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Football

Search and social media notch up assists on deadline day

Football

Search and social media notch up assists on deadline day

A regular fixture that football fans all over the country look forward to is Transfer Deadline Day. In recent years, the team at Sky Sports News have transformed this day of last minute deals into a television spectacle with presenter Jim White at its forefront. This year, to complement the on-set drama, the broadcaster’s social media team added a new dimension that analysed the online search behaviour of football fans.

The summer transfer window closed at 11:00 pm yesterday, and it saw teams in the Premier League spend a massive total of £170m on new additions to their squads for the season. This last minute spending spree meant that Premier League clubs spent an eye-watering £1.175 billion over the summer period – a record high. Fellow sports reporters BBC Sport showed that the sum spent by English clubs was more than double that of the second highest spending league in Europe – Italy:

In addition to revealing the latest deals to be completed, Sky Sports also treated its followers to live Periscope videos from reporters who were at the training grounds and stadia of various teams, as well as listing a range of interesting statistics relating to the day’s events.

For example, the Sky Sports News Twitter account was assisted by search engine Google with its deadline day campaign this year as it used Google Trends to see which footballers and deals were the most searched for online. It showed that the most searched for English club on deadline day was Arsenal, followed by Liverpool and Manchester United. Interestingly, none of these three teams signed anyone on the day.

Three of the most high-profile deals that went through on deadline day were Jack Wilshere’s loan move from Arsenal to Bournemouth, David Luiz’s sensational return to Chelsea two years after being sold by the London-based club, and Moussa Sissoko’s last minute move to Tottenham after almost signing for Everton.

For these three players, Sky Sports used the search giant’s Trends tool to find out what fans were searching for.

In terms of Jack Wilshere, his next move was a bit of a mystery for a while as up to seven clubs were interested in taking on the England international, with Crystal Palace seeming to be the favourites for most of the day until Wilshere opted for Bournemouth instead.

Furthermore, the player has missed a lot of games through injury, causing many people to search for an answer to the question of why he is regularly sidelined – a question to which even Google probably doesn’t know the answer.

The analysis of the other two players features questions that you would expect fans to ask, such as how much their new clubs are paying for the players and more detail about them, such as their age.

Finally, to sum up all of the deadline day deals, Sky Sports analysed the world of Twitter to see which of the deals were the most tweeted about:

Unsurprisingly, the three players mentioned above feature in the top four, with the other being England goalkeeper Joe Hart’s surprise loan move to Italian team Torino.

Sky Sports’ social media antics yesterday showed how useful search tools such as Google Trends can be. Although Sky Sports only used this information as a point of interest for its followers, businesses can utilise them as part of a marketing strategy to research the potential customer interest.

Social media is also a useful tool to gauge customer opinion, engagement and impressions, as Sky Sports highlighted with the most tweeted about deals.

Alan Littler
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