Dev Talks: Sofascore’s CPO Marijan Živić on Sports App Success

Want to hear the formula for succeeding in the sports app market? Marijan Živić, CPO at Sofascore, a leading sports app, is here to reveal the winning strategy.

We met with Marijan Živić, Chief Product Officer at Sofascore, who is in charge of driving the product strategy and development for one of the world’s biggest sports apps. 

First things first, could you give our readers a quick introduction to Sofascore as a sports data company?

Sofascore is a sports data company based in Zagreb, Croatia. Our story started in 2010 and since then we have become one of the most popular live score apps in the world. 

We have more than 25 million monthly active users and provide advanced tracking of as many as 11,000 tournaments in 24 sports and in over 40 languages. We currently have more than 200 employees, primarily in Croatia with remote teams in Argentina, Brazil, and Malaysia. 

sofascore app

The Sofascore app recently reached a 50 million downloads milestone on Google Play, congrats! Could you walk us through the app’s key features and the unique value it brings to sports enthusiasts?

Thank you! We’re thrilled to be at the top of the existing 2.7 million applications on the Google Play Store. 

The key milestone that established our analytical direction was the introduction of Sofascore statistical ratings in 2015. Sofascore ratings are generated by a sophisticated algorithm that translates hundreds of stats into one live number which summarizes a player’s performance. So far, our algorithm has rated almost 3 million players in over 111,000 matches. 

There is also a sister app integrated into the whole Sofascore ecosystem, called Sofascore Editor. This app allows sports enthusiasts and organizations to enter and organize results and statistics for lower and amateur league competitions in the most popular sports. Along with other distinguishing features, we also have a Historical data option that gives die-hard football fans an insight into all football World Cups, teams, and players from 1966 to the present day.

Our passion for turning numbers into insights resulted in more unique features such as Attack Momentum, Attribute Overview, Sofascore heatmap, Shotmap, and others. 

These innovations, along with the huge width and depth of our coverage, are key factors that helped us become the highest-rated sports app in the market. 

The app has been on the market since 2011. Over the years, what changes and updates have you introduced to it in order to meet the needs of modern sports fans and enhance their experience?

In the beginning, our app was very simple. But at that time, it was only important to have a result and to present that result in a reasonable amount of time. Over the years, the app has developed in line with user expectations. 

Today passionate sports fans demand instant data, and by curating thousands of stats data into simple-to-read graphics, stats, and features, Sofascore gives you the deepest, most detailed, and most reliable insights in a second. 

Created by our endless drive for sports and technology, it is the most logical tool for following your passion in 2023 and beyond.

sofascore app stores

Your app stands out with superb app store ratings, with a 4.7 rating on Google Play and 4.9 on the App Store, making it the highest-rated live score app in the market. What factors do you attribute to such positive user feedback?

Our goal from the start was to create the fastest and most reliable live score product. Through time this goal hasn’t changed, but our drive has spilled over into much more than that. 

We believe that the key factors that set us apart from the rest are our unique detailed graphics and passionate community

At Sofascore, innovation is the key. We tend to build features that will boost our users’ passion and give them all the information they require in the simplest possible way.

Our strategies differ in every market. Prior to entering a new market, our team conducts extensive market and user research, along with competitor analysis. We always strive to understand each market’s cultural dynamics and sports fans’ demands. 

Another thing we do is build communities to earn fan trust and hear their feedback. We then continuously analyze that feedback and use it to improve our product and of course – keep the users’ trust. 

Our app is used in every country on the planet, but our approaches vary by market. For example, Brazil has a culture of deep passion for football, while India is naturally more focused on cricket. 

On the other hand, Africa poses infrastructure challenges. To get stats quickly and easily without a lot of data, we need to rely on local servers. Design is also a component that differs from market to market, particularly in Asia, where it’s imperative to adapt to cultural preferences. 

However, some things like our innovative features are present in every market because we want all our users to experience a unique sports presentation that can’t be found anywhere else. 

In a highly competitive sports app market, how does Sofascore attract and engage new users? Can you provide examples of successful user acquisition campaigns or strategies that have been particularly successful for Sofascore?

Naturally, major sports events have a significant impact on the volume of traffic to our app and website. In the same manner, our largest campaigns take place during the world’s biggest sports tournaments

For example, our biggest campaign last year took place during the World Cup, alongside our regular, ever-running campaigns in key global markets. This strategy has proven to be very successful for us. 

In addition to paid user acquisition, you place great importance on organic growth via app store optimization (ASO). How important is ASO for your marketing strategy, and can you share some best practices that help you stay on top of search results in app stores?

App store optimization (ASO) is definitely an essential part of our acquisition strategy. Given that the Sofascore app is available in over 40 languages, we strive to optimize for most of these languages in both the App Store and the Google Play Store.

Generally, our approach revolves around sporting events taking place throughout the year. For example, we try to keep relevant information, such as screenshots and keywords, up to date for each competition in order to provide the best user experience possible. 

luka modric collaboration

When someone opens the Sofascore app store listing, they are welcomed by a familiar face – Luka Modrić. How does cooperating with this renowned football player impact the visibility and growth of Sofascore?

We wanted to show that even small countries like Croatia can achieve great success. Sofascore shares the same love and passion for sports with Luka Modrić.

But, it’s more than just a passion for football. 

Our app analyzes hundreds of statistical data and turns them into important insights for users, mirroring Luka’s speed and precision in analyzing complex situations on the field and placing his legendary assists and kicks. 

Finding someone with the same level of professionalism, perseverance, and desire for improvement is not an easy task. That’s why we’re such a good fit – we complement each other as experts in our fields, and our collaboration represents a unique unity of the domestic football scene as well as the best promotion of our country, Croatia. 

Your app’s main revenue source is in-app advertising. However, unlike most ad-supported apps, it doesn’t have a flood of negative app store reviews from users complaining about ads. How do you balance ad monetization to maintain a non-intrusive user experience and keep users happy?

Our primary goal is to maintain a positive user experience and usability of the app. 

In terms of ad monetization, we continuously test things like new ad placements and banner dimensions. The user feedback we receive from these tests is very important to us. We take it seriously, analyze it, and act accordingly to create the best possible experience for both users and advertisers.

Looking ahead, what are the company’s plans or areas of focus to maintain its position as a leading sports app in the market?

We continuously work on developing our product and improving its design and user experience. Of course, we also keep a close eye on market trends and the potential use of new technologies and software solutions such as big data, artificial intelligence, and crowdsourcing.

One of our primary areas of focus is expanding the list of sports covered within our app. We are also committed to tracking a wide range of leagues with detailed stats and our Sofascore rating, with a special focus on lower and youth leagues which are rarely covered. 

Big plans are in the works for our second product, Sofascore Editor, an app for registering amateur matches, leagues, and players by members of sports associations. The team is well on its way to creating a global product, leveraging the power of crowdsourcing for the benefit of amateur and minor league sports.

Also, one of our key focuses, which we are actively working on, is gamification. In order to help our users get the most out of our app and boost user engagement, we are working on creating even more personalized content. 

We are constantly hiring and expanding our employee base, with big plans to strengthen our position in the markets where we are already present and to expand into new markets.

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