Reaching fans, in real-time, at the perfect time – getting your sports marketing right

With the mega-event known as Super Bowl LI less than a month away, we thought we’d take a look at some of the ways advertisers can capitalize on live sporting events to capture viewers’ attention and create brand engagement. Some of live TV’s most emotive moments come from seeing the perfect play executed, or watching (jaw on the floor) as your team scores in the dying seconds to emerge triumphant. Sport is full of these highs and lows. And, if you’re an advertiser, these are exactly the kind of rushes of euphoria that brands can make the most of. Or rushes of despair, if you sell pizza and ice-cream.  😛

Putting the fans front and center 


All good marketers know that placing your customer at the core of your branding efforts is key. They’re who you want to engage, so you better keep them in mind – and the kind of experience they’re looking for – when building marketing around a sporting event. And viewers are primed for interaction. A recent study conducted by Momentum Worldwide revealed that 86% of sports fans would welcome more sponsorship and marketing centred around their favourite sporting events. However, only 17% of fans feel that brands associated with teams and events actually care about them. This obviously presents a problem for brands trying to reach out – but there are ways to fix this. Marketers should, for one thing, leverage social as best as they can. Enhancing the fans’ overall experience of an event is crucial, and social channels play an important role in this. 58% feel that sharing content and updates makes the whole event more enjoyable, with half loving the content that other fans produce. Brands can create forums to facilitate this, presenting a big opportunity to engage. Fans also love rituals and traditions – 63% cited this as important. Spotting this is something Gatorade played to perfection with their ‘Gatorade Shower’ app. And don’t forget about partying! Hosting viewing parties is a major source of enjoyment for sports fans and something brands can leverage to everybody’s benefit.

TV or not TV? That is the question 


Big live games mean big ratings, something large advertisers are all too aware of. Take the Super Bowl for example. This year a 30-second slot during the game is going to cost a whopping $5 million. It is the single biggest one-off sporting event in the world and the numbers show it – every year they go up. But what if you don’t have that kind of budget, or you do (kudos to you) and you want to supplement your TV spend with some other effective methods of engagement? Below are three ideas on how to tap into the power of live sport without having to rob a bank first.

Hijack the big day out (with real-time viewing data)

‘Conquesting’ & ‘brand piggy-backing’ are two great ways of leveraging the exposure that either a competitor or complementary brand/product gets when they advertise on something as large as the Super Bowl for example (or smaller events too). The basic idea is to sync your own digital advertising with their TV exposure to gain optimal traction with your (shared) target audience. Mercedes showing their TV spot during the main event? Well, if you’ve a car dealership it could make total sense to run digital ads at the same time. This, coupled with the availability of real-time viewing data (i.e. knowing exactly who’s watching said sporting event and how to reach them), means targeting your ads at just the right time is well within any brand’s reach. Sync it to a tent-pole advertising campaign, and surf on the wave of interest that follows.

Buyers ahoy!

‘Telescoping’ (sorry about the pirate reference, hard to resist) can be a super way of building on your TV efforts and further developing the story your marketing is trying to tell about your brand. Essentially this involves an interactive prompt popping up as an overlay on your TV ad. It allows viewers to click on the overlay and view (for instance) a longer, more in-depth version of your ad or description of your product, or click to buy. This can allow you to position shorter commercials around expensive sporting event time-slots, while offering your viewers the opportunity to engage further (at less expense to you). In essence, your TV spend goes further and your story deeper.

Magic moments

What better way to make someone feel great about your brand than getting right in front of them immediately after their team has scored! A combination of audience building (both historical and real-time), live event tracking and digital ads syncing can mean that anytime a fan’s emotions are running wild, you can be there (either to celebrate with them or pick up the pieces – I refer you to my pizza and ice-cream comment above).

Winning the game 

Team celebrating

Live events are a sure-fire way of reaching out to and engaging with fans at the perfect time. Whether you want to capitalize on feel-good moments to help create a positive association with your brand, or you’d like to run concurrent call-to-action ad campaigns to generate leads and sales, there are many ways to use the power of sport to your advantage. So why wait? As the mighty swoosh would say: Just Do It.

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5 most interesting things in ad land right now

We’re back with another round-up of news from the wonderful, mad world of ad-land and all things digital and TV-related. Here’s what caught our attention this week.

MarketingTech’s 12 top 2017 predictions from martech experts

Marketing Tech News got 12 martech authorities to gaze into their crystal balls and make their predictions for how the area will change 2017 and what marketers should look out for.

‘Storm of lies’: The state of fake news in Europe 

The problem of fake news has become very prominent recently, and one dangerous way it manifests is in sites that can promote hate. But, as Digiday outlines, some advertisers are taking a stand against them. Check out the article to find out more.

