4 min readUpdated Jun 26, 2024

How to increase loyalty and maintain fan engagement through realtime experiences

How to increase loyalty and maintain fan engagement through realtime experiences

Today's fans crave realtime engagement. They want to feel the energy, participate in interactive features, and connect with the action - and the brand - beyond the screen. But here's the challenge: delays and a lack of engagement kill the excitement. Frustrated fans will seek out alternative platforms that deliver the immersive and rewarding experiences that they seek.

One company helping brands deliver on these needs is LiveLike. Their audience engagement platform and gamification engine help top sports organizations and media companies to enhance the fan experience, increase the time spent interacting with their content, and unlock the power of first-party data.

Through customized interactive tools, social features, and loyalty rewards systems, LiveLike has connected fans to some of the biggest live events around the world, from the Super Bowl, FIFA World Cup, and NCAA March Madness, to concerts, festivals, and the U.S. presidential debates.

Nick Littman, Senior Solutions Engineer at Ably, spoke to LiveLike’s Chief Product Officer, Vishal Parikh, who talked us through the trends and innovations he sees shaping fan engagement.

Key takeaways

1. Realtime engagement is not optional, it’s essential: Delivering content and experiences in realtime is crucial for capturing user sentiment and excitement during live events. Fans want to interact with content instantly, and delays can lead to frustration and missed opportunities for brands to connect with fans.

“If fans can’t get the realtime experience from your platform, they will find another platform. It’s really important to nail that realtime experience, [the] first time.”

2. Strengthen relationships with fans by delivering the experiences they want: There has been a huge uptake in viewers looking for interactive experiences like polls, quizzes, prediction games, and live chats during live streams. Equally, loyalty and rewards programs are driving engagement, incentivizing users to take desired actions and personalizing the experience.

“Content isn’t always king. The fan engagement puzzle piece is something that can help strengthen the relationship as well as the loyalty that the user has to a specific platform to incentivize them, to encourage them, to have a little bit more fun coming to your platform versus the next platform.”

3. The right realtime infrastructure is key to handling growing concurrent viewerships: In the last 1-2 years, LiveLike has seen a massive increase in brands wanting to handle more and more concurrent users. With events like the FIFA World Cup and customers including Chelsea Football Club wanting to engage millions of fans concurrently, LiveLike updated their realtime infrastructure to ensure they could meet their customer needs.

“We are now at a point where we can explore larger brands with even higher concurrent users and still maintain the realtime aspect.”

4. Data-driven personalization is a win-win for brands and fans: Understanding user data allows for hyper-personalization of content, promotions, and merchandise recommendations. This can be based on favorite teams, players, past purchases, and even sentiment during live games. Fans get to see more of the content (and products) they like, whilst brands increase opportunities to boost revenue.

“[Personalization] is a win-win for brands and fans alike as everyone can be treated individually in order to cater for, and resonate with, specific users in specific ways.”

6. AI and Machine Learning tools are key to personalizing content: AI and machine learning are transforming fan engagement by automating content creation, personalizing experiences based on user data (interests, sentiment), and helping segment users for targeted promotions. Leveraging AI and ML helps to create ways to monetize and convert opportunities.

“AI is helping to shape the fan engagement experience. There’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ kind of mentality in this space. Everyone’s personalities and preferences are different.”

Delivering next-level fan experiences - at scale

When it comes to fan engagement, realtime performance is business-critical. Delivering live experiences at scale puts heavy demands on realtime infrastructure so it is essential to have a reliable platform that achieves operational efficiency and elastic scaling. This gives brands the space to think creatively about how to use realtime experiences and data to strengthen relationships with their fans.

At Ably, we've worked with sports franchises, creators, entertainers, and broadcasters globally - including NASCAR, GeniusSports, Tennis Australia, Stadion, SRF - to help deliver sustainable, scalable, realtime fan experiences that provide a healthy return on investment. Success shouldn't be costly. Speak to us about how you can work with Ably or sign up for a free account today.

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