,  — 21 Jun 2024

How Can Sports Apps Score During Euro 2024?

Gabriel Kuriata

UEFA Euro 2024 kicked off on June 14. Millions of football enthusiasts accessed streaming services to watch their favorite teams play, bet money on their victory or defeat, or track results and discuss them with their peers.

We decided to check out whether & how apps from the Sports category are handling this busy period. We’ll also share our insights and tips on app store optimization (ASO) and Apple Search Ads for such big sports events. Euro 2024 is simply a fantastic opportunity to explore great mobile app marketing use cases. The knowledge gathered during this time will help any app from any category elevate its mobile marketing strategy.

What types of apps can play ball during Euro 2024?

The sports category on the App Store is home to many types of apps: powerful live-streaming services, event calendars, result trackers, and a dynamic market of betting apps for those wishing to make some real money. SplitMetrics’ data from running Apple Search Ads campaigns paints Sports as a dynamic app category:

Average TTR
Average CR
Average CPT
Average CPA

The figures above are averages for 2023 and come from our latest SplitMetrics’ Apple Search Ads Search Results Benchmarks Report. Sports came 2nd in terms of the average tap-through rate (TTR) and cost per tap (CPT), 9th in conversion rate (CR), and 3rd in cost per acquisition (CPA). These figures reflect the category’s apps well. It’s made of powerful brands and popular subcategories (like sports betting and streaming). The presence of big brands and high average TTR and CR are correlated – just like popularity and CTA plus CPA values.

Find these and many more benchmarks on our SplitMetrics Benchmarks Dashboard. For an in-depth overview of key metrics, dive into analyses available in SplitMetrics’ Apple Search Ads Search Results Benchmarks Report 2024.

In theory, such an important event as Euro 2024 can positively impact all Sports apps. Remember that football is alive and kicking all year round, being the central focus of many news & content apps. In Europe, it’s also the main reason people access and pay subscriptions for live-streaming services. Just take a look at the top Sports apps from the three biggest European markets:

A collection of top sports app icons from three countries, United Kingdom, Germany and France. A significant part of them are related to football (soccer). Color schemes are also visible.
Football-related apps are among the most popular in the Sports category on the App Store in all European markets. Image source: a compilation of visualizations from App Radar’s Metadata Benchmarks.

Some apps will gain traffic and engagement from Euro 2024 “whether they want it or not” 😂. Other apps (like tracking multiple sports disciplines) should spend additional resources to grab the attention of football fans without alienating their other equally important audiences (in terms of LTV).

For the purpose of this article, we explored the App Store with our market intelligence features of SplitMetrics Acquire (CPP Intelligence) and App Radar’s App Timeline to find interesting apps and take a closer look at their activities during Euro 2024. All visual assets presented in this article are publicly available on the App Store and feature apps we found interesting and doing the right thing during this type of event. Here’s a brief look at key app subcategories.

Sports betting apps

This subcategory of apps ramped up their ASO efforts before the incoming tournament. It makes sense: with a great variety of tournaments, football bets are always in demand. Sports betting apps send a simple message: you can bet on any football team with us, and our offer beats others (with some nice starter bonus, perhaps).

We found some terrific examples of next-level ASO in the sports betting subcategory, with robust use of custom product pages for conversion rate optimization. Their approach is worth replicating in other categories.

Sports scores apps, sports calendars

Like any major sports event, UEFA Euro 2024 has its official mobile app. However, many sports enthusiasts prefer using independent apps for tracking scores and results, with user experience being the key motivator in seeking alternatives. Additionally, many of them want to track multiple disciplines in one place. To conclude, sports score apps can really embrace this tournament

Sports streaming and other Sports subcategories

Sports streaming services are frequently concerned with selected or multiple disciplines for which they’ve acquired rights. They can fully embrace Euro 2024, provided they diversify their communication and promotion.

What happens on the App Store during an event such as Euro 2024?

Quite a lot. Users come to the App Store looking for football-related apps, and many developers are doing their best to meet this demand. From the perspective of a developer, the following key trends emerge:

New campaigns kick-off and apps increase spend

Each month has a variety of important sports events, from NFL Playoffs, UFC championships, Grand Prix, and Cricket… contributing to seasonal increases for specific keywords related to them. With the various events simultaneously, it’s difficult to discern a category-wide trend in CPA and CPT values.

For example, outside of Euro 2024, key sports events in June include the NBA Finals (6 – 23 June). NBA Finals were visible on various custom product pages and in-app events.

