The digital strategy behind our signings


During this offseason Adelaide United has experienced a dramatic increase in engagement across our social channels.

The upsurge in interaction can almost entirely be attributed to the unique and entertaining content produced by the Club’s digital/media team when it came to announcing our latest player signings.

A recent study conducted by COPA90 into ‘the modern football fan’, discusses the trends and changes in fan behaviour with the proliferation of social media and meme culture in contemporary society.

No longer is sport, and more specifically football, consumed in solely traditional ways such as television sports broadcasting or listening on radio. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have added another dimension to the landscape of football consumption.

The importance of creating innovative and appealing content in a time-poor social environment has never been more apparent and fundamental in maximising engagement to stay ahead of the curve.

The social media benefits that come from these videos can certainly evolve into potential commercial opportunities for partners. This platform provides a unique opportunity to integrate partners, as the engagement generated is precisely what businesses look for in growing their organisation. We can align their brand with our players in an integrated and more appealing style than just your typical sales advertisement.

The below is a collection of some of our most popular player announcements this off-season:

Craig Goodwin

The unveiling of Craig Goodwin began to really shape our digital strategy for the winter, as we began to enter the quieter months of the football calendar with players away on holiday while simultaneously competing with the AFL for attention.

Very much a fan favourite at the Club and a key component of our Hyundai A-League 2016 Championship, our digital/media team decided to really hype up Goodwin’s return to the Reds from Europe. We pushed two teasers across our respective channels prior to the official announcement.

On Twitter, the early-morning nine-second ‘Major Announcement’ teaser, achieved 10,954 impressions, 996 engagements and an engagement rate of 9.1%. On Facebook the post reached 11,573, had a total post engagement (which entails reactions, comments and shares) of 352, recorded 3,854 unique viewers and minutes viewed accumulating to 942. Instagram yielded 3,517 views, a reach of 8,401, and 29 comments.

The official announcement was a short 21 second video, playing on the viral ‘Yanny and Laurel’ social media phenomenon before ending with ‘Goodwin’. Generating content that was engaging and got fans talking, brought about a sense of anticipation which was extremely important – especially in such a long offseason.

The reveal performed considerably well, garnering great traction across our social platforms. On Twitter there were 36,289 impressions and 4,018 engagements at an engagement rate of 11.1%. On Facebook we reached an audience of 36,106, a total post engagement of 1,322 people, 10,770 unique viewers and 3,772 minutes viewed. Our Instagram hit 3,984 views, achieved 9,956 reach, and 67 comments.

Ken Ilsø

Our second major signing during the offseason was the arrival of Danish attacker Ken Ilsø. We chose to take a more traditional approach in terms of content, and build even more suspense with several teasers, preceding the announcement. The teasers consisted of short snippets from the actual announcement video of the Dane without revealing his identity. Clues were included in the copy of each video with a nod to the fact that some fans had already guessed his identity based on a Goal.com article.

The most recent teaser before the announcement attracted a reach of 9,588, with 5,134 views and six comments on Instagram. Facebook garnered an audience reach of 16,398, with a post engagement of 138. Unique viewers climbed to 5,682 and the total minutes viewed was at 1,386. There were 16,591 impressions, 1,135 engagements and an engagement rate of 6.9%.

Ilsø’s unveiling was a 1 minute, 15 second video of him entering the stadium and walking through the tunnel and on to the pitch with the camera following close behind until swinging around for the player to introduce himself. A highlights package immediately followed the introduction. The announcement was brought forward as more fans began to guess the player, but nevertheless it still gained substantial traction.

On Twitter, there were 29,151 impressions, 2,935 engagements at an engagement rate of 10.1%. On Facebook the video performed extremely well with a reach of 50,096, a post engagement of 1,166, unique viewers at 16,894 and total minutes viewed at 10,588. Meanwhile, on Instagram we had just an image of Ilsø which had a reach of 19,772 and registered 2,248 likes and 23 comments.  

