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BizReport : Social Marketing : February 02, 2017

Dark Social key playing field for targeting affluent rugby fans

The biggest annual rugby tournament is about to kick off and new research reveals that marketers who ignore Dark Social channels miss out in targeting highly affluent rugby fans.

by Helen Leggatt

The 6 Nations rugby tournament - involving England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, and Italy - begins on Saturday, 4 February, and millions of fans from those countries, and more, will be tuning in to watch the action.

"Rugby fans are a marketing goldmine," says Craig Tuck, UK managing director of data-driven marketing firm RadiumOne. "Incomes are at least 20% higher than UK average, 71% are social grade AB and they're more likely to respond to advertising across key sectors such as business, finance and automotive."

Already, 7.7 million rugby fans engage with rugby content online and, according to recent research from RadiumOne, nearly half of rugby fans share content, and do so 2.8 times a day.

However, more than three-quarters of this sharing (78%) happens on Dark Social channels such as email, text and instant messaging - channels on which it is harder for marketers to measure the impact of campaigns and content.

It may be that rugby fans choose to share via these channels so as to prevent match 'spoilers' via more public channels such as social media for those who have yet to see a game in other time zones, or who have recorded a match to view at a later time. In fact, this theory seems to be backed up in RadiumOne's finding that there are major differences around what 6 Nations content is shared publicly versus in on Dark Social. Fixtures/results dominate Dark Social sharing, accounting for 56%, followed by the tournament table (31%). However, the most popular content shared publicly is the TV/coverage schedule (42%) and team news (38%).

It is not impossible, however, for marketers to measure sharing via Dark Social. The origin of traffic can be ascertained using sharing tools such as URL link shorteners and the sharing widgets around articles.

And, says RadiumOne, there's good reason for marketers to target rugby fans that share content via Dark Social. They are 6x more likely to engage with 6 Nations advertising which "proves how powerful it is for marketers because sharing this way carries more weight as it is done on a 1-2-1 basis with family or close friends, rather than the 'blanket' approach on social networks. The likes of O2, IBM, MasterCard and Guinness have utilised Dark Social to great effect".

Tags: dark social, marketing, rugby, sporting events

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