A screenshot of App Radar's Timeline feature, showing three apps from Sports category running multiple in-app events at once, for NBA and Euro 2024
NBA Finals are another key event happening alongside Euro 2024, and Sports apps must be active on multiple fronts. The image above comes from App Radar’s Timeline feature, showing important metadata updates for three selected apps from the Sports category.

Search popularity of certain keywords grows, and new keywords pop up

The “Euro 2024” keyword gained 14 points in search popularity two weeks before the tournament, signifying a big increase in searches by App Store users.

A small sample from SplitMetrics Acquire, showing a variety of parameters for the euro 2024 keyword.
SplitMetrics Acquire provides a variety of information that is useful for tracking seasonal opportunities. Here, we can see that “euro 2024” is marked automatically as a branded app, a detailed search popularity score, and a share of voice for top apps.

It’s just a single keyword, but it serves as a fine example of what types of queries are gaining traction:

  • Generic search for live scores and normal scores, e.g., football live scores, football results, football scores;
  • Tournament + scores variants, e.g., Euro 2024 results, Euro 2024 live scores, but also Euro 2024 schedule, matches;
  • Team + other related terms – e.g., France football scores, France football results.

Remember, the most important keywords on the App Store are frequently branded, for example, live score, live score, live scores, football scores, and Euro 2024 scores.

Monitor the performance of your campaigns for football-related keywords, or any event-specific ones for that matter. Always be ready to incorporate new ones into your campaigns or optimize bids for existing ones. A wealth of automation features in SplitMetrics Acquire will take that work off your back in the case of Apple Search Ads, provided you make the necessary preparations.

ASO & Apple Search Ads checklist for Sports apps for any big sports event or season

New search queries and the increasing popularity of existing ones mean an influx of new users looking for relevant results or apps that may conveniently give them what they want. They likely won’t visit your app’s product page for long, so here’s what you can do to grab their attention and make sure they smash that “GET” button:

Consider changing your app’s title & subtitle

Renaming is a common practice for apps that track results and provide schedules. They usually add the current year to their name and season-relevant information to their subtitle.

The app title and subtitle are estimated to impact organic rankings significantly, and search queries can be related to a specific time period, as shown in the examples above.

Try updating your app icon

A collection app icons, showing that they updated the year to 2024.
A collection of app icons of Sports apps, showing the current year. Images were collected from the App Store using the CPP Intelligence feature of SplitMetrics Acquire.

While adding “2024” to your app’s name, consider changing the icon to increase tap-through and conversion rates. You can also consider adding other seasonally relevant visual elements.

There are plenty of apps with old dates in their names and icons on the app store. Their presence alone may motivate more users to put the current year in their search queries.

Monitor keywords and update your keyword field if necessary & viable

The Euro 2024 will last for an entire month, a long period of time during which many more keyword opportunities may pop up.

Monitoring keywords and updating your metadata is vital for locales with shared languages, like Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. App Radar allows you to manage your metadata on the App Store for all markets.

The keyword field on the App Store is a tool that’s crucial to your organic rankings. It gives you the most space to capitalize on emerging seasonal opportunities. Your success will depend on the right distribution of keywords between the title, subtitle, and the keyword field.

Preparations for an eventual update should start early, as relevant keywords gain traction before any big tournament starts. Take a look at your competitors. Tools such as App Radar’s metadata benchmarks allow you to track any changes to the app’s metadata, so when your competitors decide to go all in on an event, you’ll know it.

Updating the keyword field in many cases won’t be feasible. Apps with diverse audiences (like sports betting apps targeting enthusiasts of various disciplines) that need to secure a wide range of important keywords will be better off expanding their Apple Search Ads campaigns than updating the keyword field.

Optimize your bids and launch new Apple Search Ads campaigns in search results

Search is the main way of finding new apps, with over 65% of downloads resulting from that feature, according to Apple Search Ads. Optimizing your App Store Product Page is essential, and tweaking seasonal events can help set you up for success. On top of your organic strategy, Apple Search Ads, search results campaigns will allow you to reach a highly motivated audience looking for the “euro 2024” right now.

In addition, if you are hesitant to make significant changes to your keyword fields on the App Store or make bigger changes to descriptions to avoid losing traffic from other segments, Apple Search Ads campaigns can still help you get in front of a relevant audience with high intent.  Moreover, Apple Search Ads search results ads are indispensable, as they can target custom product pages as ad variations directly related to tournament-specific or relevant search terms.

