This summer sees a packed sports calendar with the Euros in Germany and the Olympics and Paralympics in France. Adding these global events to the regular sports schedule amps up the demands on social media teams and it’s hard to imagine how they would cope without the help of automation.

For this special Conversations episode, we’re joined by Simran Cashyap, Vice President of Product at social media and email automation and optimisation specialists Echobox and Jan-Niklas Häuslein, head of social media at SPORT1, one of Germany’s leading free-to-air sports channels.

We discuss the demands of adding worldwide sporting events to already packed sports calendars, improving efficiency and productivity in a time where platforms are shifting to video content, building communities across multiple sports and leagues and of course, the role of AI in planning and testing.

Some highlights from the conversation, lightly edited for clarity:

A busy year for sport and news

Niklas: 2024 is a big sport year for all publishers in Germany, for us. The Euro in our own country is an absolute highlight for us, that I think will not be repeated again in the coming years! We had almost no break between the Bundesliga and the Champions League season and then the start of the Euros now.

For us, it’s important to cover these two events, the European Championship and the Olympics as best we can. We don’t have live rights with the games, so our topic is to cover emotions, and fans, and entertainment, and capture the emotions in various cities, and try to make a positive impact.

[Planning] was the biggest task for me in the last month. For me, it’s important to deliver the best performance on social media that we can. So we have fan reporters in all different cities, and I wrote an email to all my colleagues at Sport 1 to please send us your videos, send us your photos from the fan zones, from the stadiums, from the cities so that we can cover all these emotions on our social media accounts. For us, it is really important to celebrate that event with all other cultures from Europe and present that on our social media accounts.

Simran: It’s a really big year for sport, but it’s also a big year for news as well. There’s so many elections and all these things going on. What happens in these events is it concentrates the problems that people would have had with workflow and with managing the right volumes of content, and which content should be shared, when it should be shared, what that sharing should look like. So really, these types of events just make situations harder for everybody. And it becomes more of a challenge than it is in day to day life.

Integrating AI into planning and testing

Niklas: We have the same problems as any other publisher in the world. When Facebook said they will limit the reach of link posts, mainly that was our strategy. So we understood social media as a traffic source for our website, and then in March last year they said, oh no, that will no longer work…

Nevertheless for us, it is important that we gain traffic. It’s not as much as some years ago, but there’s still traffic. We use Echobox and AI on our Facebook sites, for example auto publishing on Facebook [pages] like [SPORT1’s] US Sports, ice hockey, darts. In times like these, when we have a big tournament like Euros 2024, we really have no time to do that on top.

We’re using a ChatGPT-like ‘Inspire Me’ function to gain our captions for Facebook. We use A/B testing to find out is version A better or is maybe version B better?

Simran: We’ve been using AI ever since Echobox was started, so over 10 years now. Unlike other approaches that are taken by other people, it’s not bolted on. It’s core to what we do.

We came to this realisation very early which is, you have to be solving a real problem. If you’re not solving a real problem, having all the AI technology in the world is going to be of no value.

That example that Niklas gave there of the ChatGPT, the way in which we do that is, we look at the type of content you’ve been sharing and say, what’s your tone of voice? How do you usually create these messages? Then we also look at things like what types of messages have performed well for your content on your pages. So we’ll tailor that for every single page to make sure it’s to your tone of voice and within the most performant way that it can.

It’s really about streamlining the workflow of publishers and making sure that we’re solving the problems that they’re facing.

Keeping up with the algorithms

Simran: We have about 50 different algorithms that are running at the same time. Each of those algorithms has a different job, so they’re really specialists in their own domain, and they’re built to work in the best way possible for that domain.

So there’ll be one algorithm which is responsible for thinking about how much content should I be sharing every day on social? Then it’s when should I share that content on social, then it’s how should I share that content, and you can keep on going all of these different layers. Each one is a specialist in its own domain.

Plus, we have a lot of data. It’s probably in the region of 250 million data points which we’re analysing. Because we have so much data across so many publishers in so many countries, we can be very sensitive to changes in the algorithm and spot these trends really early.

Using social media to build communities

Niklas: We are looking a lot at our communities and our fans, because there is nobody nearer the fans than we are on the social team. We have tens of thousands of comments every day, and we have to listen to the fans to know what they want and what they think. When we read that and hear that, we can produce new articles, new news and new videos.

That’s really important for our own platforms, and to have strong communities over the years. That’s also important for our partners, because of course we have to earn money – we all have to earn money! And if we have a good community, and a strong community, and no hate and so on, then we are interesting for those partners to spend money on our platforms. Because of that, we are living the idea of community management.


Publishers of all sizes use Echobox to automate, optimize and customize the curation and distribution of their content. Today, over 2000 publishers in 100 countries rely on Echobox’s artificial intelligence to increase performance while saving costs on social media, emails and newsletters.

You can download Echobox’s latest Publishing Trends Report 2024 here.

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