Official Bundesliga App Gets New Personalisation Features

Hand holding mobile smart phone with football field stadium background.
  • Usage-based content recommendations and expanded live insights launched

8 August 2021 – The official Bundesliga app boasts new features and personalised content. With these updates, DFL continues its content strategy which aims to further enhance the digital live experience of Bundesliga broadcasts.

Recommendations based on the user’s behaviour

The centrepiece of the upgrade is the new Recommendations feature which is based on user preferences to gear the content provided by the app towards the individual user’s interests. While fans have been able to configure the Bundesliga app to match their interests by selecting their favourite club and the push notifications on the live ticker, the new features take them one step further.

A recommendation engine now analyses the editorial content accessed by the user, then suggests additional articles that are very likely to be of particular interest to the person. Provided that the user has consented, the system undergoes automated self-training routines to determine the three most relevant content items for the given user and suggests them in the “Recommended for you” section. For example, depending on the user’s behaviour the system might suggest the best videos of a specific player, current news, or background reports. The goal is to feed the machine learning-based system with additional data points over time so the recommendations can reflect as many app features as possible. 

We want our app to present the entire spectrum of all our clubs and our league in a way that caters to the personal preferences of each individual fan.

Andreas Heyden, EVP Digital Innovations – DFL Group

Amazon Personalize analyses personal preferences

DFL has entrusted the implementation of the personalisation initiative to its technology provider Amazon Web Services (AWS): Amazon Personalize is a service used by developers to create applications that enable a personalised user experience, such as product recommendations or individualised product rankings. As a fully managed machine learning (ML) service, Amazon Personalize goes beyond recommendation systems that are based rigid rules only. The solution “trains”, optimises and deploys personalised ML models that provide individual recommendations to customers in many different sectors, whether retail, media or entertainment.

Focus on benefits for fans

The Bundesliga app is the first DFL project that uses AWS to generate personalised content and interaction suggestions based on individual football fans’ online behaviour and interests. To Andreas Heyden, EVP Digital Innovations – DFL Group, the benefits for the fans are what counts: “At DFL, we want our app to present the entire spectrum of all our clubs and our league in a way that caters to the personal preferences of each individual fan. Therefore, this initiative, which we have launched jointly with AWS, is our next step towards creating a personalised Bundesliga experience that automatically selects the content that is most relevant for the respective fan, and delivers it immediately.”

The enhanced app content was first made available to users as part of A/B testing to take their feedback into account. The finding: users who received personalized article suggestions, among other things, opened significantly more articles (up 67 percent) and spent 17 percent more time in the app than users without a “Recommended for you” section. Although users clearly already like the personalization and recommended articles, these are to be developed further on an ongoing basis. The focus here is on connecting additional data sources and gradually refining the recommendation model. Further A/B testing will continuously determine whether these optimizations are also accepted.

Personalized article suggestions take into account the interests of users – the article opening rate has increased significantly as a result.

Real-time delivery of matchday facts

Further enhancements to the app aim to let fans follow Bundesliga matches more directly in real time. In addition to delivering an up-to-the-second log of what is happening on the pitch, the updated live ticker now includes videos and votings. Votings and quiz elements are incorporated using the “Apester” tool, among other technologies. Videos are integrated into the app from the new Social Media Matchday Feed. Furthermore, users can now view clips of match highlights which are selected depending on the region where the user is staying and the applicable copyright matrix.

Of course, the “Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS” real-time statistics are available as an essential aspect of every live match. And the digital programme guide “EPG” keeps app users around the world up-to-date on which broadcasting stations in the relevant region are transmitting the individual Bundesliga matches.

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