"Eye opening"

This is how Todd Marcy, Director of Digital Operations for the Detroit Lions, describes his first encounter with Ceros back in 2015.

The digital team was intrigued by interactive content and wanted to find a way to incorporate it into their marketing efforts.

“We saw other clubs creating interactive content that was very engaging. We knew it was something our fans were looking for, too,” says Marcy. “People aren’t reading as many stories today as they are viewing videos. They want quick, dynamic, interactive experiences. It’s something we knew we were missing in our program.”

While Marcy and team saw the value of interactive, they initially thought it was out of reach.

“The tools we were using for content creation and publishing didn’t lend themselves to interactive projects without an in-house developer, which we didn’t have. When Ceros approached us, we learned that we could create HTML5 content and quickly get it out there to our audience. We were really excited by the potential of the tool,” says Marcy.

Driving Conversation with Interactive Stories

For the Lions’ digital program, fan engagement is a top objective, especially during the offseason. Their first Ceros project, an infographic celebrating player Calvin Johnson’s on-field achievements and retirement, was designed to connect with their audience in a visual, dynamic way. The piece leverages video footage, photos, and social media posts highlighting key moments in Johnson’s career.

“Beyond looking at pageviews and time spent, our team evaluates the success of our content by monitoring feedback through social media,” says Marcy. “We tracked Likes, Comments, and Shares on posts that promoted this piece, and saw very strong engagement across channels.”

These conversations on social media are an important part of the digital team’s strategy to build and maintain relationships with fans. Interactive content helped them connect with their audience in a new way.

Evolving use cases for interactive

The Lions initially signed on to build one-off, long-form interactive experiences, but they quickly realized that interactive could be used throughout their digital program.

“Creating pieces in the Ceros Studio was straightforward, and it was so easy to maintain content and publish updates, we realized we could use the tool to speed up content production in other areas,” says Marcy. “We can build new Experiences, publish them, and make changes any time in just a matter of seconds. In the past, the same process would have taken three times as long, for content that wasn’t dynamic.”

Marcy’s team now uses Ceros to create landing pages, announcements, game guides, microcontent, sales promotions, and enhanced videos used across their website.

“Our thinking is, why not create more interactive, dynamic content? It’s inspiring in a way that traditional content isn’t, and we can do so much more with it, building experiences that respond in a dynamic way to our fans’ interactions,” says Marcy.

Why not, indeed. With other leading teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, and Minnesota Vikings investing in interactive content as well, it’s clear that dynamic, visual experiences aren’t just a single-play fad, but a trend that’s here to stay for the current brand marketing season and beyond.