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One of the most fiercely contested competitions in world football, played by the top teams, with an audience of millions. No, we’re not referring to the Champions League but the Fan Engagement League.

As Europe’s elite football teams hop aboard their chartered flights to globe trot their way to pre-season commercial dominance, it’s the other team at their football clubs – the marketing team – that’s taking part in the game that has no final whistle: social media fan engagement.

Video content: social media’s star striker

With video content accounting for 74% of all consumer driven traffic, it’s easy to see why football clubs are increasingly choosing video to increase fan engagement. From pre and post match interviews, to the unveiling of new players: as demonstrated by Manchester United’s epic unveiling of Paul Pogba last summer: video is the medium which Millennials and Generation Z gravitate towards most.

The challenge of increasing fan engagement

With each Premier League club publishing an average of three hours original video content, across social media, each month, how can clubs stand out from the crowd and increase fan engagement with their social media followers? Step forward the ‘super sub’: social media subtitles.

Social media subtitles: ‘The Super Sub’

Otherwise known as Open Captions, social media subtitles are ‘always-on’, ‘burned-in’ subtitles. Used by everyone from Nissan to Jeremy Corbyn, the virtues of social media subtitles include: 

  1. Overcoming muted videos: you’re not singing anymore
    With all social media videos being muted by default, fans are reluctant to turn the sound on as they may be in an environment where listening to a video’s audio isn’t practical i.e. on the tube, in a board meeting etc. [gap height=”20px”]
  2. 12% (20% More Engagement) a rise in digital match day attendance
    Numerous studies from the Social Media Examiner to Facebook themselves have shown that videos with social media subtitles enjoy an increase in engagement of anything between 12% – 20%. These are huge numbers when you consider that an additional 20% engagement for Real Madrid would equate to circa 40 million extra video views across their social media profiles. [gap height=”20px”]
  3. Localisation: make football the universal language
    It’s often said that football is the universal language that breaks down language barriers. With social media subtitles, clubs can quickly and cost effectively localise their video content for different markets on the same day that the original content is published in its native market e.g. an interview with an English speaking Premier League player can be localised into Mandarin and published on Weibo within hours of going live. [gap height=”20px”]
  4. Improving accessibility: football for all
    As UEFA professes that football should be for all, it’s only right that clubs should make their digital content accessible to hearing impaired fans in the same way that wheelchair access is mandatory in all stadiums.As many as 420 million people have some sought of hearing impairment, so clubs should appreciate both the social and commercial responsibilities of making their video content accessible to all.

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