End of Year Cheer: 2023 Best Digital Marketing Examples and Trends in Sports 

We're cheering 2023’s best digital marketing examples on social. See how some top names in sports drive fan engagement, with trends to come.

2023 Best Digital Marketing Examples - End of Year Cheer graphic and Greenfly logo.

2023 has seen digital content creators and social media pros set the bar higher. We’ve scrolled through the millions of photos and videos added to Greenfly this year. And we’ve delighted in the amazing creative and authentic executions that engage fans daily. Our staff has rounded up some of 2023’s best digital marketing examples, most notable short-form digital media collaborations and show-stopping content.

For the past eight days, we’ve celebrated the greatness of some of the best teams worldwide on Greenfly’s social media channels. Below, you’ll find these selections — from personal stories to brand activations and world-class sports moments. It’s the content that stands out on social media as some of 2023’s best digital marketing examples and initiatives.

From these experts, you’ll also learn some secrets to creating memorable connections with fans and audiences everywhere. Plus, get their thoughts on digital and social media trends that will impact the industry in the year ahead. These range from exploring untapped content categories and prioritizing authentic video to understanding how AI and Gen Alpha will exert their influence. 

We love how digital marketing teams worldwide use short-form digital media and Greenfly to fuel storytelling, fandom and growth. This powerful combination elevates entire organizational ecosystems. Organizations excel when they optimize content collection, curation and distribution among athletes, partners, fans, staff and other key advocates. 

Explore our End-of-Year Cheer galleries of 2023’s best digital marketing examples below for thought-starters as you plan for 2024. We hope they help guide your content strategies to create your own best digital marketing examples and campaigns. 

And follow Greenfly on LinkedIn or your favorite social channel. Get 2023’s best digital marketing examples and more short-form media insights for the year ahead! 

2023 Best Digital Marketing Examples

2023 Best Digital Marketing Examples Poster - Day 1 FIBA image in phone on gold background
Click the Poster Above To Play the Video for Day 1

Day 1: FIBA 

What we’re cheering: Shared media brings your content gold to new audiences.

Day 1 of Cheer brought pure gold (medal) from FIBA 3×3. Hailey Van Lith winning gold on USA Basketball Women’s 3×3 World Cup team shows that simple media sharing to players can spread content riches widely with minimal effort.

This standout Instagram carousel highlights the athlete’s emotion and celebration with teammates in the moment. It’s always a winning move to amplify content to audiences beyond your owned channels through your most powerful voices.

What they’re saying:

“The World Cup is one of the best moments for us in the year as this allows us to reach new audiences due to the number of teams and players that are competing for 1 week. Being able to activate players with great following like Hailey Van Lith shows that no matter how big their accounts are, players want content to celebrate their wins and tell their stories to their audience, amplifying our work and reaching demographics and people that might not follow us.  

Players do want content to share, no matter the size of their accounts. Usually, we see the big athletes with huge following as “unreachable”. But this proves it wrong. Share content with everyone, talk to them, listen to their needs and adapt your strategy to fit their requirements, as they are our first influencers.

I think 2024 will be the consolidation year for AR /AI when creating content and automatization of some processes and more mainstream leagues will start exploring how to engage with Gen Alpha. Players will continue to be faces of the leagues / teams as they reach audiences in a more organic way, being closer to the public and transmitting the messages with their own tone of voice.” — Esteban Gonzalez, Social Media & Digital Content Manager, FIBA 3×3

Holiday2023 Best Digital Marketing Examples Poster - Day 2 Savannah Bananas image in phone on gold background.
Click the Poster Above To Play the Video for Day 2

Day 2: Savannah Bananas 

What we’re cheering: Gameday video content with athletes made for specific social platforms delights global fanbases there.

On Day 2 of Cheer we asked, what better way to kick off the Savannah Bananas 2023 world tour schedule than with an in-game dance routine — by the players? The club’s season started right after the Super Bowl. So the baseball players paid tribute to Rhianna’s show-stopping Halftime performance with their own timely choreographed dance to her music on the field. 

We love how the beloved Bananas have taken fan-first content to new levels, with a steady stream of on-brand, player-focused videos to delight their global fan community. All on the social platform they’ve taken by storm: TikTok. The club knows what sharable content followers want to see on the Bananas’ TikTok channel and delivers it consistently to great effect. This post alone has garnered over 2 million views.

What they’re saying:

“We all watched the Super Bowl as a huge group at a restaurant in Savannah. Watching Rhianna’s Halftime performance live together, everyone was freaking out and knew we HAD to do it in a game.

We’re always looking at ways to “Banana-fy” trends and pop culture. We know that in-game content performs best for us, and we decided that a run scoring celebration would be the best way to Banana-fy this dance that was everywhere online.

