Advertisers and publishers are adjusting to sweeping changes in the way that marketers reach their customers online. Recent changes applied by regulators and operating systems bring consumers back into focus, requiring marketers and publishers to earn trust by developing direct, trustworthy relationships with end users. First-party data is the gold standard in the renaissance of addressability, so Ryan Shute from LiveRamp spoke with TeamSnap’s Nicole McCormack, GM of Advertising and Commerce, and Colleen Camuccio, Director of Data and Analytics, about how they are adapting.
Ryan: Tell us a little about TeamSnap.
TeamSnap: We were started by two passionate coaches and parents who showed up at the wrong field one too many times. TeamSnap is now home to the largest online community for everything youth sports. We are consistently rated the #1 sports management platform by our loyal audience of more than 25 million youth sports coaches, administrators, players, and parents, and over 19,000 sports organizations. We connect brands with passionate youth sports audiences from across North America and are quickly becoming the platform and marketplace for all things youth sports.
Ryan: Amidst industry changes from Apple and Android, how are you evaluating your first-party data strategy to ensure your revenue stream is not interrupted and that it grows over time?
TeamSnap: Because of the strength of our first-party data asset, the revenue stream that is most impacted by recent industry changes is open marketplace programmatic. That’s why we’ve been leaning more heavily into direct partnerships with brands as well as more premium forms of programmatic where we can leverage our first-party data on behalf of brands to allow them to deliver highly relevant messaging to the right audiences.
Ryan: What do you think the challenges and opportunities are in the new ATT era? What are you doing internally to address these?
TeamSnap: With the challenges of ATT and the resulting increase in the value of good data, we see a big opportunity to differentiate ourselves given the strength of our first-party data. TeamSnap is a trusted platform. When we request data from our users, we typically see a 90%+ completion rate. Part of the reason is that users are invited to TeamSnap from their coach or team manager, who is asking them to provide the data in order to help organize, manage, and communicate with the team.
We’re leaning heavily into our first-party data, increasing the data we collect and shoring up our ability to use it to personalize the experience for our users and connect them with relevant brand messages that add value to their time on our platform.
Additionally, We think there is an opportunity to create transparency with our customers by creating a new sense of trust with our brand.
Ryan: Can you share a bit more about your authentication strategy?
TeamSnap: In our case, users must be authenticated to use the app. There is no experience if you are not logged in. Our users come to us with the implied endorsement from their coaches and managers who are influencers in this realm. When you get an invitation from your coach or manager to join TeamSnap (and authenticate), you’re more likely to do it, and you’re also more likely to provide us with the first-party data we are requesting because it’s the coach asking for it, not TeamSnap. This is a real advantage for us.
There are other platforms that use similar tactics, such as mobile messaging platform called Community. In their case, you receive an invitation to join a celebrity/influencer network so that you can communicate with them via SMS. In that instance, it’s the influencer/celebrity in whom you’re interested in who is making the request, not the platform, which means you’re more likely to engage.
Ryan: It’s one thing to get a user to authenticate/log in order to use an app. How does TeamSnap retain active users and drive stickiness?
TeamSnap: Retaining our users starts with onboarding. We communicate frequently during the key moments in the onboarding process to ensure they are setting up an experience that will allow for maximum engagement. This helps establish sticky habits from the start.
It’s also about the strong utility we provide as well as our network effects—our platform gets stronger as more people are registered. So when the entire team joins the platform and starts embracing it as the defacto organization and communication tool (which it usually is for our teams), it’s the team/community that creates the stickiness and keeps bringing people back—for every schedule change, event update, score upload, message, etc. We also have the benefit of leveraging our influencers—the coaches and managers—who bring users back to the app seven days per week by posting messages, updates, sending emails, etc.
If you have questions or are curious about how LiveRamp can help with your first-party data strategy and authenticated audiences, reach out to [email protected].