Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Freeride World Tour Increase Online Followers

The Freeride World Tour has seen spectacular growth in its online reach compared to last season. The 100,000+ Facebook fans mark was reached already in January and it keeps growing continuously and organically with a steady 1.5 mio people reached on Facebook. Website traffic is also up, reaching a 20% growth year over year. These numbers provide a strong indicatation that the new user-adapted online strategy, along with the increase in resources allocated, seem to be paying off. Over a period from October till today there has been a 30% increase in new visitors to the website and it has been visited more than 500,000 times. This is 20% more visits than in the same period last year. With regard to content, there is a 20% increase in pages viewed in the same period last year. On the video side, counting all platforms together (FB, DM, YT, Live, etc) there has been more than 4'340'000 views between January and February alone.
While these numbers indicate a growing interest and fan base in general, they also show that the new online strategy seems to fit the users' demand with more multimedia content and a focus on the riders.  "We have analyzed the statistics and the behavior of our fans on the social media platforms to make some changes in the strategy", says FWT Digital Media Manager, Gary Eisinger. "More concretely, this means that we make more regular news posts, and we use photo and shorter videos a lot as this is what our online users seem to want".
One major change since last year has been the implementation of a new, more user-friendly and responsive (available from any screen) website with more content and regular news updates both about the Freeride World Tour and its riders, but also concerning the two recruiting tours, the Freeride World Qualifier and the Freeride Junior Tour. Combined with social media posts using professional photos and videos this global online strategy has proven to generate more traffic and interaction. The videos in particular are very popular and are also being shared on other online platforms which of course increases the reach. As an example, more than 640.000 people watched the online videos during the week of the Vallnord, Andorra FWT event. Finally, the Instagram account is also taking off and just received 106,000 likes in one week with more than 700 comments.
As an extra service to fans, a new FWT App can now be downloaded from both the Apple store and the Android Market. The idea is to have a direct way to stay updated on the latest news and keep rankings, rider information and photos handy any time. One can also use the application to follow the FWT live stream of competitions straight from one's mobile device. The greatest advantage of the application is that one can get push notifications on news and concerning the live stream and any changes in schedule. Everything is being done with the user in mind, to make it easy to follow the action - no matter how far away - and share the experience with friends, colleagues or family.
FWT General Manager, Nicolas Hale-Woods is pleased with the development, which is also a result of putting in more resources: "There is a big professional production team working behind the scenes to capture all the action and we always have an abundance of top quality live and still images to share. It is important to us be able to both satisfy the online community and to service the traditional media, who tend to appreciate our longer shows and written content", he says, concluding: "It's great to see that it all pays off as it gives more exposure - not only to the Tour and its partners - but also to the riders".

The Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years shows that the base of the sport is growing exponentially.
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.

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