CalReply Joins ROKT

Brad Lindenberg (CEO, CalReply) and Bruce Buchanan (CEO, ROKT)

I'm proud and excited to share that CalReply has joined ROKT!

Five years ago we set out to build a lasting and valuable company with the aim to scale and serve millions of users around the world.

Through a few iterations of our original idea, we landed on CalReply, which has grown to become the world's leading calendar marketing platform for businesses aiming to drive real-time engagement for their media, broadcast and sport properties.  

Looking back over the last few years, our incredible team has built an innovative platform which was quickly adopted and embraced by the largest media outlets around the globe. Some of our customers include ITV, theSkimm, ESPN, UFC, NASCAR, IndyCar, MLB, NHL, Fox Sports, FOX, BT Sport and NFL Network to name a few. 

We have also powered calendaring solutions for the largest events on the planet including FIFA World Cup, RIO 2016 Olympics and the Rugby World Cup.

Over 4.5 million consumers in over 30 languages rely on our products to keep them informed across the 700 million reminders that have been triggered from our platform to date. 

To accelerate our strategic objectives, we have decided to merge our business into ROKT. ROKT is the world leader in post transaction marketing and have built an incredible technology that will enable our CalReply platform to become smarter and scale faster. 

Currently CalReply allows marketers to publish a relatively standardized set of events into subscribers calendars, however many of our customers are asking for more intelligent capabilities such as targeting all customers of a specific age or gender or those who have carried out an action on their website, similar to how intelligent email marketing platforms work. The ROKT technology will soon allow CalReply to bring these capabilities to market.

In addition to the technological benefits, ROKT is integrated into many of the world's largest eCommerce websites where they enable post transaction customer acquisition services for leading advertisers. The ROKT partner network receives over 100 million impressions a month, the majority of which are for online purchases that require an "add to calendar" action for the best user experience, for example concert bookings, flights and hotel reservations. This is the perfect place to expand CalReply's reach and enable customers to use the calendar as a means to connect with customers in a new and direct manner. Conversely our clients will be able to access the ROKT network and use it to drive calendar subscriber acquisition on a paid basis.

Most importantly, our team, product and ambitions are as strong as ever and will continue to be invested in. By combining resources with ROKT, we can accelerate our growth and momentum.

Thank you for your support and I look forward to what we will achieve together in the coming months and years ahead. 

- Brad Lindenberg, CEO 

Introducing The CalReply Event Engagement Score

CalReply is excited to introduce the Event Engagement score for all event reminders. This feature will be rolled out over the next 30 days into all CalReply accounts. 

The Event Engagement Score represents the percentage of subscribers that click into a calendar event reminder within a 15 minute window before and after an event start time.

CalReply is now one step further to closing the loop from subscription to tune-in by determining how many subscribers are taking action when reminded to watch TV or engage with an event.

While reminder impressions are still essential in determining engagement and cut through, the Event Engagement score demonstrates that audiences are taking action by opening their calendar and engaging with reminders in real-time.

In addition to this, we will soon be adding support for click through tracking from links within calendar reminders. 

Twice the engagement of email

On average, 15% of audiences that are notified via their calendar are interacting with events during the reminder window.  Sports events have the most engagement with 17% of subscribers engaging with their calendar when they are reminded of live events.  

When compared to open rates across digital channels for media companies, CalReply provides higher engagement rates than email and app push notifications.  On average,  41% of subscribers interact with calendar events on the day of a broadcast versus the 23% and 20% respectively for email and push notifications.  Unlike, emails, CalReply also offers real-time notifications ensuring subscribers will receive messaging prior to air-time. 

Engagement

Increase Engagement through Deep Links in Calendar Events

Many clients have found success boosting engagement by including deep links in the event details. Deep links enable subscribers to consume content with ease by initiating desired actions with one click. Subscribers can be directed to various different sources like video content, articles, ticket sales, merchandise, app downloads and live streams. 

As an example, Columbus Blue Jackets and UFC utilize the events detail to drive subscribers to ticket sales and and game-time second screen statistics. 

The new Event Engagement score offers analytical insights on the value of driving CalReply reminders. With the added measurability, it's clear that calendaring is influencing tune-in all season long.  Start using the calendar engagement tool yourself and see why CalReply is an essential marketing channel to your strategy!

