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'Six Nations' Fans Hard to Find, but Highly Engaged

Rugby tournament’s followers share most via ‘dark social’

February 3, 2017 | Social Media

Marketers looking to find fans of the annual Six Nations rugby tournament would do best to explore so-called dark social channels, according to a recent survey.

Each month, around 7.7 million fans worldwide engage with rugby content online and nearly half share such content digitally, doing so 2.8 times a day, according to marketing technology firm RadiumOne. But nearly 80% of this sharing happens one-to-one over “dark social” channels such as email, text and instant messaging, compared with 14% on Facebook and 6% on Twitter, the company said.

Finding these consumers can be rewarding. Rugby fans sharing content via dark social channels are arguably more engaged than those sharing on social networks, “because sharing this way carries more weight, as it’s done on a one-to-one basis ... rather than the ‘blanket’ approach on social networks,” Craig Tuck, RadiumOne’s UK managing director, said in a press release.

According to RadiumOne, fans using “dark social” are six times more likely to engage with Six Nations advertising. Moreover, UK fans’ incomes in particular are “at least 20% higher than the UK average,” Tuck said.

Sponsors of this year’s tournament include Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Accenture, Guinness and Tissot. If recent trends continue, there’s a decent chance that marketers of other brands in the UK—home to last year’s winners, England—will look to get in on the action, which begins February 4 and runs through mid-March.

A June 2016 TVTY study found sporting events were UK digital brand marketers’ favorite for so-called “moment marketing” campaigns—digital marketing efforts triggered by offline events.

Cliff Annicelli

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