[And] we’re always excited for the dance trends, obviously! What’s Banana Ball without dancing?! Get Ready With Me videos were huge in 2023 and created a new, untapped category of content due to the rise of Alix Earle. Very curious to see what new creators pop up and how they change the space for trends and what people are talking about. AI may also end up playing a huge role in the digital space this year. It will be interesting to see how sports teams use this and “Banana-fy” it in their own way.” — Savanah Alaniz, Marketing Coordinator, Savannah Bananas

Holiday2023 Best Digital Marketing Examples Poster - Day 3 UCF Image in phone on gold background
Click the Poster Above To Play the Video for Day 3

Day 3: University of Central Florida 

What we’re cheering: User-generated content drives engagement for other supporters. 

Ringing in Day 3 of Cheer, we loved to see how organizations tap into original content from their most ardent evangelists to engage other supporters.

The UCF Alumni Association at the University of Central Florida (UCF) asks school alumni ambassadors to submit their original photos and videos capturing their POV at events, using Greenfly +Engage. In this fun example, it’s from a recent UCF Football game day, showcasing happy fans cheering on their Knights. 

Nothing beats fan-to-fan content for showing the excitement and energy of an event and demonstrating shared loyalty to an institution they love.

What they’re saying:

“The impact I have loved seeing is how everyone comes together to submit their content for big moments and events at our university. Our ambassadors are eager to post bragging points about their school. Their passion for UCF is heartwarming.

Getting creative with +Engage campaigns I really want to focus in on. Great content is always out there for us to have access to for us to be able to create something special. I am excited about utilizing Greenfly to create more alumni-specific spotlight videos.” — Brandon Aliberti, Social Media Manager, UCF Alumni Association

Holiday2023 Best Digital Marketing Examples Poster - Day 4 US Soccer USWNT Image in phone on gold background.
Click the Poster Above To Play the Video for Day 4

Day 4: U.S. Soccer Federation / USWNT

What we’re cheering: Treasured moments shared as an ongoing media service build bonds with athletes and fans.

On Day 4 of Cheer, we cheered the U.S. Soccer Federation and U.S. Women’s National Team soccer player Lindsey Horan’s recent engaging Instagram carousel for her followers. It celebrates a series of special moments captured with her family, friends and fans at the U.S. v. Colombia match.

At Greenfly, we hear countless anecdotes of athletes and other advocates who are thrilled to discover photos and videos of themselves from their events and activities. They’re finding these treasured moments in the curated media asset galleries immediately accessible on their mobile phones. They love to share this personalized content with their fans, followers and loved ones. So be like U.S. Soccer and keep a firehose of media flowing as an ongoing service to your VIPs!

What they’re saying:

“Empowering our athletes to tell their own stories and share personal content is a key organizational focus for us. We recognize that fans connect more deeply with that content coming directly from the athletes, and Greenfly plays a pivotal role in facilitating that connection.” — Nick Burton, Director, Content Distribution and New Media, U.S. Soccer Federation

Holiday2023 Best Digital Marketing Examples Poster - Day 5 Halifax Wanderers image in phone on gold background.
Click the Poster Above To Play the Video for Day 5

Day 5: Halifax Wanderers FC

What we’re cheering: Collecting original athlete content outside of game day and season play resonates all year round.

Day 5 of Cheer found us cheering on how Canadian Premier League soccer club Halifax Wanderers FC maintains fan engagement beyond game day and season play. For example, this photo and video carousel highlights players’ training camp activities in Florida. The club got a ton of fun content back from players during that time, including shoutouts to fans. Oh, and their encounter with a local resident shown here.

Collecting original player content during training, events and daily life brings their fresh perspectives. And their activity expands your content sources and sustains and deepens fan engagement. They’re your best storytellers. So tap into their stories and creativity throughout the year!

What they’re saying:

“Each day of our training camp, we selected a group of players to send back photos and videos from Florida to our team in Halifax to share on social media. It was an incredible surprise to see that our team not only came across an alligator but captured the moment for our fans to see!

This was a great example of what amazing storytellers our players can be to help connect our fans to the team by sharing their first-hand experiences.” — Ryan Brandt, Manager, Communications and Content, Halifax Wanderers FC

2023 Best Digital Marketing Examples Poster - Day 6 US Equestrian image in phone on gold background.
Click the Poster Above To Play the Video for Day 6

Day 6: U.S. Equestrian Federation

What we’re cheering: Behind-the-scenes “all access” content brings fans closer to your athletes and sport. 

On Day 6 of Cheer, we loved how the national governing body U.S. Equestrian creates targeted and personalized content requests to collect behind-the-scenes, pre-event content from its riders. Like this video peek, which shows how Elsa Warble prepared with her horse Axel for the USEF Young Rider Championships at Galway Downs. 

