A Short Interview with Chirpify CEO, Chris Teso: How Chirpify is Changing the Sports Industry

Ben Berkon

Chirpify is quickly becoming a burgeoning new medium for big brands to literally cash-in on the social media waves. Users can simply reply with “yes” on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and instantly purchase a piece of art or even a sports ticket to, say, the Portland Trailblazers game.

Below is a short interview with Chirpify CEO, Chris Teso.

Where did you find the initial inspiration for Chirpify?

The impetus for Chirpify came from spending many years in the advertising industry. Working with big brands, I saw again and again that their advertising was limited to creating ‘awareness’ or ‘engagement’... which they hoped would eventually lead to a conversion or transaction - but there was no way to connect the dots directly. I built Chirpify to give that advertising a way convert instantly, in the moment, wherever it lives.

Why does Chirpify think the sports world can benefit from its services?

The sports world revolves around the fans. And those fans are increasingly using social channels to connect with the team and with each other - before, during & after the game.

The Miami Heat, for example, have more than 10 million fans and followers between Facebook & Twitter, and MediaBistro reported that “more than 26.7 million tweets were sent throughout the Finals, with game seven alone generating 7.4 million tweets, peaking at a heady 150,000 tweets per minute.” That’s a lot of potentially valuable time and attention.

However, sports teams need some new strategies and tools in order to unlock the potential of that social conversation. Take the Miami Heat again... they have a separate account (@MiamiHEATstore) that tries to promote the NBA Championship merchandise to fans. Posting after the the finals, they got only 8 retweets and 1 comment... from somebody complaining about their water bottle breaking.

The better way for teams to leverage their fans’ attention - which Chirpify enables - is to activate the #hashtags at the center of their social conversations, and let fans respond directly to participate, opt-in or purchase. For example, the Heat could have let fans buy that Championship Shirt instantly, by simply responding to their Tweet with “Buy”.

By giving sports teams the ability to both reward and monetize their fans directly via social channels, Chirpify opens up a lot of new opportunities.

How long have the various Portland sports franchises been using Chirpify?

The Portland Trailblazers, Timbers and Thorns all started leveraging Chirpify earlier this year.

The Portland Timbers and Thorns have been offering their fans exclusive experiences via social channels - such as VIP passes to pre-game warm-ups and post-game autographs - using Chirpify as a direct social response platform. It’s mainly a way for them to thank and reward their fans, but also to establish Facebook and Twitter as a two-way channels for more than just cheering on the team.

The Trailblazers gave away several sets of tickets during the season - using social as a much more immediate way to offer free tickets to lucky fans (vs. a typical radio contest). And, of course, those social giveaways are amplified as entrants post to their followers on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

Are there any stats that provide insight as to how Chirpify has improved ticket sales?

We’re seeing very high participation and conversion around the rewards and events campaigns, with up to 4-5% of these teams’ entire social audience engaging with a post.

That’s significantly higher than the ‘average’ engagement rate of 1-3% that Twitter announced this week.

Regarding ticket sales, we’re currently seeing teams focus more on programs that activate, reward and engage their fans... vs. trying to drive direct ticket purchases through social. Higher ticket sales will come from having more fans that are more engaged with the team... which is what these social campaigns are driving.

Is Chirpify currently looking to expand to more sports franchises?

Absolutely. And we are in talks with several!

What we’re hearing from them - and this is very exciting - is an interest in focusing more and more on participation during the games.

From an advertising perspective, this is interesting not just for the fans in the stadium, but also for those watching on TV while on their mobile device (second screen).

How about with ticketing services like StubHub--or do you see those services as direct competition?

We view platforms like StubHub as great potential partners for Chirpify. Chirpify can instantly extend their offering in-stream on social through our API. In fact, Chirpify has been approached by numerous traditional web-based ticket services about partnerships.

    Ben Berkon

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    Writer / Producer

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