Hours after the announcement we also collaborated with AS Roma’s English Twitter account. We photoshopped an Adelaide United jersey on Ilsø with him in front of several Roma players in a similar way to how they famously announced their signings. The decision paid massive dividends as the tweet had 67,000 impressions, 19,658 engagements at a rate of 29.3%. As part of the collaboration, AS Roma quote retweeted our tweet to their 283,000 followers.

Mirko Boland

Our digital strategy altered somewhat when it came to revealing German midfielder, Mirko Boland. There was less time between each teaser and the announcement. However, it didn’t stop us from provoking our fans and protracting the reveal.

We began by posting Boland’s FIFA Ultimate Team card on our three main social channels, which included some of his stats, but concealed his name and nationality. Naturally, it engaged fans and created a frenzy online leaving over 15,500 impressions, 3,542 engagements at a prolific engagement rate of 22.8% on Twitter. The post exploded on Facebook, reaching 27,081 people and registering 718 reactions. The image garnered 1,280 likes and 29 comments on Instagram from a reach of 12,314.

Sensing our supporters’ frustrations, we facetiously uploaded another vague teaser from behind the scenes of the actual announcement with a caption that read ‘why don’t you just announce it?!’.

This 18-second teaser still performed quite impressively despite many correctly guessing the player’s identity. On Twitter we achieved 9,526 impressions, 1,304 engagements at a rate of 13.7%. On Facebook the video reached 11,576, had a post engagement of 127, saw 4,275 unique viewers and total minutes viewed at 1,157. The teaser on Instagram reached 6,376 people, notched 2,483 views and four comments.

The announcement itself was straight to the point and less complicated relative to llsø’s announcement. After prolonging that signing we chose a simple, yet equally effective manner in which to unveil the German midfielder. Boland caught a ball and stared at the camera, revealing his name before crossing to a highlights package of his best goals.

Given the status of the acquisition and a loyal, existing fanbase of the player in Germany, it also produced significant interaction across our social platforms. There were 29,332 impressions on Twitter, coupled with 1,669 engagements at a rate of 5.7%. On Facebook the video reached 43,403 people, boasted a total post engagement of 1,823, had 14,709 unique viewers and 9,690 minutes viewed. On Instagram, the video gained a reach of 8,321, 2,965 views and 22 comments.

Ben Halloran

The last major announcement of the offseason was Ben Halloran and no doubt our most entertaining reveal. Our teaser consisted of a ‘non-announcement’, parodying Melbourne Victory’s announcement of Keisuke Honda as we responded to speculation we had signed Halloran. Many thought we had completely stolen Melbourne’s idea only to realise it was a parody an hour later when the official unveiling was published.    

The teaser proved a massive hit on social and collected a lot of exposure, thanks in large to several shares on social media, particularly from the A-League Memes account and the fact many Victory supporters commented or shared in the process.

On Twitter, there were 12,148 impressions, 1,570 engagements at a rate of 12.9%. On Facebook there was an incredible reach of 45,550, a post engagement of 711, 14,508 unique viewers and 5,827 minutes viewed. Furthermore, the video  reached 9,218 people, 4,423 views and 30 comments on Instagram.

In the official announcement of Halloran, we made light of the fact that our graphic designer was on leave and showed our resourcefulness with an arts and craft montage to showcase our newest arrival featuring several references to other popular football announcements, memes and our previous signings.

The video was well received. On Twitter, there were 21,467 impressions, 1,747 engagements at a rate of 8.1%. On Facebook there was an audience share of 26,377, 559 post engagements, 7,646 views and 3,429 minutes viewed. On Instagram it reached 8,552 people, amassed 3,939 views and 14 comments.

Collaborating with our partners

In today’s online world, clubs are as much content producers as they are football clubs. You’ve heard the term content is king, but in the current climate engaging content is king. According to Nielsensports.com, as high as 20 per cent of value is generated by clubs for their partners from digital and social media posts.

In order to achieve this, as a team, we want to collaborate with our partners to create campaigns and content catered to fans’ interests, engaging our audience, driving brand recognition, and providing information that may be of interest – therefore lifting the value proposition for our partners.