Football Federation Australia (FFA) has revealed that in spite of COVID-19 related challenges, digital and social engagement figures have surged for both the Socceroos and Matildas.
FFA Chief Executive Officer James Johnson was delighted to announce the increased engagement levels, despite the pandemic halting matches and camps for Australia’s two senior national football teams throughout 2020.
“In the Post Summer 2020 BenchMark Report released by True North Research earlier this year, both our senior national teams rated strongly,” Johnson said.
“The Socceroos had the highest familiarity in the report, with nearly 80 per cent of all Australian sports followers familiar with the team, while the Westfield Matildas came first in emotional connection to all Australian sports followers.”
Johnson added that FFA’s in-house digital and social media team have proactively adapted FFA’s content offerings throughout the pandemic in response to traditionally peak performing periods around international fixtures having been postponed.
“We recognised at the start of the pandemic that there was a likelihood domestic football and a host of international match activity in 2020 could be affected by the COVID-19 situation, and moved swiftly to pivot some of our planning to ensure that our supporters retained, or even grew, their connections to the game and our iconic senior sides throughout this challenging period,” he said
FFA has adopted creative strategies for both the men’s and women’s digital strategies throughout 2020. These include leveraging the successful FIFA Women’s World Cup bid for the Matildas and taking a more retrospective approach for the Socceroos.
“On the back of the euphoric announcement that Australia, together with New Zealand, will host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023, combined with the movement of many leading Matildas players to globally recognised clubs abroad, we’ve focused on creating content that takes fans behind the scenes and into the lives of our elite female footballers, enabling them to gain a closer understanding of the people and their personalities.
“For the Socceroos, we have focused intently on the culture and history of the team, who in 2022 – a FIFA World Cup year – will celebrate a century of activity. This has included re-living many historic moments and matches and covering them as if social media existed when they occurred. This rich and reflective coverage has resulted in the Socceroos’ digital and social media accounts delivering more video views between April and June 2020 with no matches, than in the nine months prior.
In terms of tangible engagement, highlights of the past 12 months for the Westfield Matildas include a 121 per cent increase in total minutes viewed on Facebook, a 157 per cent increase in overall hours of video viewed across all platforms, and a 9.3 per cent increase in total followers to over 355,000 followers.
The recently launched FFA TikTok channel has also earned strong early engagement, with experienced defender Alanna Kennedy’s training clip edging towards three million views.
The Socceroos’ approach has resulted in a 244 per cent increase in total video views across all platforms, while total hours of video content consumed has risen by 355 per cent year-on-year. Remarkably, 81 per cent of all Socceroos video content consumed throughout last financial year occurred during the COVID-19 period between April and June. The Socceroos have a cumulative social following of over 1.1 million fans.
“Our intent is to continue evolving our digital and social products to ensure that we enhance our connection with our football community, involve fans in the journeys of our teams and players both in and out of peak match and competition periods, and deliver consistent value to our partners,” Johnson concluded.