 

ESPN launches the ESPN Daily Calendar

ESPN, the preeminent source in worldwide sports, has built on its already extensive use of CalReply by releasing the ESPN Daily Calendar. The ESPN Daily Calendar is a curated calendar which is managed by ESPN's editorial staff and is updated daily to remind sports fans of the biggest events in sport across the globe.  

By manually curating each event, editorial staff are able to include commentary and insights that provide context around the event taking place. Here is an example:

The editorialized reminder provides context around the seeding of each player, who is playing, where to watch and the fact that this is a historical situation.

 
 

The ESPN Daily Calendar does not only feature events that air on ESPN, but also features events that are generally popular in nature. Examples include important UFC fights, tennis match ups, Rio Olympic events, international soccer rivalries, golf tournaments and more. By taking this approach, ESPN positions themselves as the leader in sports regardless whether they are a rightsholder to the event or not.

Explosive Subscriber Growth

To drive subscribers, ESPN began featuring the Daily Calendar in-app as a pop-up overlay which has resulted in tremendous growth. Upon opening the ESPN app, a full screen takeover invites visitors to subscribe and includes an example of what a calendar reminder looks like. After a one-click opt-in, fans’ calendars are immediately populated with events and news. Here is an example:

 
 

 By promoting calendars through in-app campaigns, ESPN has converted a large number of users into calendar subscribers. Additionally, the high calendar conversion rate and the value of a perpetual subscription-based methodology in CalReply nets ESPN a long-term engagement asset in  the form of the ability to remind audiences of key programming directly via their native mobile calendars. 

Instant Subscription via the Direct Link

One of the key drivers of subscriber growth is the flexibility of the CalReply API which allows for the creation of direct subscribe links for iOS for Android.  When implemented on mobile the user experience is drastically shortened since users don't need to load an interim CalReply calendar page before subscribing.  The direct link methodology has resulted in a 10x increase in subscription volume. 

Browser Push Notifications Powered by CalReply

Mobile usage continues to be ingrained in the daily lives of consumers, and companies have raced to market on mobile and social media.  Yet, with 42% of internet usage still conducted on a desktop or laptop computer, web browsers are a focal point in targeting the multi-channel individual. CalReply’s Browser Notifications feature is the optimal solution to connect with website visitors in real-time to boost engagement and site traffic. 

FOX, one of the largest television networks, partnered with CalReply to bring viewers calendar reminders and browser notifications to optimize the tune-in experience.  After finding success on the individual show level, FOX implemented browser push notifications dedicated to all the best events and content across the network.  These notifications provide a channel for FOX to stay connected with viewers. 

When visitors land on FOX.com, they are greeted with a pop-up invitation to activate push notifications. Once access is granted, they can immediately begin receiving notifications, regardless of the website opened on the browser. Up-to-date release information is generated that redirects the subscriber to germane FOX articles. 

CalReply’s browser push notifications allow companies to provide timely and targeted content that re-engage consumers.  Consequently, companies can rest assured that important notifications are delivered and subscribers are directed to relevant site content instead of relying on traditional site-traffic alone.  Browser notifications expand the ability to reach and connect with users on an ubiquitous device that still accounts for almost half of internet usage.

Today’s consumers are inundated with data overload across several different devices but web browsers have remained a significant communication vehicle.  Leveraging browser notifications establishes long-term relationships with anonymous site visitors, and through targeted messaging re-engages users while providing subscriber relevant page views. 

MSG Networks On-Air Promotions

Major league sports in New York have a long and rich history.  Throughout the years, names, mascots and logos may have changed, but one thing has remained consistent: MSG Network’s comprehensive coverage of each and every action packed face-off. Generations of dedicated New York fans have relied on MSG Networks to tune-in and watch all of their favorite teams.  

MSG Networks has turned to CalReply to make it easier for fans to tune-in and never miss a game by integrating CalReply into on-air promotions across their various New York franchises.

In a short promotion, MSG Networks invites fans to sync their personal devices to every league game via CalReply. Here is an example:

MSG Networks drive fans to a multi-team calendar page using the link on.msgnetworks.com.

