58% of visits from mobile devices, mobile pageviews up 78% YoY
Two apps see 10,000 daily downloads, in top 10 in 90 countries
UK-headquartered Perform Group’s Goal.com stable of football digital properties has seen a massive increase in traffic from mobile devices, while two apps it launched last year have become hits on app stores worldwide.
Goal.com, which has 33 local editions worldwide including 11 in Asia Pacific, recorded over one billion pageviews from over 53 million unique users across all platforms – a year-on-year (YoY) user increase of 50%, with 33% of global traffic coming from Asia Pacific.
These unique users engage with Goal.com’s web, video, mobile, app, connected TV (across LG, Toshiba and Samsung products) and social media content (Facebook, Twitter, LINE, Google+, Weibo and YouTube) in 17 languages and in 160+ countries worldwide.
Mobile access is growing even faster, Perform said in a statement, with growth expected to intensify as the World Cup kicks off in Brazil in June.
“Over the past few years, we have seen an enormous increase in our mobile audience,” said James Rushton, managing director of Perform Asia Pacific.
“In April 2014 we recorded 58% of visits globally generated from mobile devices. Since March 2013, we have seen our mobile pageviews grow from 30 million to 54 million – a 78% YoY increase,” he said, citing Adobe Inc’s online marketing and web analytics business unit Omniture.
“During the World Cup and going forward, we expect to see this number continue to increase as sports fans adopt new mobile technologies.
“The audience that we are dealing with here are literally some of the most passionate and engaged Internet users in the world, with return visits, time on page, and pageviews on sporting destinations ranking far higher than most news websites, according to comScore,” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) via email.
Goal.com claims to be the largest football website, comprising editorial, video, live scores covering every professional football league and competition in the world in the world and serving a key audience of 16-34 male football fans.
The site’s globally inter-connected team of 535 writers and editors deliver coverage of the world’s most popular sport day and night.
“The entire team is dedicated to Goal being the definitive source for football fans all over the world; valuing original thinking, utilising global connections and embracing our obsession for football,” said Rushton.
“Unlike competitors, Goal is 100% dedicated to football and not just a website. Each edition boasts coverage of every major league and competition around the world in local language,” he added.
Asia has some of the world’s most obsessed football fans, and South-East Asia is no different. Rushton provided a breakdown of some of Goal.com numbers in the region’s key markets for April, 2014:
Indonesia: Web unique users – 6.8 million; app pageviews – 56.5 million
Malaysia: Web unique users– 472,210; app pageviews – 6.8 million
Thailand: Web unique users – 1.4 million; app pageviews – 13.1 million
Singapore: Web unique users – 582,000; app pageviews – 4.7 million
Rushton (pic) also noted that in 2009, Asia Pacific had just 86.2 million smartphone users, and this is expected to grow to 738.2 million this year, according to the Global Media Intelligence Report.
“[That’s] more than four times as many smartphone users as the next largest region,” he said. “We all know Asia is huge and has enormous potential – this being said, the pressure for us to provide a flawless, dynamic mobile site and world-class apps for the football audience is at the forefront of all our business activities.”
This mobile trend is also reflected in the take-up of its two apps, which are constantly in the top 10 downloads in app stores within the sports category in over 90 countries, Perform says.
Goal News and Goal Live Scores were soft-launched in February and October 2013 respectively, and are available across a variety of mobile platforms including Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.
“We generally see an average of 10,000 downloads per day, with more on the weekend,” said Rushton. “The most exciting thing we are seeing here is the organic adoption of these apps – a huge testament to the passion and engagement of football fans.”
“We’ve broken into the top 10 in Indonesia for both apps … and Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan are all sitting in the top 20 for sports apps.
“Personally, I think these apps are really solidifying Goal.com as the destination for football in Asia,” he proclaimed.
“These growing numbers and ranking increases are such a testament to the growing number of sporting fans in Asia and their demand for sports consumption.
“With 63% of football fans following sports on mobile devices, this number is set to rise with the surge in smartphone users and with broadband connections set to soar,” he added.
The Goal News app is available for all 33 editions, showcasing local leagues and perspectives on international games in 11 different languages, and is completely customisable, according to Perform.
The more recently-released “Goal Live Scores is the fastest live scores app in the world, delivering push notifications (if you choose) to your phone faster than the telecast – only one second slower than the bookmakers, and driven by the world’s No 1 provider of real-time sports information,” Rushton declared.
The app includes live match cast features, polling, statistics previously only available for bookmakers, betting integration and is also customisable based on the user’s favourite teams, leagues, players, etc.
“It is really the beginning of a new era for sporting fans. You can literally take the game everywhere with you! Long gone are the days of having to sit at home to see the game, it’s now in your pocket, always,” said Rushton.
“Goals, shots, saves, penalties, free kicks, corners, throw-ins, substitutions and bookings are all registered on the app in real-time, so you can keep up with play as it happens,” he added.
With the World Cup Finals just around the corner, DNA asked Rushton what kind of growth Perform is projecting in terms of website traffic and app users.
“It’s not possible to put exact figures on projected traffic, but we’re continuing to see an upward trend across web and mobile, and with 11 editions of Goal in Asia Pacific countries, including Australia, Japan and South Korea, whose teams have qualified for the World Cup Finals, we predict high traffic volumes from across the region.
“With the growth trajectory of Internet users and smartphone penetration, alongside the huge population and prevailing sports fans in Asia, the World Cup 2014 is sure to see Goal continue to smash previous traffic results out of the water and really prove why Goal is the largest football media brand in the world,” he added.
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