PAC-12: REACHING & ENGAGING FANS

Challenge:

Pac-12.com started as a static website, then added broadcast games and schedules. What could it do to attract fans more regularly?

Solution:

Find out from fans what mattered most. The three biggest opportunities were pages centered on games/events, team and sport-level schedules, and livestreams.

Outcome:

Event pages became the biggest driver of traffic from Google. We also increased live video viewership and time spent on site. 

Map of how fans reached Pac-12.com and where they went

ID traffic patterns and opportunities

Our data showed that collectively event pages (e.g. a USC vs Oregon football game) drew the most traffic, and was the most common first page a fan would land on. ​Most of that traffic came from Google searches, on phones. This peaked right before and during the events. 

So we focused on revamping event pages to optimize for mobile web and feature live video, how to watch, setting alerts, etc. We also did this for more granular schedule pages (e.g. UCLA softball schedule). 

(I also was the advocate for creating event pages in the first place, partially based on research I had done at Yahoo! Sports years prior.)

Search strategy

 

We knew Pac-12 pages weren't going to beat out ESPN for football scores or USCTrojans.com for player pages. But we often had the most video content of Pac-12 teams on a per game basis. So we had a shot at "winning" the SEO game for those types of pages.    

For a year after launch we increased traffic from Google by ~15%. Then Google integrated more event content within their search results. Our traffic dropped some, but not nearly as much as for similar sites.

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Made concrete improvements to event template, schedule template, and live video screen 

 

Event Template: 

  • Added How to Watch flow

  • Added alerts for games and teams

  • Increased paths to app and tv provider pages

  • Prioritized content for highest traffic times (right before & during event)

Go here for more specifics on the Pac-12 Event Template Redesign

Schedule Template:

  • Beefed up the pre, during, and post game states of events listed to promote live viewership and watching postgame highlights.

  • Also added alert options and promotional slots for related Pac-12 hosted games.

 

Live Video:

Live video included both Pac-12 Network televised games and events that were livestreamed by the universities themselves, e.g. a Stanford USC men's tennis match.

Because that livestream was the only place to watch that event the average viewing lengths were 12-18 minutes. That meant we could utilize the real estate around the video player with alert sign-ups, and rotating related content. We added ad space since the viewing times meant higher value