IPL2020 is a phenomenon in itself – no Live audience has driven teams & brands to get creative, banking majorly on social media. Social Samosa takes a look at how IPL teams use YouTube to not only delve into storytelling but also drive appointment viewing & engagement through various content formats.
From putting up full anthem videos and creating specific IPs to using the long-form video format to telling engaging stories, the importance of YouTube has grown for IPL teams over the years. With everything going virtual in 2020, the platform has played a key role in the digital strategies of various teams. They have used the platform to document game plans and help individual players find the space to express and build themselves as brands, in sync with the branding of the team they represent.
We take a closer look at some of the YouTube strategy trends that were evident among IPL teams this year while the league was on.
Strategy: Rajasthan Royals mostly posts all their content as per specific IPs such as Royals In Training, Royals Rapidfire, Dressing Room Diaries, Beyond Cricket, The Royals Podcast, Royals In Focus and Royal Review. The thumbnails have similar themes and there is a consistency in the communication. The video podcasts are one of their most important content segments for they help them put across deeper insights into the game without taking away the candid demeanour of the conversation.
Strategy: Mumbai Indians’ YouTube page is a mixed bag with several content pieces that depict team and player-related updates. The strategy seems similar to that one may expect from a news portal given the nature and treatment of the updates — both match related and glimpses into the lives of the players. Thumbnails usually feature text about the video and a picture of the key person the content revolves around.
Kings XI Punjab
Strategy: Kings XI Punjab uses YouTube to put across player-centric candid content. Two key recurring video themes are #CoachDiSoch and Press Conferences. While in the first, the team’s coach shares insights into the team’s game and progress, the latter is their way to continue the tradition of a press meet after a match despite the many differences that have cropped up in their communication this year due to the pandemic.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Subscribers: 1.92 M
Strategy: The YouTube strategy of Royal Challengers Bangalore can be divided into three crisp sections — game, candid and exclusive content. They routinely use match moments to create content for the platform. This includes takeaway videos for specific matches. Footage of training sessions, celebrations and events are used to extend the narrative beyond the game. Under exclusive content, one can see IPs such as Bold Diaries and Mr Nags. They also share a number of videos in association with their sponsors.
Chennai Super Kings
Subscribers: 1.36 M
Strategy: Pre and post-match commentary and strategy discussion videos are a regular feature on the YouTube page of Chennai Super Kings. They also put a significant number of videos around their training and fitness sessions as well as behind-the-scenes action. Keywords and hashtags such as #WhistlePodu and #Yellove find regular mention, helping with the SEO powers of these videos, garnering more attention and clicks for the team.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Subscribers: 625 K
Strategy: The YouTube strategy of Kolkata Knight Riders is a mixed bag with several elements merging to create a bigger narrative around the team. Knight Club is a recurring IP where an entertainment news approach is taken by the host to share a deeper glimpse into the team’s life in Dubai this year. The team also routinely does videos around individual players, sharing their stories. Training sessions are also a key part of the strategy.
Subscribers: 428 K
Strategy: Players are at the heart of Sunrisers Hyderabad’s YouTube presence. They are often mentioned in the titles of the videos uploaded on the channel. This includes both match-related updates as well as candid glimpses into their lives. Birthday and press conferences are two recurring video themes on their profile. Thumbnails often feature faces of players, making them intriguing for fans as well as potential fans to click on.
Subscribers: 323 K
Strategy: Delhi Capitals often leverage YouTube as a space to amplify the UGC content created by their fans. They have created some IPs around two categories of content: Cricket and Delhi. They routinely depict stories of and from the city they represent, as part of #YehDilliHaiMereYaar. No Filter DC and DC Cafe are two IPs used to tell stories around the team. Recorded Zoom Sessions featuring fans watching the team play are also shared.
Behind the Scenes
Behind-The-Scenes videos are put up by all the IPL teams with a presence on YouTube. They help the team share candid moments of the players. They either feature the team, individual players and/or the coach/management. The idea is to go beyond the game to share a slice of life of what it takes to build the team and win matches.
Special IPs are created by quite a few IPL teams where they share exclusive content for fans. These were more important this year than ever before as the experience of the stadium was inaccessible to the fans. Such videos helped the teams keep fans hooked, virtually.
Also Read: Editor’s Note: It’s not just the ‘Recorded Claps’ that’s changed about the IPL-Viewer-Brand dynamic
IPs also help in creating appointment viewing as well as immersive experiences that are much needed in the current situation.
Videos featuring footage from training sessions are shared by all IPL teams on YouTube. They add value to the game for fans who love to explore cricket from a strategy and fitness perspective. These include net sessions as well as videos that help fans understand specific game techniques.
Focus on Players
Almost all IPL teams seem to be focussing on individual players, building them as brands to add value to the overall brand of the team. These include short interviews as well as training sessions. Some of these videos also feature non-player management staff members.
Although most of the brand partnership content seems to be on the social media pages of the various IPL teams, some have also used YouTube to spin long-form narratives. These are videos that either feature conversations around the brand or depict the players to be experiencing the products or the services the brand offers.
Fans are what keep the momentum going for the teams and thus content created by them is often shared by the teams online. This adds to the value of the team as it shows the enthusiasm of the fans. YouTube is also used by IPL teams to nudge people into buying merchandise. Unboxing videos are key to such narrative, helping the team promote such packages.
Pre-match and post-match commentary videos are often used by IPL teams to dwell on the game and share their perspectives on the high and low points of the match. These are slightly technical conversations that are aimed at fans who love to take a closer look at strategies at play.
Press conferences were a key recurring video format used by quite a few IPL teams this year. Some of them also dwelled into putting forth their gratitude towards COVID-19 frontline workers. Star power of the celebrities associated with teams also finds a mention in content pieces to reiterate such connections and keep conversations flowing.
- Most of the teams are pretty conscious and consistent with the way they treat the thumbnails of their videos. They often feature players here as well as mention their names in the title of the videos.
- Training sessions and match commentary are two key regular categories of videos being uploaded by almost all the teams.
- Recorded zoom calls and UGC content is often leveraged by teams to facilitate fandoms online.
- Most of the IPL teams have invested in creating specific IPs for YouTube, expanding their content portfolio on the platform.
- YouTube is used by the teams to put across narratives in long-form videos in mostly horizontal videos, which go beyond the scope of what could be communicated on social media platforms due to dimension restrictions and smaller attention spans.