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Bundesliga boosts app engagement with Shorts powered by Amazon Personalize

Millions of Bundesliga (also known as Deutsche Fußball Liga or DFL) fans from around the world rely on the German soccer league’s official Bundesliga App for insights into real-time match statistics, in-depth player and club profiles, and more. Fans use it daily to follow their favorite team and players—especially during a match. The app is free to users, available globally on iOS and Android, and is built on Amazon Web Services (AWS) with new feature releases designed to bolster the fan experience published frequently. One such recent addition is Bundesliga Shorts, a series of short-form videos optimized for smartphone viewing, with Amazon Personalize driving video recommendations.

“Bundesliga Shorts incentivize users to sign up for an app account, allowing us to engage, grow, and retain our audience,” said DFL AWS Solution Architect Christian Bonzelet. “Amazon Personalize is helping us take Shorts to the next level by customizing each fan experience.”

Embracing bite-sized entertainment

With the continued proliferation of short form content across digital platforms, DFL saw an opportunity to reach the next generation of Bundesliga fans with 9:16 vertical videos. DFL was the first league to produce a football match in native 9:16 due to the demand for vertical video content. Before integrating shorts into the Bundesliga App, DFL previously experimented with video using a standalone app. Supplementing broadcasts, each video provided insights around Bundesliga games, such as goal and save highlights, skills and tricks, stadium activities, and training clips, with the goal of giving fans closer proximity to their favorite clubs. On average, users watched 14 videos per app visit. The development team drew from that experience in creating the native Shorts feature.

“The objective is to offer users video content they won’t easily find elsewhere,” said Björn Rosenthal, Head of Product at DFL Digital Sports GmbH. “If it inspires repeat app visits and encourages users to spend more time with it, that is the best feedback anyone could wish for.”

Building on key learnings

After the initial Shorts rollout, DFL began leveraging Amazon Personalize recommendation engines to enhance the new feature. Now, viewers with a Bundesliga App account can intuitively access relevant content, with personalized playlists offered based on past activity and logged interests.

“Linking Shorts with user accounts lets us offer customers more curated playlists. Ultimately our goal is to combine editorial content with binge-worthy entertainment to ensure a custom experience,” noted Bonzelet.

“So far, we’ve noticed that once users see a video, they invoke about 20 other videos during the same session,” reported Rosenthal. “Since the Shorts were placed on the front page of the app, the total number of videos watched has skyrocketed and users are spending much more time in the app. Average dwell time is up to 640 seconds from around 400 seconds.”

Tailoring recommendations to the audience

Shorts is now a prominently featured category on the Bundesliga App homepage, versus the video section where it previously lived. Amazon Personalize, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to arrange content based on user preferences, powers both the iOS and Android apps.

“Football [soccer] fans are all ages, often with varying interests. Younger fans might be looking for crazy skill highlights or funny skits, while more mature audiences may gravitate toward profile pieces. With Amazon Personalize, we can easily adjust our content stream and customize Shorts for each viewer,” Bonzelet explained. “The personalization aspect has improved our KPIs. Not only has it created more incentive for fans to sign up for an account, but we also have good feedback and data points to optimize the sign up journey.”

Upon registering for an account, app users can opt to provide data that will inform the recommendation engine, such as their favorite teams. User interactions with Shorts are then combined with the feature’s metadata to suggest relevant content, so users don’t have to spend time scrolling through feeds. Instead of ranking content chronologically, the app presents content ordered by what is most likely to match the user’s interest, while blending in other content to create a diverse menu of options.

“Amazon Personalize allows our recommender system to efficiently analyze large volumes of data and train the model to offer users the most relevant Bundesliga content, increasing user engagement and retention. In the future, we aim to further enhance the accuracy of recommendations by incorporating context information (for example, the user’s country) and automatically generate video descriptions for Personalize,” concluded Bonzelet.

Find out how Bundesliga is becoming a digital-first league with AWS.

Doug Buser

Doug Buser

Doug Buser is a Senior Marketing Manager for AWS Media, Sports, and Entertainment. He works with AWS Sports customers and partners to share their data, ML/AI, IoT, and other workload journeys. Prior to joining Amazon, he led marketing and strategic communications for companies in the energy, travel, sports, and technology sectors.