Yahoo Fantasy Football’s Fan-tastic Experience
Automated draft reports and match recaps help Yahoo engage, monetize, and delight its massive user base.
“Sports is about having fun and marrying that with your passion, and wanting to win. To us having that tone is an important part of the success.”
– Ken Fuchs, Head of Yahoo! Sports
Yahoo Fantasy Football boasts millions of users who love the game and are always hungry for more content. That’s why every week of the season, the Wordsmith platform from Automated Insights creates personalized narratives for millions of Yahoo fantasy football users.
Engaging with Personalized Stories
Ken Fuchs, head of Yahoo Sports, told Barron’s that users “have an almost insatiable appetite for information, research and detail.” Barron’s reported that Yahoo users “spend an average of 29 hours a year on their teams.”
Engagement, of course, is the result of content that users love. That’s why Yahoo partners with Ai to, in the words of The Washington Post’s Matt McFarland, “make our beloved fantasy teams seem even more important.”
The company’s Wordsmith platform uses natural language generation to transform raw fantasy football data into draft reports, match previews, and match recaps. The platform generates millions of stories each week, essentially giving every fantasy owner a personalized sports reporter writing about their team.
Even though the stories are produced at a speed and scale that would be impossible for human writers, McFarland says “[it’s] not especially obvious that they were generated by a computer.” In fact, Yahoo asked Ai to give its reports a particularly snarky tone for the 2014-15 season.
“Sports is about having fun and marrying that with your passion, and wanting to win. To us having that tone is an important part of the success,” Ken Fuchs told the Washington Post. “When I get my recap and it tells me unfortunately my game tape is not going to be broken down in any coaching clinics, it gives me a little smile and allows the guy who I lost to shoot me a note quoting his recap and talking a little smack.”
Barron’s Alexandre Eule notes that the 10 minutes he spent looking at his Yahoo fantasy report card would have been, “a long time with any personal e-mail, let alone one generated by a computer.”
Accounting for the average number of unique readers per week and the average number of minutes per visit, Yahoo has added over 100 years of incremental audience engagement by working with Automated Insights. “Engagement, of course, is a key metric for advertisers,” said Eule. “That’s surely not lost on Yahoo or its CEO, Marissa Mayer.”
Monetizing with Effective Ads
As personalized content is engaging Yahoo’s fantasy users, it’s helping to monetize them, too.
With Wordsmith, the Magic has full control over the content they produce for each fan and can communicate in their brand voice about any scenario a unique customer’s data presents.
McFarland and Eule specifically called out the Toyota ads integrated with Ai content. McFarland’s ad was an amusing quip about the Camry; Eule’s ad had “embedded the logo of a league-mate with the best draft performance.”
But the advertising benefits for Yahoo were more than anecdotal, of course. Personalized, engaging content helps Yahoo sell advertising and sponsorships at higher rates than standard content could support.
Delighting Readers with Remarkable Content
Yahoo’s fantasy football content offers users a rare mix of personalization, insight, and wit – a combination that users might not expect from an algorithm.
This form of social brand advocacy deepens the engagement of advocates and their friends, which of course further expands Yahoo Fantasy’s monetization potential. Leveraging the power of automation and personalization, Ai helps Yahoo build success one user at a time.
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