Playing the search game in rugby
As the Super 15 resumes this weekend, South Africans are gearing up for the final phase of the tournament. Our fascination with the sport has no bounds, least of all the internet, where we spend an inordinate amount of time mulling over the teams, the games, the stars. Historically rugby fans relied on the sports pages, feature articles and programmes at the events for their information on the game. Nowadays they – as they do when researching any brand – rely on the internet for their source of reference.
iProspect analysed keyword search volumes for the South African Super 15 Rugby franchises as well as search volumes for individual players, with the following results:
· The Bulls related: 48 000 searches per month.
· The Stormers related: 20 000 searches per month.
· There are more searches for the Bulls than the Stormers. Interestingly, there were also more searches for The Bulls than the Stormers originating in the Western Cape.
· The Cheetahs are least searched for team in SA local searches.
Individual Player Searches:
· Searches for individual players spiked in September and Oct 2011 – just before the Rugby World Cup.
· In October 2011 Josh Strauss was the highest searched player, followed by Pierre Spies.
· Looking at recent Springbok squad announced – top searched for players:
1. Pierre Spies
2. Bryan Habana and Francois Hougaard
3. Pat Lambie and Josh Strauss
4. Schalk Burger
· Most searched for “non Bok” was Gio Aplon
Rugby venue keyword searches
iProspect also looked at keywords relating to the attendance of games at various stadiums. Obviously there is a spike in searches at every home game across the different stadiums for local teams.
The important point here is that there is a clear increase in search volumes as the date of the game approaches. This is not only true for rugby games. The same pattern of interest has been seen across other major events, such as major concerts. Often the combined search volumes in the 2 month lead time up to the event are the same or even more as the month of the event. Event organisers or any business related to an event must consider promoting themselves within search results when people are searching for keywords relating to that event.
Why is this of interest?
Brand custodians looking to choose which sportsmen or women or celebrities would best fit their target market could look at search volumes to determine who would be best suited to promote their products. They should capitalise on the fact that people search for their sports icons on search engines so need to ensure they are present within the search results. These tactical efforts could be managed through paid search marketing (where one bids on selected keywords).
We see a huge spike in individual player searches, across sports disciplines, around team announcements. Brands aligned to sports teams typically will do traditional activations and use main stream media around these announcements events but also need to consider digital and specifically ensuring they are present within search results.
Additionally, as marketers it is important to know that there is a large opportunity to capitalise on search volumes by getting events listed in search results a few months in advance.
BizRadio caught up with Rob Stanbridge and Andre Wilkinson from iProspect (http://twitter.com/#!/iProspectSA) http://www.iprospect.co.za for Google Biz. The topic this week was around the great research they did on the most searched keywords around South African Rugby. They looked at Super 15, the world cup, ticket sales and players. Some great insights and facts for brands.
Podcast: click here to listen