First-person mobile content from riders in the run-up to an event helps grow the organization’s brand. It also grows the athlete’s personal brand. And it exposes casual fans to the preparation and hard work that goes into the sport. They love content capturing different angles and moments with athletes rarely seen. Making it easy for athletes and staff to create and share this digital media elevates the experience for all!

What they’re saying:

“Greenfly has proven very popular with the majority of the athletes we onboarded onto the app in our first year. From their side of things, the ease of access to high-quality competition photos has improved the quality (and often the quantity) of content that they’re pushing out on their personal platforms. 

From our governing body perspective, we’ve noticed athletes on the app are far more responsive to content requests that we send them than they may have been when we used to work with our athletes through WhatsApp or text requests, which has upped our athlete-led content and allowed us to use our athletes to meet sponsorship activations. Tying both together, I also believe that Greenfly has helped build better relationships with many of our athletes as they get used to interacting with US Equestrian communications and social staff.

More and more, it seems like platform algorithms are favoring organic, simplistic, authentic content over heavily produced video. I think we view this as nothing but a positive for our numbers with the sheer amount of athletes in equestrian sport that we have to work with. Greenfly certainly helps us meet this trend head-on.” — Matt Turer, Director of Social Media and Sports Communications, US Equestrian Federation

Holiday2023 Best Digital Marketing Examples Poster - Day 7 Peloton image in phone on gold background.
Click the Poster Above To Play the Video for Day 7

Day 7: Peloton

What we’re cheering: Tapping into your best promoters — your advocates — expands your campaigns and partnerships.

On Day 7 of Cheer, we saluted the team at Peloton and the way they integrate their instructors into promotional campaigns. This includes the brand’s “My Member Moment” video series in support of Peloton on Tour. This initiative brought the virtual Peloton experience live to five cities in three countries this year. The Peloton team shot video testimonials with the instructors who were attending events in each respective tour city.

They sent personalized share requests through Greenfly to encourage them to amplify the clips on their social media accounts. These videos featured touching and fun anecdotes about meeting members. They served to further engage the global Peloton community and drive event attendance for existing members — and potential new ones, too.

This campaign is a great reminder that instructors and athletes are not only great advocates for sharing your brand stories. They’re also your best voices and promoters for events, campaigns and partnerships to drive awareness, connection and activation within your brand community. 

What they’re saying:

“We used these videos as part of our Peloton On Tour campaign, and it was great to see meaningful stories from around the world highlighted on social. The personal connection between members and instructors is an invaluable part of the Peloton experience, and it was especially heartwarming to hear those stories in the instructors’ voices.

Big or small, member stories matter. These videos really resonated with members, so I think our team would be smart to find more opportunities to use instructor voices to amplify how members are feeling.

Our team is excited to tap into the well of talent that exists in the fitness space, specifically with our newest partners like the NBA and college football. Any opportunity to use social as a tool to engage more authentically with members is one we welcome.”

Holiday2023 Best Digital Marketing Examples Poster - Day 8 NWSL image in phone on gold background.
Click the Poster Above To Play the Video for Day 8

Day 8: NWSL

What we’re cheering: All boats rise when you collaborate with your athletes on content. 

On Day 8, our last day of Cheer, we closed out one celebration by recognizing the culmination of two more.

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) recently shared media with soccer star Ali Krieger and also collaborated with her on Instagram to share even more media. The setting? The moment that marked both a triumphant NWSL Championship win for Krieger and her teammates this season AND her retirement from a historic career in the sport. What a day!

We love when sports organizations join forces with their athletes to highlight and amplify their personal stories on social platforms. That’s true whether it’s sharing personalized media through curated galleries or collaborating to enhance content creative or expand content reach. Working together as true content partners is always a win for all: sports properties, players, partners and fans. 

What they’re saying:

“What I love about this program is that we were able to provide our players with immediate access to high quality content befit for this Championship moment. It was particularly rewarding seeing Ali Krieger be able to share and celebrate the incredible end to her historic career. NWSL players have amazing stories on and off the field and being able to support their ability to own and tell those stories is what this program is all about.

Our goal is to equip our players with the content they need to engage their fans and reach new ones on social media. The global soccer audience is undeniably massive, and we want to ensure our players are empowered to share their soccer stories and showcase their elite talent. 

I’m looking forward to continuing to lean into and prioritize short-form video. We want to use TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts to showcase the quality of soccer being played week in and week out and tell the stories of our League, Clubs, and Players.” – Jordan Dolbin, Head of Social & Influencer Marketing, NWSL

Ideas Beyond These 2023 Best Digital Marketing Examples

Glean from these 2023 best digital marketing examples to create your own stellar campaigns for the coming year. If you need even more fresh content ideas, let us know. Our Greenfly team can help!

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