WSL Drives Engagement with Video Content and Facebook Live

06/18/2018

In 2017, World Surf League (WSL) generated 1M+ views on Facebook Live broadcasts, saw 700K+ growth on their page, and drove 13.9M people to watch their Live events on Facebook. WSL has been championing the world's best surfing since 1976, annually running in excess of 180 global events. Surf competitions have an unpredictable nature that create a challenge to broadcast on traditional media, which also makes it more difficult to reach a wider audience. This challenge proved to be an opportunity for WSL. The League used Facebook to post shareable videos and broadcast Live and, as a result, leverage their growing audience with their sponsored partner relationships.

Goals

  1. Build a strong audience on Facebook
  2. Reach wider audience via Facebook Live
  3. Leverage audience into branded content partnerships

Strategy

WSL wanted to grow their audience on Facebook. To kick off this process, they produced videos they hoped fans would share in order to reach more people. These videos - everything from a surfer training to a surfer catching a huge wave - went viral, often breaking one million views.

As their Facebook page grew, WSL saw an opportunity to showcase their sport in a new way. Surfing, by nature, is unpredictable. The weather, tide, and other factors, play a role in when a surf competition can start. As a result, it's difficult to broadcast their sport on traditional media, and without that medium, it's hard to get into people's homes. This challenge proved to be an opportunity, however, as WSL recognized the unique value Facebook could provide with Facebook Live. Through Live, WSL did not have to stick to an allotted time, and instead, could alert its followers when a competition would start and immediately showcase the event. The Facebook Live streams generated substantial audiences from all over the world. The top five countries by unique visitors included the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, France and Morocco.

The success of the videos and Live streams allowed WSL to enhance its already established branded content partnerships. In collaboration with Jeep, WSL created a high-energy 60-second video around WSL's first-place symbol - the Yellow Leader's Jersey - that was shared almost 2K times. They also posted an additional five branded content videos.

Results

"The unpredictable nature of surfing events made Facebook Live the perfect solution to get our competitions to a greater audience. We’ve seen our videos and Livestreams successfully build a large, engaged community around our sport and as a result, sponsors are interested in producing co-branded content to reach and connect with our audience in a meaningful way."
Tim Greenberg, Chief Community Officer
The article was originally posted on Facebook.com