Whether it’s the Ox’ move to the north west, the Dembele deal or the £1.38bn busting budget, the summer transfer window is always big business for clubs. With the advent of digital analysis, it also transpires that clubs shouldn’t just be handling the trading action, this is the perfect time to boost fan engagement too.

Based on our research, we have unpacked five things you might not have known about fan engagement during the transfer window.

1. Summer of discontent heightens anticipation

No, we are not talking about Ross Barkley’s ‘failed medical’ or Alexis Sanchez’s ongoing feud with Arsenal.

The summer away from the Premier League is particularly painful for football fanatics, even more so if they can’t raise hope of an unlikely England assault on a major trophy. And this summer, in particular, has seen a marked increase from fans in-app engagement. Contrary to many predictions, this summer has seen a 15% increase in fan app engagement compared with last summer. Many expected the intrigue of Euro 2016 to draw greater engagement from fans but in fact, it was the transfer window.

2. Time is money

Yet another compelling reason for clubs to take these finding seriously is that current industry metrics suggest that the cost to get a sports fan downloading an app is c.£30.

Given that 90% of apps aren’t opened again one month after download, it can be a big expense for something that looks set to deliver so few returns.

With engagement and readership rising during the window, clubs must take advantage of the added intrigue. August is the hottest month with regards to numbers of those reading club news. Although the season begins in August, it could be seen largely down to the dramatic end of the transfer window with half the PL clubs breaking their transfer records.

3. Serving up a feast for fans

A good app is something that serves both the brand and the fan well, solving a tangible challenge for each.

Today’s apps – and certainly the solutions we create – mean that app owners not only give end-users something organically interesting (rather than a single stream of messaging), brands enjoy total data ownership.

With fans hungry for a constant trickle of transfer gossip, new signings or even the club’s fixture release, it is evident that clubs should be taking leveraging every possibility to keep their fans engaged.

4. Will he, won’t he?

When your club is amid securing a transfer deadline day coup, fans are constantly updating their club apps or news feed to make sure they are in the loop. According to the research, reading club news doubles during the transfer window and app opens increase 250% with installs rising a whopping 300%.

The transfer window findings show that fans enjoy total immersion in big, industry-wide issues which affect their clubs and canny marketers will respond to this insight.

5. Needle in a haystack

With more than 2.2 million apps on offer on the App Store, 90% of users stop using a single app after a month of downloading it. The cost to get a just one fan to download an app in c.£30 – a sizeable chunk of money for someone to spend three weeks using the app before dumping it. All the evidence points to keeping fans engaged when they are in need of their football fix and that is during the transfer window.

All this allows clubs to generate market intelligence of their own and create strategies to react according to the new data.



By Simon Ryley, founder of RightNow Digital

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