In the Giro 2.0 project the Danish School of Media and Journalism and Active Institute teamed up with TV 2 Sporten to expand and improve the integration of Facebook in the coverage of the first 3 stages of the cycling tour Giro d’Italia in Denmark. The project objectives included strategies to pull road cycling fans from Facebook to the website giro.tv2.dk and methods to connect Facebook coverage with primetime tv coverage, that is to create a second screen experience for the tv audience.
May 4 to May 7 2012. The full project team: 2 project managers, 2-3 participating staff from TV 2 Sporten and 12 students. The main effort took place during the 4 days the race was in Denmark for the initial team presentation plus the three first stages of the cycling race. Three students subsequently went on to Italy to manage the Facebook elements of TV 2’s coverage from the road, all the way to the last stage, May 27.
- Danish School of Media and Journalism
- ACTIVE Institute
- TV 2 Sporten
In Denmark: Basically everyone with a broad interest in the event, with some aspects of the project team’s efforts reserved for hardcore road cycling fans.
While in Italy: Hardcore road cycling fans.
The project had several objectives.
- To explore means to pull the target group from Facebook to the website giro.tv2.dk.
- Furthermore, the project aimed to test interesting, relevant and at times fun/alternative methods to connect Facebook to primetime tv coverage of an event. The integration between Facebook and tv should be part of creating a user oriented second screen experience.
- Finally, the project had to explore strategies (and provide concrete experience within the TV 2 Sporten organization) for integrating social media in the coverage of a big sports event.
Criteria for success:
1 The ambition was to get more traffic from TV 2’s Facebook page to giro.tv2.dk. We wanted 8 percent of the traffic on giro.tv2.dk to come from Facebook compared to normally 4 percent.
Result: Initial misunderstaindings meant that this goal was not exactly realistic. Sporten.tv2.dk does not normally get 4 % of its traffic from Facebook, but considerably less. In April 2012 the share of traffic to sporten.tv2.dk from Facebook was only 1,42 %, which according to TV 2 Sporten is pretty average. During the Giro d’Italia in Denmark from May 4 to May 7 the share of traffic from Facebook to sporten.tv2.dk was raised to 3,67 %.
2 The ambition was in the project period to raise the amount of “likes” on TV2’s Facebook page with 3.000.
Result: In the project period TV 2’s Facebook page gained 2.865 “likes” which is very close to the goal of 3.000. In the period there were 3.218 new “likes” and 353 “unlikes”. See graphic here.
3 The project aimed to test concepts for the production of important and interesting content based primarily on the rider’s use of social media during race. As well as testing methodology and technology in effective social media surveillance.
For an international cycling event, Giro d’Italia turned out not to have a whole lot of activity on social media. Systematic surveillance via the service Hootsuite resulted in relatively few cases, where social media content formed the basis of news production. However, all the resulting stories were significant traffic drivers online. Here are some examples (in Danish):
Indbrud i holdbus før Giro’en
Se italieners gejlede cykelsko
Sådan har Giro-stjernerne oplevet DK
Ryttere spændte på Vesterhavsvind
Giro-rytterne hylder afdød belgier
4 The ambition was to test a Facebook wall posting strategy, especially frequency: How often can TV 2 Sporten post news on their Facebook wall without losing “likes”?
Result: The challenge when working with a wall post strategy is to keep up a flow in the journalistic stories, but at the same time not to end up spamming the users with too much content, which might lead to users “unliking” the site. We followed the development in likes and unlikes closely and ended up on a strategy of posting 3-4 posts every hour during a stage and a couple of posts spread over the evening after a stage.
TV 2 Sporten only has one Facebook page, so people “liking” it may just be liking it for soccer news and not for cycling news. Dedicated Facebook pages for the main sports , soccer, cycling, handball and tennis, would make it much easier to send out more content without fearing the loss of “likes”. This, however is not feasible or realistic as long as the editorial ressources for consistent social media presence remain at a bare minimum.
Embedding liveblogging in a Facebook page
Below is one (of many) liveblogging sessions – from the first stage of the race in Herning. The liveblogging sessions were done with the CoverItLive service, and they were embedded in TV 2 Sportens Facebook page (under a liveblogging tab). This was an effort to offer tv viewers a behind the scenes view of the race via our liveblogging staff and smartphone equipped field reporters.
The goal here was to experiment with a quality content format for the Facebook audience. For TV 2 Sporten, a strong Facebook presence can ultimately contribute to expanding the tv viewer base if TV 2 Sporten succeeds in tapping into Facebook’s social graph with popular content.
Quality content provide more leads to user interaction
Interactive map for the website giro.tv2.dk:
In order to boost synergy between TV 2 Sporten’s main tv broadcast and their event website at giro.tv2.dk, an interactive map was created for the online sports pages. Viewers were encouraged to upload photos and videos to the map, sharing their efforts to join and support the “pink party” – the Dane’s celebration of Giro d’Italia coming to Denmark.
The idea was also to offer the tv commentators a chance to pick up on hyperlocal user content from the map and mention the best elements on-air. This however, demanded a degree of micro-coordination between web staff and tv commentators that largely eluded us during the project, even though the map itself was mentioned regurlarly on-air.
Interactive timeline for the website giro.tv2.dk:
In order to be able to direct user traffic from both Facebook and the tv broadcasts towards TV 2 Sportens website (via teasers and mentions), it was necessary to prepare unique content for the web. One element with a potential for attracting users over several days was the interactive multimedia timeline. Here the story unfolded of how the race Giro d’Italia ever got to start off in Denmark. View it here.