Perhaps nothing unites Indonesians — a nation of 230 million people, 742 languages, 17,508 islands — better than the so-called “beautiful” game. Sepak bola or soccer is as much a national pastime as a cultural signpost.
The nation’s obsession with the ball game is, however, getting a worthy rival, albeit in a slightly different domain. Of its 230 million people, 220 million have mobile phones. At least 60 percent of these mobile phone users are on social media and over 35 million are using mobile Internet services.
Chances are, an avid soccer fan that is most like a consumer of soccer content is also an avid cellphone user and social media fan.
It isn’t really very hard to see the connection, but it took a Singaporean mobile media company and a global consumer goods manufacturer to realize the potent marketing potential.
Together, they created Laga Bintang, a one-of-a-kind soccer destination for soccer fans on the mobile platform. The mobile site and the mobile app both provide content that feeds the fandom: soccer news, celebrity gossip, team standings, promos and contests, photos, play analysis, videos and many more.
It is not as if Indonesians need another media to offer soccer news. Both the traditional media and new media in the country have been providing soccer content in many different platforms. But before Laga Bintang, there is no dedicated medium or platform that exist for soccer content alone, said Anuj Kumar, co-founder and CEO at Affle, the creator of the mobile site.
“Other sites also offer other content such as general news, lifestyle, political news, entertainment news and other sites. We have very solid soccer content, with both local and international flavor, and we hope to get users to join polls and promos and get interested in its many interactive features,” he said.
Another challenge, Kumar said, is the fact that Indonesia is not predominantly a market for very high-end smartphones. An estimated 70 percent of mobile phone users have feature phones, and only 30 percent are using smartphones. Thus, it is necessary to have a mobile site that can be accessed by most feature phones and a mobile app that can be downloaded by smartphones.
More than the content, however, the mobile site and app seek to connect soccer with the fans and the fans with the brand. It targets to engage the urban youth – male soccer fans aged 15-45, who are also heavy mobile and social media users, the same target market of Procter and Gamble (P&G) in Indonesia, whose two brands — Head and Shoulders and Gillete, were advertised in the platform.
Through sponsor branded promotions, sponsor-integrated logo unit, and brand microsite, P&G expects to reach 145,000 visits per month and at least 20,000 app downloads.
The results were even better. Within two months, the mobile site has 300,000 page views and over 20,000 app downloads. It has also reached a million users and doubling every month.
For the same period, Gillette’s onsite banner ad generated over 125,000 views, 3,330 clicks and a high 2.63 percent CTR. Meanwhile, its microsite within the site got 1,800 visits and 3,000 page views or 1.66 pages per visit.
Heads and Shoulders’ onsite banner, on the other hand, had over 110,000 page views, 1,800 clicks for a 1.6 percent click through rate. It’s microsite had 1,800 visits 3,200 page views or 1.74 pages per visit.
Kumar revealed that mobile advertising in Indonesia is still in a nascent stage, and before the Laga Bintang project, there weren’t as many mobile ad campaigns that were as successful.
“Given this success in brand integration, we’ve shown that we can drive greater user engagement beyond just value information. We combined content with technology and was able tooter a lot more,” Kumar said.
Aside from mobile advertising solutions, Affle also provides solution for mobile social messaging. Some of its products include: Pinch, a smart phone messaging and location based app; SMS2.0, a messaging app that blends social networking, free interactive content and rich media.