we’ve gatecrashed the top 200 without spending a bean. 

Our app is different to anything you’ve seen before and here’s why.

To many people, FanHub would be classed as a “fan engagement” app; although that’s not how we see ourselves. In fact, even the concept of fan engagement makes no sense to me.

If there was ever a group of people that didn’t require any assistance or encouragement to be “engaged”, surely it’s fans? A survey of fans revealed that 18% spent more than 30 hours per week following their team and amazingly, 9% averaged over 40 hours per week. That’s more than a full time job – is that not “engaged” enough?

Digging a bit deeper, in terms of where fans consumed content about their team:

86% — at work

?69% — during a meal

?25% — in a movie

?33% — in a meeting 

?74% — at a party

?58% — in the bathroom

?22% — at a concert

?9% — at church 

(and I’ll hold my hands up, I can tick all of the above.)

Have you ever read your team’s fan blog while on the job?

This is all evidence that suggests that a fan’s desire to stay in touch with the latest score, news, opinions and even rumours about their team is innate. According to research conducted by Virgin Money, the average fan thinks about football every twelve minutes. 

Is there another walk of life where a brand’s “customer” thinks about them that often – and yet we hear about clubs seeking ways to engage their fans?

That’s not just barking up the wrong tree – it’s an entirely different forest!

At FanHub we don’t believe that fans need to be further engaged, but rather that they should be recognised and rewarded. Our aim has been to build an app that does exactly that.

First, we’ve focused on recognising fans for their loyalty and, as such, for each fan we calculate a FanRating based on their loyalty. The higher your FanRating, the “better” our algorithm rates you as a fan derived from your activity across four different areas of fan behaviour. 

Next, we’ll focus on delivering the reward aspect and that’s when things start to get really interesting; but until then, if you’re a fan, why not download the app to see what your FanRating is!

To anyone seeking to engage fans, let’s be honest – the objective is not altruism but either to generate more money or data from your audience (with an objective of more money).

Put like that, who wants to be “engaged” anyway?

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