How a chatbot is helping the AFL win more fans

New Messenger-based chatbot not only helps answer customer queries, it's bolstering fan engagement


In an era where making things easy for the customer has become paramount, it is not surprising to see many brands turning to chatbots to resolve customer queries quickly.

For the Australian Football League, its experiment in creating a Messenger-based chatbot has proven capable of not just of answering common questions, but also improving overall fan engagement.

According to AFL fan engagement editor, Matt Price, the AFL bot for Messenger was conceived during a 2017 hackathon at the AFL and launched ahead of the finals series in September that year.

“It began as an experiment to see whether we could build a finals assistant for Messenger, which would answer fans' questions about matches and events,” Price tells CMO. “We knew a large percentage of our fans were already active on Messenger, so it was a natural fit for what we wanted to trial with the bot.”

Today, the AFL has a network of over 50,000 fans who have interacted with the chatbot, but Price says he is more interested in looking at who's actively engaging on a daily or weekly basis.

“We have over 15,000 active users per week, and during the season we're adding around 800 active users weekly,” Price says.

It has also provided a way for the AFL to engage more personally with footy fans, especially in the 18-24 and 25-34 age groups.

“We also know footy fans are busy and we know different things matter to different fans,” Price says. “The bot has been a great way to make it more convenient for time-poor fans to keep up to speed with the footy news that matters to them.

In addition, the AFL has encouraged fans to provide feedback regarding what they'd like to see as part of the experience.

“Fans told us they wanted to know when teams made late selection changes, so we introduced that service midway through this year,” Price says. “Now you can get an alert when a player is withdrawn from a team on matchday, in time to make those vital changes to your AFL Fantasy team.”

Alongside news alerts, the bot's most popular in-season feature is the Friday Footy Quiz, which is taken on average by 6000 people every week.

The challenge now is to continue to maintain engagement between seasons. Price says during October, the AFL trialled nightly wraps of player trading news, along with a weekend digest that uses a storytelling format allowing fans to choose how deep they wanted to go with a particular story.

“We were encouraged by the engagement rates and feedback, so that format might be something we develop further across the off-season and into next year,” Price says.

The AFL is also continuing to explore new ways to tell stories on Messenger and connect with footy fans.

“Only a fraction of footy fans have discovered the AFL bot to date,” Price says. “However, we know that a large number of AFL fans use Messenger, so we think there's plenty of opportunity for further growth.”

Read more about how other brands are using chatbots:

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Does your brand need a personality review?

There are five tell-tale signs your brand needs to take a long hard look at itself.

Charlie Rose

Senior Strategy Consultant, Principals

How to create profitable pricing

How do we price goods and services? As business leaders, we have asked ourselves this question since the history of trading.

Lee Naylor

Managing partner, The Leading Edge

Sport and sponsorship: The value of event sponsorship

Australia’s cricketers captured the nation’s attention during their recent run to the semi-final of the ICC Men’s World Cup. While the tournament ultimately ended in defeat, for over a month it provoked a sense of belonging, hope and empowerment for millions of people across Australia. Cricket, and sport in general, has a near-unique ability to empower individuals, irrelevant of their background, demographic or nationality.

Nikhil Arora

Vice-president and managing director, GoDaddy India

I should check these guidelines. I think it's important for me. Thanks for the info!

Juana Morales

IAB releases social media comment moderation guidelines

Read more

I didn't know about that. Thanks!

Jamison Herrmann

Twitter 'recap' helps you catch up with missed tweets

Read more

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

Max Polding

What it takes to turnaround an iconic Australian brand

Read more

I spend a lot of time in my professional life as a provider of marketing solutions trying to persuade customers that CX, UX, UI and Custo...

sketharaman

Gartner VP: Why CMOs and CIOs must band together to make CX a discipline

Read more

I live the best deals at LA Police Gear.

Tyrus Rechs

6 Ways to ramp up Social Media to Your Web Design

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in