Sports-Related Ads Scored 51% Jump in Engagement Before Olympics

Originally featured in Mobile Marketer

perk mobile marketerThe lead-up to the Rio Olympics provided an optimal opportunity for marketers in sports-related fields to target viewers with relevant mobile content, as evidenced by the 51 percent uptick in engagement for ads delivered into sports-related game application categories on iOS devices.

Mobile advertising platform Leadbolt measured ad engagement performance in several territories during the week prior to the Rio Olympics kickoff. The company uncovered a correlation between the increase in sports gaming app usage and the Games’ timing, as well as higher ad engagement within those environments.

“We know that a cross-channel content strategy is essential, as audiences often simultaneously use mobile devices while watching a special event on TV or the Web,” said Dale Carr, founder and CEO of Leadbolt. “This is especially true for events like the Super Bowl, and the Olympics, when viewers are using their mobile devices to find scores and stats, watch replays, share and comment with friends across social apps, and even play games during downtime.

“These major events drive higher levels of mobile engagement and represent a big opportunity for advertisers.”

The Olympic influence
Leadbolt’s findings during the lead-up to the Olympic Games suggest that second-screen engagement should be a top priority for brands in industries that are directly affected by major events.

In the United States market, engagement for ads within the sports-related gaming app category jumped by 60 percent and 51 percent for Android and iOS platforms, respectively.

In European markets – which Leadbolt defines as Britain, Germany and Italy – ad engagement for this app category saw an average uptick of 50.5 percent for both iOS and Android platforms.

Asia-Pacific regions saw ad engagement jump by an average of 32 percent, with Latin-American markets seeing an engagement increase of approximately 21 percent for ads delivered into sports-themed gaming apps.

Timing and relevance
These results indicate that consumers are more willing to interact with ads that are seemingly related to an upcoming major event, such as the Olympic Games or the Super Bowl. Sports marketers in particular should ensure they roll out additional ad units before and during these events to maximize consumer outreach and interaction levels.

Big-box retailers or national chains can also boost excitement by introducing social media contests or relevant content to their audiences.

For example, Dick’s Sporting Goods was just one of the retailers leveraging the anticipation surrounding the upcoming Olympics, opting to roll out a mobile-optimized microsite where fans could browse Team USA members’ profiles, receive updates on favorite athletes and track donation amounts to youth sports organizations (see story).

Additionally, brands can complement their mobile advertising strategies by creating engaging second-screen content with which individuals can entertain themselves during commercial breaks.

This past spring, Clorox came back for a second run with its Bachelorette-themed mobile matchmaking game within entertainment application Viggle, suggesting that second-screen engagement strategies paired with rewards work well for consumer packaged goods brands (see story).

Meanwhile, E! News is building upon its recent advancements in mobile-first content with a new live streaming slate set to showcase original series on its Facebook Live platform, capitalizing on consumers’ growing proclivity toward second-screen engagement (see story).

“Relevance plays a critical role in connecting with your desired audience,” Mr. Carr said. “Achieving relevance requires a mix of compelling creative as well as the right targeting strategies to reach and captivate them.

“Don’t be shy, ask your ad network partner for help, that’s what we are here for.”