Humans process images 60,000 times faster than we do words on a page (or screen as the case may be), according to Billion Dollar Graphics. Depending on which source you look at, the average person can read somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 words per minute. In a world where we deal with character limits based on the social media platform we’re using, it becomes clear how something like an “infographic” can change the way we process information. These quickly digestible, highly informational, and very shareable creations have invaded just about any and every industry you can think of – and the world of sport, and soccer, is no exception.
Infographics are a new way for fans to consume information about their favorite teams, games, players, brands – you name it – at a much, much faster rate than if they were to simply read the exact same information in an article or in a match recap (60,000 times faster). Not only can fans consume the information quicker, but they actually want to. The typical ‘average Joe’ fan may read a quick match recap or check the scores of their favorite teams from time to time, when they aren’t watching the game, but most are what you may call “casually” engaged.
Infographics offer clubs, brands, and leagues an opportunity to convert these casual fans into more engaged followers. Not many people would check for the history of a rivalry before it’s played – how many times each team has won, how many goals each team has scored, how many people have attended the matches over the years. This information would take an individual fan hours to compile. Let’s be honest – not many supporters, no matter how fanatic, would be willing to put in that kind of legwork.
However, a good portion of those casual fans would find a graphic with all of this information laid out in a fun, interactive way, digestible in under 30 seconds, to be well worth their time. So much so that another good percentage of those fans will think that their friends and followers in the social universe will find it just as interesting and will share the graphic on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. As social, digital, and mobile continue to explode in both numbers of users and importance for marketing and engagement, infographics will only become more popular.
Let’s look at a real live example. Perhaps the most talked about, the most followed, and most watched rivalry in all of global club soccer is El Clásico: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid. Our friends at Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing (GESM) and their sister agency, AC&M Connect, produced an infographic about the latest version of the clash of the Spanish kings.
GESM’s latest installment includes information regarding each club’s history, starting-eleven, player sponsorships, match attendance, as well as TV and social media footprint. In recent months they’ve put forth similar products for other matches including the Manchester derby and the USA v MEX CONCACAF Cup match.
GESM Managing Partner, Scott Hutchison, weighed in on the boom of infographics:
In today’s world, our threshold for consuming information can be as little as 140-characters. This becomes very challenging for us as marketers. Enter, infographics…where a single, persuasive image tells the story of 1,000 words and does so in a way that it compels the viewer to show the image to other people. Add in the emotional power of soccer iconography (logos, player photography, jersey fonts, etc.) and the you see why data visualization (in this case, an infographic) has become an invaluable method Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing uses to engage our audiences.
GESM are far from the only ones leveraging infographics, and we’ve only just begun to see the impact that they’ll have on the industry. The fact is, consumers and fans are getting smarter, due to a vast host of factors, and infographics are aiding in this development. Authenticity is paramount for clubs and brands now more than ever, a trend not likely to die anytime soon. Depending on the information provided, and the manner in which it surfaces, infographics provide an opportunity for clubs and brands to engage with their supporters and consumers in new ways, and thanks to modern technology and social media they can do so on much larger scales than previously thought possible. Yet another example of how the landscape of revenue generation in the global soccer industry is shifting to lean more heavily on commercial and broadcasting income rather than matchday sales – another trend that is only getting started.