Additionally, by adding “/teamname” to the end of the url, users can be directed straight to team calendar pages, for example on.msgnetworks.com/devils.

MSG.png

With the use of on-air promotions, MSG Networks doubled their subscribers in just the past three months and the numbers are continuing to grow at a steady rate. 

Additionally, not only will subscribers have access to events and receive reminders for all regular season league games but as schedules update, CalReply will automatically sync schedule updates, play-offs and future seasons as well.  

Another feature of CalReply is Channel Identification which ensures that fans know where and when to tune-in. On top of broadcasting ten professional franchises with coinciding games played across multiple MSG channels, there are seemingly endless combinations of providers and locations that lead to multiple positions on the cable dial. Users simply enter their zip code and TV provider at the time of subscription and each event will include channel information. 

CalReply offers sports broadcasters and television networks alike a unique opportunity to drive user engagement, season after season through dynamic calendar access. With real-time reminders, fans never have to worry about schedules, leaving them to do what they do best, enjoy the game.

iOS 10 Makes the Calendar the #1 Spot on Mobile

With the release of iOS 10, Apple has made huge improvements to the UX of the Calendar experience.

In iOS 10, Apple has revamped the home screen and notifications. Now, the next event in your calendar is the first item on the list of home screen widgets. Even above iMessage and Mail! Calendar events are now guaranteed to be seen whenever anyone unlocks their phone - increasing your share of voice across mobile by ensuring your upcoming events are front of mind.

 

iOS 10 home screen

The next event in your calendar is surfaced on the new iOS 10 home screen enabling you to use CalReply to push your events to the top spot on mobile which is viewed every time a user unlocks their phone. 

 
 

 

Deep Linking into Calendar Events

Previous versions of iOS it would simply open up the calendar app however now iOS 10 now links users directly into the calendar event view. By deep linking directly into the event view, users are presented with useful calendar information such as event details and links where they can take action and engage further. Calendar event content can be modified directly from the CalReply dashboard enabling you to dynamically and remotely publish and update events into the calendar. 

 
 

 

Notify > Tap > App

There is no better user experience than receiving a reminder for an event, and then watching the event in a single tap. The iOS 10 calendar experience allows just that. If you're app supports deep linking, you can now link directly into a video stream from a calendar reminder.  

We are very excited about the latest updates to the calendar experience in iOS 10. With CalReply, you can now push your event reminders to the #1 spot on mobile.

Drive Subscribers with Visual Timed Lightbox Pop-ups

The schedule or fixtures page of a sports team, league or broadcaster is usually one of the most visited pages on their website.

When the 2016-2017 NBA schedule was announced this week, the Cleveland Cavaliers configured a light box to appear over their website that linked directly to their CalReply calendar page where fans could download the season calendar instantly. 

Light boxes are powerful engagement tools that allow for a 100% share of voice environment which enables fans to be presented with messaging that is relevant to the schedule they are visiting. Here is an example of the light box that the Cavs are using:

Here's an example of the Premier Boxing fight alerts light box:

Setting up timed light boxes

As you would have seen on this page, a light box appeared 5 seconds after it loaded which prompted you to add the Cavs schedule to your calendar. The call-to-action was a static image that was linked to their CalReply page.

In order to trigger a light box on this page, we used a tool called OptinMonster which allows you to set up engagement components such as light boxes, then customize them to launch based on specific rule sets such as the URL of the page. Multiple campaigns can be set up with different creative and different targeting rules.

Here are two example light box creatives that can be set up to trigger on two different schedule pages:

Pop-ups drive 1375% more subscribers

Opt-in's that are triggered as a pop-up window drive 1375% more subscribers than sidebar and or header/footer opt-in calls to action. After 8 months of testing, we have found that light box's have driven over 27,000 additional subscribers for one particular client versus a sidebar form which had a subscription rate of .4% versus the light box which converted at 5.5%.

TRACKING SUBSCRIBERS

When linking to calendar pages from a light box, make sure to append a utm_source tag to your calendar page URL so that you can attribute subscribers directly to your light box, or to a specific light box creative if you are running multiple versions. You can read more about how to track your calendar subscribers using UTM parameters here.

Light boxes are a powerful and easy way to turn existing website traffic into calendar subscribers.