HomeExclusiveExclusive: Unleashing The Commercial Value Of Social Media

Exclusive: Unleashing The Commercial Value Of Social Media

Exclusive: Unleashing The Commercial Value Of Social Media

In an exclusive interview with Ministry of Sport, LADbible Group category lead – sport, Ryan Ellul, discussed the success and challenges the organisation has faced in its challenge of the world’s most dominant media organisations.

Launching in the Australian market in 2020, SPORTbible Australia, as part of the wider LADbible Group originally founded in the UK in 2012, has since grown as a challenger brand and over 2021 recorded more than 9.5 million total interactions, 343 million video views, and more than 2.3 million followers on Facebook alone.

Discussing the initial introduction into the Australian market and the focus the organisation has on understanding and targeting their audience, Ellul said truly collaborating and communicating with their audience has led to the initial success and growth.

“About three years ago, after understanding there was a large number of Australians consistently engaging with LADbible content, there was a move to bring a LADbible Australia office and establish a presence in the APAC region,” Ellul told Ministry of Sport.

“Throughout that first four months, we saw some really great success both from an editorial perspective and also from a commercial perspective and engaging with brands and bringing their stories to life.

“We quickly worked out the next vertical we would bring to Australia would be SPORTbible Australia.

“We’ve got the SPORTbible channel in the UK, which is one of the most followed sports channels globally, and we had the learnings from that to get ourselves started here in Australia.

“What the mission of LADbible Australia has always been is to give youth communities a voice by building communities that last.

“That’s exactly what we always look back on when we build out our team.

“In terms of establishing ourselves from a sport perspective, that has been our underlying factor and for us we’re in a really exciting position where we get to be the challenger brand and enter a new market and own it.

“For us, with sport so tightly aligned to Australian culture, that’s something we’re really enjoying and thriving on, and the basis of everything we do comes back to creating content for the audience.

“Understanding the audience and the type of content they love and engaging with them in a two-way manner is really what’s helped us establish ourselves,” he said.

When asked about the commercial growth of the organisation and the role social media plays in this aspect, Ellul said the opportunity to create unique and tailored content on social media has proven successful in a short time, while also bringing some challenges.

“Commercially in Australia, one of the biggest things that help us grow commercially is our reliance on data and insights,” Ellul said.

“We’re very fortunate to have a team in the UK which work very hard in this space and continue to bring in new technology to help power these efforts.

“That’s extremely important for us, we align ourselves quite tightly with the media agencies of Australia, we’ve formed a great relationship with those agencies and the brands they represent to find the best way to bring that brand to life.

“One of the biggest challenges is working with those brands to help them let go of the reigns a little, we know who our audience is and the type of content that engages them, so getting them to trust us to bring that to life on our platform has been a challenge but has been extremely rewarding to nail some targets and bring that brand to life,” he said.

Providing some recommendations for sporting organisations and brands looking to capture the commercial value that exists on social media, Ellul said: “First is focussing on the content that adds value to your audience.”

“This really starts with asking yourself why would someone choose to consume your content.

“Too often you see content on social and question is that content there for a reason, is it there to fill a space, is it there to make someone feel as if they’re busy, what’s the true reason why its there.

“Organisations especially in the sporting space should be spending the majority of their time on social, bringing new audiences into sport.

“One of the big things in Australian sport is that there is an aging audience in terms of the major sporting codes, and it’s a massive challenge to bring in that new generation.

“Thinking about social as bringing in those new audiences and understanding where they are and focusing on adding value.

“Things like partnering with athletes to bring that connection to life, going behind the scenes, diversifying content, looking at different channels like TikTok.

“It has truly established itself as a platform of creativity and it’s where the future audience is for sporting bodies.

“The second one is engaging your audience.

“This is not just about communication via comments and reactions, but it’s thinking about who are those key voices, faces, and fans of your team or sport and really bringing them into your content strategies.

“You can bring in fans that are already creating this content, talking about your brand and investing their time into it, so bringing them in and forming them as part of your content strategy is an absolute no-brainer and is something we will see evolve even more over the next couple of years on socials.

“Thirdly, understanding how to commercialise your channels and doing it well.

“So frustratingly you still see around the globe, sporting organisations and their partner brands create content that doesn’t make sense for socials.

“It doesn’t fit, it’s a terrible logo slap or a terrible inclusion of a brand in a piece of content that just doesn’t make sense.

“Fortunately, there are so many great ways to commercialise social and it’s about understanding how to do that well and bring your partners along for the ride and having the social team be given buy in to the commercial process.

“Once a brand or sporting organisation understands this, they can truly harness the commercial value of their social channels and make sure that content goes back to my first point which is adding value to your audience.

“When you do it well with a brand, you can create some really great content which may not have seen the light of day without that brand’s support,” Ellul told Ministry of Sport.

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