Protect your brand & challenge others

Many search queries on the App Store are brand names, and in high season, marketers are incentivized to increase branded keyword bids. We found plenty of examples of this practice, so secure your branded keywords and bid on unprotected ones of your competitors. SplitMetrics Acquire offers two key features for managing this:

A screenshot from SplitMetrics Acquire, showing the iconography of the Brand Protection feature.
  • Automation Rules will help you immediately detect any shifts in key parameters of keywords & boost bids immediately as a counter-measure;
  • Brand Protection is a visual indicator for keywords visible in SplitMetrics Acquire that highlights branded keywords and evaluates their protection.

    Brand Protection allows you to improve your brand defense and spot openings in your competitors’ campaigns. The feature is a visual aid integrated with our Ads Manager and Semantic Tools, such as  Keyword Discovery, Keyword Gap, and CPP Intelligence. Read more about it here.

    Monitor your competitors to spot new keywords & opportunities

    Keyword Gap is a feature of SplitMetrics Acquire that will clearly show you keywords that your competitors rank for and that you don’t. Use it in addition to our CPP Intelligence feature, which will show which keywords a particular custom product page is promoted for. Teamwork always yields the best results, right ;)? Monitor your competition to avoid entering the game late and spot new growth opportunities.

    A screenshot from SplitMetrics Acquire, showing the semantic analysis of the Keyword Gap feature.
    Keyword Gap in SplitMetrics Acquire shows which keywords your competitors rank for and you don’t. Read more about its functionality in this article.

    We also highly recommend using App Radar’s Timeline feature to track changes to competitors’ metadata and in-app events.

    A screenshot of App Radars Timeline feature, showing how long in-app events last and when updates are made.
    App Radar visualizes all ASO updates you and your selected competitors have made historically, easing your teamwork and internal impact analysis. Read more about the feature here.

    Use ad variations to reach football fans and not alienate other sports enthusiasts

    A collection of screenshots from a sports betting app. One variant targets footbal fans, the other of slots games.
    Football rules and dominates the airwaves during an even such as Euro 2024, but don’t forget about those slots enthusiasts who also contribute to your growth. Source: the App Store, fetched with CPP Intelligence feature of SplitMetrics Acquire.

    Ad variations allow you to link specific keywords in Apple Search Ads to specific custom product pages and, by doing so, create unique user experiences, thus maximizing conversion rates. We found great examples of them being utilized among popular sports betting apps in the UK and other markets.

    A generic, default product page of a sports betting app and a custom product page for Euro 2024, or any big football event
    Top to bottom: the new default product page and a custom product page launch in the vicinity of Euro 2024. Source: the App Store, fetched with CPP Intelligence feature of SplitMetrics Acquire.

    Ad variations are the best way of reaching out to all the customer segments simultaneously, delivering them exactly what they want. Many apps with diverse functionality may hesitate to update their keyword field to avoid losing organic traffic from other key segments. Paid user acquisition imposes no such dilemmas on marketers, thus being the key component of growth during special events, holidays, or hot seasons.

    A concept image of CPP Intelligence, a market intelligence feature of SplitMetrics Acquire
    With just a few clicks, SplitMetrics Acquire users can search by keyword and view a custom product page a competitor utilizes for it. Read more about the feature here.

    Embrace timed in-app events for increased engagement

    A collection of selected in-app events from the App Store, run in Germany and UK, fetched with App Radar’s Timeline feature.
    A collection of selected in-app events from the App Store, run in Germany and UK, fetched with App Radar’s Timeline feature.

    In-app events are a key component of any holiday-related seasonal mobile app marketing activities, primarily driving engagement rates and re-downloads but also being a source of new downloads. Apps running in-app events have a chance of being featured in editorial sections on both the App Store and Google Play. Remember that restrictions may apply depending on functionality. Sharing them with the editorial team is necessary for promotional consideration on the App Store (please refer to Apple’s Developer page on in-app events for more information.

    All in all, in-app events show new users that your app is the one to turn to for the most recent, still hot news & content.

    In the case of Euro 2024, the first events started popping up on the App Store in the first week of June. Remember that on the App Store, in-app events are displayed on the app’s product page, in the curated content section on the Today tab, Games tab, and Apps tab, and in search results for users who downloaded your app. Take advantage of this and optimize your bids to boost your visibility and maximize engagement.

    Boost your visibility with additional Apple Search Ads placements

    Beyond search results ads, Apple Search Ads offers four premium placements that should be an indispensable component of your seasonal campaigns.

    From left to right: Search tab ad, search results ad, Today tab ad and a product page ad. Today tab ads use visual assets from a designated custom product page. Use this to your advantage during special events, such as Euro 2024. Coupled with active in-app events, it’s a great way of boosting your visibility on the App Store.
    From left to right: Search tab ad, search results ad, Today tab ad, and a product page ad. Today tab ads use visual assets from a designated custom product page. Use this to your advantage during special events, such as Euro 2024. Coupled with active in-app events, it’s a great way of boosting your visibility on the App Store.

