Hosting international sports events can engage and inspire your local population and promote your city to a global audience.
Events often provide exceptional content for your audience, but delivering it to them can prove a real challenge.  The explosion of digital and the move towards content personalisation means it’s harder than ever to get seen, reach your target audience and achieve your event hosting aims.
Rights holders may have existing audiences, but ultimately your objectives as an event host may well be different to the rights holder so you have to look after number one – your city.
The time available to market your event to target audiences varies from event to event, but usually a lot needs to happen in a short space of time.
In today’s digital space, mobile is on top. If you want to have the best chance of reaching your audience in 2017, then you need to adopt a mobile first event marketing strategy.
A mobile-first approach is now necessary for event hosts if they want to fulfil their potential in engaging their local and international target audiences.
If you’re not already thinking mobile, here are 3 reasons why you need to start…

1.  Mobile is where your audience is

Mobile surpassed desktop in internet traffic back in 2014.  Now, two years later, that trend has skyrocketed and looks set to continue on an upwards trajectory.  According to comScore’s 2016 U.S. Cross-Platform Future in Focus report, 61% of consumer traffic to leading U.S. sports websites is now from mobile devices.
Having a strong and dynamic presence on social media is important for any event host looking to connect with their audience.  In 2016, a whopping 80% of social media time was spent on mobile and mobile users are nearly twice as likely to share content on social networks as desktop users.
How your audience consumes content has changed.  Ooyala’s 2016 Global Video Index states that for video that’s less than five minutes long mobile (52%) is the device of choice as viewers still watch sports highlights, news, events and content designed specifically for the smallest screen.  Desktops (43%), tablets (40%) and connected TVs (7%) follow.
Sports rights holders are beginning to cater for this trend.  The NBA’s ‘Mobile View’ for its popular NBA LEAGUE PASS and FIFA’s new e-game ‘FIFA Mobile’ are two major examples.
The data give us a clear message – it’s no longer a question of the importance of mobile, it’s now a question of how you’re going to put it first.

2.  Mobile is where your audience is going to be

If Millennials aren’t currently the largest demographic in your country, you can bet they soon will be.  They are now the largest living generation in the United States.  It is essential for event hosts to understand this generation and their behaviour –engagement with your events and revenues may depend on it.
One behaviour in particular has become apparent to us – Millennials are overwhelmingly mobile.  In a late 2014 study of smartphone and tablet-owning millennials by Survey Sampling International, nearly 50% of them said they use the mobile internet for four hours every weekday.  What’s more extraordinary is the portion of this generation that is mobile-onlyin 2016.  20% of Millennials, that’s 1 in 5, use only a smartphone to access the internet.
Remember, this generation has been digitally wired since childhood.  Millennials will continue to become a greater percentage of your audience, and you’re going to connect with them on mobile.
Some event hosts are aware of this and intend to use latest technologies to engage a youth audience. The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games is likely to be the first of three Asian Olympic hosts (with Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 to follow) that will be ‘5G flavoured’.

3.  Because Google said so

The biggest player in digital is now pushing a mobile-first agenda with both hands.  This means you should be too to promote your events.  Google recently announced ‘mobile-first indexing’, an algorithm that makes its search engine results pages prioritise mobile-friendly content.  In their own words…
“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first…our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site.”
If you haven’t given much thought to prioritising mobile to promote upcoming events don’t hit the panic button just yet.  Whilst being a clear pointer to where we’re heading in the digital space, Google’s mobile-first indexing project is still in its infancy.  As long as your digital presence is mobile-friendly there’s no need to put your strategy through the shredder.  Their words again…
“If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.”        
But if you’re reading this and you don’t have a responsive, mobile-friendly site with mobile-friendly content that makes it easy for people to engage with your event and perform key actions, then now is a good time to make the change and adopt a mobile-first strategy.
If you want to stand a chance in the coming years of reaching your audiences, selling out events, inspiring your population and presenting your city to a global audience then make sure you start to eat*, think and dream mobile.  It’s no longer enough for your strategy to be mobile-friendly, it needs to be mobile-first.  Check out How to make your strategy mobile-first in 2017 to learn how you can do it…

* please don’t eat your mobile phone

Photo: Yolanda Sun