Next year’s 10 most important new TV shows

Media Life Magazine outline what they think are the 10 new TV shows likely to become the hits of 2017. Media planners take note.

65% Of Connected Device Owners Open To IoT Advertising 

Connected devices already play a big part in our lives and with that influence likely to grow further, marketers are looking for ways to leverage it. And, maybe surprisingly enough to some, consumers seem pretty receptive to this.

Digital or TV? The false dichotomy in advertising 

We’ve already written a piece that touches on this theme (check it out here), but the folks at Marketing Land have also had their say on why digital and TV both need to be part of an advertiser’s plans.

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TV ads on the way out? Not quite…

Everybody’s favourite habit of late is bashing poor old TV and its place in any marketing mix. A common theme among posts related to media and advertising is the inevitable rise of digital ad-spend – how it will soon overtake spending on TV and how this heralds the end for TV advertising. Money goes where eyeballs are, after all. Some commentators have weighed in on why TV is suffering. But on closer inspection, not everything stands up to scrutiny. Check the points below, and why we think they’re not the insurmountable issues some people think they are. If anything, within each lies an opportunity for TV advertising to take its next steps forward.

Second-screen distractions

TV and mobile phone

Mobile devices, as anyone not living under a rock for the past 10 years can tell you, have exploded (that’s not a dig at Samsung). They’re everywhere, and with us practically 100% of the time. We’re always using them and, especially during TV ad-breaks. The point here is that they can act as a distraction while TV ads desperately call out for our attention, thereby rendering the TV spots ineffective.

But…is this truly the case? In a mobile world, do TV ads have a place? Absolutely! We know this because we’ve built a business around it. (Warning: shameless plug approaching!)

Our own experiences running digital campaigns that are complementary to our clients’ TV ad campaigns consistently show us that, rather than digital working against TV, the two are able to work perfectly in unison to produce results and engagement that neither one can do alone.

We’ve seen double the uplift in engagement when TV and digital campaigns run in this kind of symbiotic way. The results speak for themselves and are always far better-performing than when either medium is used in isolation. TV ads still can play a huge part in the cross-device conversation, particularly the kind of ‘call-to-action’ television that benefits from simultaneous PPC campaigns. For e-commerce of all kinds (think retail, travel, apps, online entertainment etc.) this double-act can be a godsend.

ROI of TV ads – impossible to calculate?


Traditionally, TV ad ROI has been a difficult fish to catch, and this is essentially down to a historical inability to record accurate, granular viewing data. To put it simply, ascertaining who exactly saw your TV spot and how it influenced their subsequent behaviour (and whether or not they became a paying customer) was kind of a frustrating guessing game. But with the advent of more sophisticated approaches to TV content recognition, as well as purchase attribution, this is no longer the case. One of our own key offerings is the ability to accurately measure the actual influence your TV or digital campaigns have on a purchase decision, and is something that shows that TV is as relevant to the buying journey as it ever was. The argument that TV lacks accountability is, simply put, obsolete.

OTT content competing for eyeballs 

Video subscription button

Thank the stars for Netflix! Personally, we’d be lost (and extremely bored) without it and a world of other OTT content to fill our evenings. But how badly is this hurting TV ads? Does the rise of OTT spell the end for TV advertising? Well…not exactly. Plenty of other big players (think AT&T and their DirecTV Now service) are entering the on-demand streaming game too, and have touted the long-term value of TV advertising as being key to their investments – addressable ads in particular. Being able to target viewers to the level of detail that addressable ads can (via the mountains of data facilitating them) definitely stands to be a watershed in TV advertising. Crucially, it also means that shows with smaller audiences and ratings can still be of great value, if the right ads can still be show to the right person at the right time. This means producers and broadcasters can squeeze more value out of all of their content inventory, and keep TV relevant to advertisers.

Not quite time for a eulogy yet…

Zombie hand

Let’s be clear about something. Ratings for the major networks haven’t been great in the past couple of years in terms of growth. There is definite competition, in particular, from OTT services. But this doesn’t mean the end for TV – far from it. What we’re witnessing now is not so much the devolution of TV and its place in the advertising spectrum, but an evolution. As viewers migrate to OTT models and away (in part) from linear TV, advertising spend will adapt to this. It would, however, be a mistake to assume that digital is going to swallow TV advertising whole. The two are not engaged in the zero-sum battle that passing observers might claim, but stand to be a great double-act in turning viewers into buyers. As its evolution develops, TV will continue to offer a bridge between an advertiser and a valuable customer. As long as this is the case, it will have a place in any smart media buyer’s plans.

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