The HypeMeter

SapientNitroUS

Engaging

Production / Professional

Team

Gaston Legorburu – Worldwide Chief Creative Officer, Darren McColl – VP Global Brand Strategy, Juan Morales – Executive Creative Director, James Allen – Creative Director, Andrew Goldstein – Creative Director, Alex Martinez – Associate Creative Director, Valter Klug – Associate Creative Director, Hugo Broche – Senior Art Director, Francis Ferrazza – Senior Designer, Mauricio Carrasco - Senior Art Director, Andres Betancur – Art Director, Cass Crockatt - Associate Creative Director Experience Design, Eddie Gomez - Creative Director, UX Lance Garcia - Associate Creative Director, Monica Cleves - Information Architect L1, Vijay Kumar - Developer, Shridhar Sundaram - Senior Manager Technology, Flavio Sonis - Sr Manager Interactive Program Management, Charlie Tornabene - Director General Management, Manuel Moreno - Senior Associate Marketing Strategy & Analysis

Overview

With X Games expanding rapidly to host six events per year (from three) and to take their events global in 2013, we were faced with a few specific business challenges:

First, we had to invent new ways to distribute more content to more markets. And The HypeMeter (paired with its corresponding hype chart) accomplishes this by serving branded content in an entirely new context.

Second, we were charged with maintaining the premium status of the X Games brand within the world of action sports. Having a new way to engage fans through UGC and branded content does just that, keeping X Games on the forefront of technology as well as sports.

Third, with the global expansion, X Games called on us to help them grow their audience. And because The HypeMeter uses UGC to create content which is then shared via social, their key metrics around audience engagement through digital (detailed in the following section) have all risen sharply. Of course, this global audience created other strategic hurdles, with content coming in from mixed markets—so part of our planning process involved mapping the markets to demonstrate how they could be linked.

Audience

Our insight process focused in large part on our two main target groups: “avid” fans who were already action sports loyalists and “two-way players,” essentially more general sports fans who would tune in for large scale action sports event. Research into these targets yielded key information regarding how technology plays a role in their lives, how they consume and use sports content (and why), where the broadcast and entertainment trends intersect with their behaviors, and what the existing conversation landscape was for X Games and competitive sports on the whole.

We found, in this process, that our avid fans connected more on the basis of a subculture of expression, with creativity and personal accomplishment serving as core motivations. Our two-way players connected more on the basis of competitive sport, with a bigger focus on newsworthy performance and the broader spirit of competition.

Impact

The launch of The HypeMeter during the 2013 Aspen X Games was a huge success, driving big gains across year-over-year metrics for XGames.com including site visits up 72%, video starts up 15%, and site page views up 99%. In addition, time spent with both the website and app rose in similar fashion—with minutes per day up 57%.

After a strong follow-up at X Games Tignes in March, we’re driving some key next steps to push this innovation further.

As fan engagement grows, we intend to expand the complexity of The HypeMeter through the development of additional ‘hype inputs’—currently, we’re investigating live crowd noise as a first expansion.

We’re also seeking to extend The HypeMeter into other ESPN sports—with the help of client leads who recognize The HypeMeter as a branded innovation with wide-ranging possibilities.

At future events, we’re looking to increase the physical presence of The HypeMeter by building a digital tower that displays the latest scores and content—part of enhancing the event experience.

The HypeMeter is all about giving fans the power to create and curate content—so that all X Games fans can engage more deeply with the sports and athletes they love.

Craft

The HypeMeter is an algorithm which measures multiple input sources (e.g., Twitter velocity, Facebook share counts, phone shaking, and tablet gaming) in real time, weighs these inputs according to a predetermined formula, and then outputs a score from 1 to 100. This result is then broadcast in determined intervals (by default, every several seconds) to all X Games digital properties so that the “current HypeMeter score” remains consistent across all channels.

HypeMeter scores have value in both live and catalogued states. In the live state, a fan can reference the total impact that surrounds any given moment, which provides the user a new kind of real-time context. In the catalogued state, scores are used to populate a cumulative “hype chart,” which builds throughout an X Games event to create an interactive graphic that visualizes key moments as peaks in the line chart. Users can then access pieces of content by engaging with hotspots linked to selected peaks.

One big technological advantage of The HypeMeter lies in its flexibility—through the ability to expand the number of inputs and redefine the scoring formula. X Games is already exploring the ability to track live crowd noise as a major source of hype, too.

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