Boosting engagement with real-time content during Euro 2020

The Athletic Euro 2020

The Challenge

Ahead of Euro 2020 (which took place in 2021 due to the pandemic), The Athletic UK wanted to increase its brand awareness and engagement among hardcore and casual football fans, positioning the publication as a real-time source for in-depth football insights. To achieve their objectives, The Athletic aimed to launch an integrated campaign, across paid digital display, digital audio and OOH.

Following the success of previous campaigns, The Athletic reached out to POD Studios to drive the strategy and implementation of the campaign across digital, trusting our team to experiment with new channels and formats.

The Solution

Throughout the campaign, we were responsible for the paid digital and social activity, which amplified offline activations that were taking place across the UK, including plane banners, tactic trucks, and even pigeon post!

To ensure a seamless integration across online and offline channels, we worked very closely with the client, and the production and creative agencies to align paid digital media with these key offline activations.

A core part of the campaign consisted in sharing real-time tactics based on live match results with football fans. To support this, we promoted in real time over 60 match-specific creatives across social channels, which resulted in an increase in The Athletic’s UK brand awareness and social engagement.

We also partnered with a third party to create a reactive social element and deliver personalised experiences on Twitter through the use of unique, branded overlays. With innovation at our heart, we also tested untapped channels for brand such as music streaming service Spotify for incremental reach.

The results of the Euro 2020 campaign exceeded KPIs as well as the performance of previous campaigns. Some of the highlights included:

  • Above-target number of Instagram poll responses
  • x9 Google search CTR benchmark
  • Exceeded KPI on the number of branded profile overlays on Twitter
  • Being featured in key industry publications such as Campaign and Adweek

The Feedback

“POD Studios are a highly valued partner of The Athletic UK, providing strategic and operational digital planning and buying for us across key campaigns in the last year. They are experts in all things digital, providing strategic direction, new innovative ideas and solutions and excellent client service.

They were a key partner in our hugely successful 2021 EURO marketing campaign, helping us to increase our brand awareness and drive significant subscriptions and audience growth. They really did go above and beyond throughout this month-long campaign.

If you get the chance, work with them!”

Sinead Bunting, Marketing Director at The Athletic

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