Tenpin Bowling stuns with industry-first ‘double positive’ 2020 results


For the first time in Shunt’s analysis of over 30 sports and 8,000 grassroots clubs, positive social media results have been recorded not only for Facebook productivity during a highly disrupted year but also audience engagement in what is a stunning result for Tenpin Bowling centres around the country.

A five-year Shunt analysis (2015-19) of Tenpin bowling centres nationally has highlighted that the number of posts published were up 35%, while audience engagement climbed a whopping 216% as the performance of posts (an engagement to productivity ratio) also improved by a substantial 134%.

Tenpin ‘saddles-up’ to positive result

In what is one of the more interesting productivity profiles Shunt has seen to date, the Tenpin Bowling ‘saddle’ reflects a content publishing loss of -2% in 2016 then -7% (2017) before hauling itself back into positive territory for 2019 (+9%). Totalling just under 8,000 (up another 36%), the sport was on-track for further improvements in 2020.   

Defying industry trends, Tenpin Bowling centres did indeed deliver with a modest, but nonetheless positive result in 2020 as they edged over the 8,000 mark representing a 3% gain.

Considering the industry average across 8,000 clubs analysed by Shunt fell 21% with several bigger and much better resourced sports recorded losses approaching 50% this achievement is remarkable.  

Stunning industry-first engagement growth

Only one other sport at a grassroots level has recorded a positive result for productivity and went very close to achieving the double for audience engagement – Netball NSW clubs and associations.

Tenpin bowling centres though were able to go one-better, as the first sport to achieve this feat despite the indoor nature of its venues adding further complications to any lockdown restrictions and their eventual unwinding.

Part of the reason why the sport was able to achieve this feat is likely tucked away in its past with 2016 engagement levels up 40% on the previous year, then 2017 returning a 27% boost, 2018 a 23% uplift and 2019 an even better +43% result.

For 2020, the outcome was another positive, albeit small return with total reactions, comments and shares increasing from 162,560 to 165,244 – a 3.11% increase!

2020 Performance soft-landing

The real test of how healthy and robust a sports social media presence is the performance of posts published. This simple ratio that divides total engagement by the number of posts is a key indicator of how efficient and effective they are.

When engagement growth far exceeds increasing productivity levels the net result is continual improvement in Tenpin Bowling’s post performance from 2015 to ‘19.

With the average number of engagements per post increasing from 8.91 (2015) to 20.87 (2019) it suggests the sports clubland have become more and more efficient in how they manage their time on social media. Even in 2020, a smaller reduction in productivity than engagement has limited the impact Covid-19 lockdowns have had on this key metric to just -1.41%, another industry low.

A sure sign of a sport that has a handle on its social media and the delicate interplay between informing and engaging audiences.

Year of ups and downs

Tenpin Bowling has confounded the prevailing trend of how 2020 should have played-out across clubland in many ways. Case in point is the sports productivity profile.

Coming out firing in January with over 800 posts, productivity then promptly dropped in February before spiking again in March as Covid concerns took hold and the first lockdowns came into effect.

What follows is typical across the sports Shunt has analysed to date with content levels falling below 500 for April and May before recovering sharply in June as restrictions eased, particularly in New South Wales and Queensland.

With Victoria entering its second round of lockdowns early July, productivity fell again to an August low before a slow but steady improvement all the way through to the end of December.

This is an unusual outcome as most sports tapered down into Christmas with often significant reductions in both productivity and engagement.  

Mid-year magic

A recurring social media theme is that engagement typically tracks closely against productivity. As it relates to grassroots clubland at least, the golden rule is that the more you post the better the audience engagement response. Then along came Tenpin Bowling.

It’s interesting to note that the high levels of content published in January and to a lesser degree February weren’t rewarded with particularly high levels of engagement until March when audience interaction exploded – this is likely due to some extent a by-product of information and updates regarding the initial national lockdown.

From here-on engagement remains high and then explodes again in June. Once again this is likely due to the unwinding of lockdown’s.

There is then a disconnect between the number of posts Tenpin Bowling centres publish which steadily increases through to Christmas while engagement remains stubbornly flat.  

This requires further investigation as it breaks a Shunt ‘golden rule’ of social media, representing yet another unusual feature of how Tenpin Bowling interacts with audience on Facebook.

Bundy bowl in a league of its own

Closing-out 2020, Bundy Bowl was in a league of its own when it comes to audience size as the only Tenpin Bowling Centre with a fanbase in excess of 10,000!

A still impressive second, is the Bowlarama at Wetherill Park in NSW with over 8,000 followers while Wyncity Bowl in Victoria rounded-out the top three a little under this tally.  

Go Bowling hits ‘GO!’ for productivity

Publishing in excess of a post a day is quite an achievement, with the top three Tenpin Bowling Centres all from Queensland comfortably making this mark. On top, was Go Bowling in Cairns publishing 1.8 times per day followed by Mt Warren Lanes (1.6 posts per day) and Bundy Bowl (1.2 posts per day).

Orange Tenpin Bowl also achieved this feat at 1.09 posts per day in fourth while fifth-placed Planet Tenpin in the Northern Territory was just under at 0.99 posts per day.

Orange breaks-up a Queensland lockout

Mt Warren Lanes epitomises the Shunt golden rule of social media that the more content you publish the more engagement you are likely to receive. Having finished second for productivity the centre then comfortably led the way for total reactions, comments and shares on Facebook with over 18,000 last year.

Runner-up was another prolific post-er in Bundy Bowl (13,621) followed by the number four ranked for content, Orange Tenpin Bowl (12,869).

Mackay a performance leisure centre

Shunt’s performance metric is all about striking the right balance between content quality and quantity with the Mackay Leisure Centre nabbing bragging rights as the highest performing centre around the country at an average engagement per post of over 70.

Next-up, was the Manhattan Superbowl in NSW with a little over 60 average Facebook reactions, comments and shares per post (61.43) followed by a South Australian entry making a welcome appearance in the top-three with Bowland Salisbury on 47.80.  

Research notes;

93 Tenpin Bowling centres from around Australia with a Facebook page were analysed as part of this report. Results are for Facebook only. Annual data from January 2015 to December 2020 inclusive. 2020 results from January 1st to December 31st inclusive. 

Uncertain as to what 2021 has in store?
You’re not the only one! Throughout 2020, Shunt doubled-down on its work with our state and national sports clients to proactively expand their situational awareness. If you also want your ‘socials’ to deliver actionable insights that ensure you don’t just survive, but thrive then let’s chat. Get in touch at info@shunt.com.au



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here