With less than 20% of fans in the stands this year and more fans turning to digital than ever before, the Texans knew they needed something bigger and better than ever. For that reason, they were excited to turn to Rover and their mobile app.
“We wanted to push the boundaries of what we thought was possible in elevating our fan experience in the digital space - through the Texans Arcade presented by Reliant, we created a brand new way for the Texans community to participate in gameday and their favorite in-stadium experiences from the comfort of their own homes.”
- Jay McDevitt Texans’ Senior Director of TV & Digital Media
The Texans Arcade featured a variety of fun games and activities, all fully integrated with their partners’ brands. From the Whataburger Fry Shuffle and Houston Methodist T-Shirt Toss to the Texas Lottery Scratch-Off and Personality Quiz presented by Bud Light, each experience contained engaging opportunities for Texans fans to have fun, win big, and enjoy the unique Texans Gameday experience from anywhere.
Evidently, fans have noticed the incredible work by the Texans, but also their partners - and prospects - have too.
For the Houston Texans, the ideation process behind the arcade started by putting fans first, but also recognizing that they had a list of partner make-goods for which they needed to create and launch campaigns for.
“This process started with a humble understanding of what Texans fans wanted throughout this time of uncertainty and how to marry those needs with our partners’ goals,” added Aynav Leibowitz, Texans’ Digital Media Manager. “We are so thankful to work with such a fantastic, digital-forward Partnership Marketing team. Senior Partnership Marketing Manager Alexandra Comerota and team worked so cohesively with us to understand how to blend our creative digital opportunities with brand awareness, data collection and engagement.”
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“We are very humbled by the positive feedback that the Texans Arcade has been receiving,” added Leibowitz. “We have been mentioned in League-wide newsletters as well as a partner newsletter with our Arcade being depicted as a best practice. It’s an awesome feeling to be able to meld fun, memorable experiences with partner goals – all while being encouraged to stay creative.”
By expressing their creative side to produce new in-game activations, the team gained new insights with regards to fan data, engagement analytics, campaign impressions and – of course – an element of fun.
“We realized there was an opportunity to make it look and feel like a real scratch-off card. That launched an endless mindset of true purpose with each partner and each activation on the Texans App.”
A great example of their innovation can be found with the way they integrated their partners, particularly their Texas Lottery Scratch Off Trivia. Not only was it incredibly designed and engaging, but the partner was seamlessly integrated into the experience. “We know we could have simply created a Trivia game, added a logo on it and called it a day, but we wanted to be true to our Texas Lottery partnership on the Texan App, being meaningful and purposeful with their addition to the Texans Arcade,” added Leibowitz.
Another great concept was their Whataburger Fry Shuffle, an activation that in the previous season had existed solely on their videoboard. Inserted as a video GIF, the activation featured a similar video as they had on the jumbotron, where fans had to guess which Whataburger fries container the fries were in. Upon a successful guess, fans would be presented with a form to fill out – perfect opportunity for fans to win prizes and for the team and partner to receive some important data.
“Like each of our campaigns, we also wanted to push the boundaries for the Whataburger Fry Shuffle. As the original activation stood, only one fan in the entirety of NRG Stadium would win, when we brought the campaign to digital, we wanted to think about how we could have more winners and incentivize more participation.”
It also provided the Texans a unique opportunity to engage more fans and identify the ones that were participating. “It was that type of thought-process and creativity that inspired us to think outside the box” added Leibowitz.
Kid's Club Activations
It has been widely understood that youth and families are the cornerstone to building lifelong fans. As such, the Houston Texans recognized this and created kids-inspired digital activities in their mobile app..
“Presented by their partner, Texas Children’s Hospital, the Texans created a kids center featuring multiple games and activations, including, Spot the Difference, Word Scramble, Find TORO, Word Scramble, and so much more.
“We understand that engaging fans at a young age can build strong fans for life. That said, while we made these fun activations with kids and youth in mind, we also know that fans of all ages can still enjoy them.”
– Amanda Caffey Texans’ Digital Media Coordinator
How It Was Promoted
The Texans’ primary concern was capturing meaningful insights on both the activations and the participating fans to inform the effectiveness of the campaigns. Using Rover, they were able to ensure experiences were rendered natively in their app, giving fans an easy user flow to engage with each experience.
Rover’s retargeting capabilities and product flexibility also enabled the team to send out new weekly versions of the activations to those who had completed past versions, ensuring that the right fans received the right content and also that their partners got strong participation from the right fans.
By having the experiences render natively in the app, the team was able to leverage the Texans App data, tied to their fan profiles within Rover, in order to retarget push notifications that enhance fan participation and engage fans with partner offers. For example, the team created segmented campaigns for their Higher or Lower predictive game, presented by Miller Lite. By doing this, the team was able to target fans based on their responses, providing prizing for those that got all of the questions correct or a “better luck next time” message for those that were unable to do so.
Interestingly enough, their mobile app was not the only way that the Texans promoted their campaigns. Using the mobile web link for each experience, the team also published the arcade across their other digital platforms.
“We have also been promoting the Texans Arcade through our email marketing, HoustonTexans.com and Texans social media,” indicated Caffey.
“One particular method that has been really popular for us is the swipe-up feature on Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories. Since all of these games are mobile-first, we have the opportunity to let fans swipe up in their favorite social media site, experience the game and go right back to scrolling through Instagram or Facebook without disruption.”
Not only do fans love it but partners do too.