A first for SBS and the Tour: harnessing social to engage passionate cycling fans

A first for SBS and the Tour: harnessing social to engage passionate cycling fans

Cycling folk tend to be socially savvy, so when we joined SBS’s Tour de France online coverage—we knew were about to discover an engaged audience.

Still, nobody could have predicted the numbers we were about to generate.

Within a week of launching our stack (in the days leading up to the Tour prologue), our average session duration was already pushing past 12 minutes.

By the time the broadcast was in full swing, session times climbed up over 20 minutes and eventually averaged out at more than 25 minutes across the three weeks of live racing.

Our team has worked across some sticky sites—fantasy sport sites among the top contenders—but this level of stickiness was, as far as we could ascertain, unprecedented. Stackla had taken an unexpected turn… it had become the ultimate “second screen” experience.

Supporting this theory was the breakdown of browser types. Tablets accounted for more than 20% of all browsers—a number which far exceeds the tablet usage ratio of SBS’s other web properties. And it makes sense. As cycling fans, we can certainly see the appeal of a soft couch, SBS’s television broadcast and an iPad on the lap for live social coverage from teams, press and punters.

The vast majority of Tour cyclists, teams and press run YouTube, Twitter and Facebook accounts—the SBS Cycling Central team has almost a cult following across their own social platforms—so the content pre, during and post stage was exceptional.

Furthermore, SBS’s use of Stackla to support their own social campaigns was enormously successful.

“Social media is an integral part of any sporting event we cover at SBS,” said Toby Forage, Executive Producer for Sport Online at SBS.

“Using the Tour de France as a vehicle to launch an innovative platform with the help of Stackla, something that brings the wealth of content across numerous social platforms to life visually, was an opportunity too good to miss. We have been delighted with the response from our audience, who are really enjoying the social hub.”

There was no better example than #trollDJ. For the uninitiated, Troll DJ is the mysterious character who plays the brilliantly random music tracks throughout the SBS Tour de France television broadcast.

Such is Troll DJ’s popularity, the SBS Cycling Central producers decided to pin an official “Troll DJ request box” to the top of their stack, prompting users to drop in their song requests. Within minutes, dozens of requests were filtering through—and the response from users who had their requests played was fantastic.

In all, it was a beautiful demonstration of television broadcast and social platform integrating to form a rounded, engaging event coverage.

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