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How Sports Publishers Can Build Audience Engagement During the NFL Season

By OpenWeb

The 2021 NFL season is finally in full swing. Millions of fans are already talking about fantasy sleepers, upset alerts, and who’s a legitimate Super Bowl contender. When the football community comes to life, the conversation is captivating.

Why should publishers allow their reader engagement to take place on social platforms?

Publishers know how to turn reporting and analysis into great stories; they should host high-quality conversations focused on the constant drama of the NFL season to boost audience engagement and build loyalty.

Here’s how.

The Comments Section Drives Community

Passionate fans need an outlet to discuss game swings and highlights. A robust comments section allows users to make connections and provides a space to return to throughout the season.

Consider SNY, the official television home of all things New York sports. We enable millions of their readers to speak with fellow fans. Our partnership data shows commenters spend 20x more time on-site than non-active users, and are 3x more likely to come back the following week. 

More activity in the comments section means higher engagement, more user registrations, stronger retention, and powerful first party data. By investing in community, you’re also creating something deeper – loyalty.

The Value of Listening to Your Audience

Despite the rivalries that split fans across the country, there’s plenty that brings them together: the desire to express opinions, predict outcomes, and debate. In order to develop the stories fans are most interested in, editorial teams need to listen to their audiences.

But how? Audience listening can mean analyzing traffic flows, and in traditional online publishing, that’s usually where it ended. But with an engaged community, it also means measuring interactions with content.

We’ve also seen another effective tactic: editorial engagement directly in the comments section itself. After all, if you want to know what fans enjoy digesting and debating, what better way to find out than to simply ask?

Where First Party Data Comes In

As the deprecation of third party cookies approaches, publishers will need to rely more on first party data – empowering publishers to learn directly from users and grow their engagement strategy along the way. Through first party data, publishers can deliver active personalization (while maintaining privacy), improving the experience for fans of all stripes by delivering content tailored to their preferences. Active personalization gives publishers a path to provide immediate value to their users – and plenty of reason for those users to keep coming back.

We think it’s clear: if publishers focus on developing communities, higher engagement and loyalty falls into place. OpenWebOS was designed to help publishers engage audiences and win on the web. Learn more here.

Let’s have a conversation.

Right now OpenWeb has a limited number of partners we can work with in order to provide the highest quality service to each and every one. Let us know you’re interested and stay informed about how OpenWeb is empowering publishers and advertisers to change online conversations for good.