    Today tab ads have the potential to boost your visibility and provide significant traffic and conversions. Today tab ads are created with assets from a dedicated custom product page.

    Product page ads will allow you to appeal to users interested in apps similar to yours. Optimize your title, subtitle, and icon; this placement may have great results. Ads appear at the top of the You Might Also Like list to users who have scrolled to the bottom of product pages, actively researching apps and getting information to help them decide whether to download.

    Search tab ads will allow you to grab users’ attention before they even initiate a search. They can serve as an effective tool for increasing visibility.

    Utilize all four placements to increase your chances of creating a “halo effect,” meaning that increased visibility on the App Store may boost branded search queries, conversion rates, and the number of downloads.

    Critical, long-term lessons for all apps from Euro 2024

    The tips described above will help you take advantage of the buzz surrounding any big, upcoming sports event, like the Olympic Games in Paris 2024, which will start on June 24. Many practices shown in this article are applicable universally, and it’d be wise to keep them as a golden standard in other app categories as well.

    Use custom product pages to reach diverse audiences

    A collection of first screenshots utilized on various custom product pages by Betclic, a popular sports betting app in France, along with the default image (last one). Custom product pages help achieve relevance levels unattainable with a universal page. Images were acquired with SplitMetrics Acquire’s CPP Intelligence feature.
    A collection of first screenshots utilized on various custom product pages by Betclic, a popular sports betting app in France, along with the default image (last one). Custom product pages help achieve relevance levels unattainable with a universal page. Images were acquired with SplitMetrics Acquire’s CPP Intelligence feature.

    Custom product pages on the App Store are an excellent way to showcase different functionality to specific segments of users. Assigned to specific, relevant keywords, they can reach high conversion rates. They should be an indispensable element of your Apple Search Ads campaigns as ad variations.

    Implement a multi-placement strategy

    Outside of the immediate benefits of boosting your visibility during a hot period, implement a multi-placement strategy in Apple Search Ads with long-term results in mind. Analyze your performance on a higher level instead of isolated campaigns.

    The value of a multi-placement ad strategy lies in its ability to increase your app’s visibility and improve scaling and the performance of each of the individual placements. Each user’s journey throughout the App Store is complex, with multiple touch points. Each of the four placements connects with the user throughout a different journey stage, granting additional exposure. It creates an opportunity to increase awareness, download intent, or downloads.

    Today tab ads offer the broadest reach, with the Today tab being visited by over 650 million people weekly. Search tab ads are also a fantastic opportunity, given the fact that 70% of the App Store users use search for app discovery. The Search tab is a key place to be visible. With this placement, you can connect with them before they even initiate a search. Search results ads may benefit from increased awareness of your app and visibility in terms of higher conversion rates.

    Read how MY.GAMES increased impressions, acquisition, and revenue with Apple Search Ads campaigns across the Today tab, the Search tab, product pages, and search results in the case study Rush Royale.

    As we mentioned, football is alive and kicking all year round. Placements such as product page ads may help you grab users from your competitors, and all placements will work together to boost your brand power and visibility.

    Track your competitors

    When to start your activities? Change metadata, launch events, increase bids, start new campaigns? Ideally, you should be one step ahead of your competitors or at the front of the race. All marketing activities surrounding an event always proceed and exceed said event.  Given all the necessary design, A/B testing, planning & scheduling, preparations start even before that.

    Consequently, you’ll benefit from a cyclical, retro analysis of your competitors and ongoing monitoring of them. All features described in this article, like CPP Intelligence, Keyword Gap in SplitMetrics Acquire, or App Radar’s Market Intelligence tools – Timeline, Benchmarks, and more, give you the full capability to perform all types of research.

    It’s a goal!

    Study your competitors and market to sport new opportunities and strike that goal! Here’s a quick wrap-up:

    • Optimize your app’s product page app previews imagery & text to let football enthusiasts (or any other discipline, for that matter) know that they’ve found the right app!
    • Personalize your content to reach new audiences and not alienate existing users with custom product pages.
    • Always keep an eye on new keywords and fluctuations in bids so that you do not feel left sitting down when everyone stands up!

    …and if you have fun in the process, then all the better. Sports is supposed to be fun, after all!

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    Gabriel Kuriata
    Gabriel Kuriata
    Content Manager
    Gabriel is a professional writer with more than a decade of experience in bringing advanced b2b tech solutions closer to the people - with content in all forms, shapes and sizes.
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