BY JACQUELINE QUANTRELL
Sports bring audiences, provide built-in narrative arcs and drama, are aspirational, and are driven by athletes who consumers can root for and buy into.
For that reason, there are a million different ways for brands and their advertising buyers to be a part of the sports conversation. Leveraging sports moments is an excellent way to connect with consumers, especially if your execution is creative and authentic.
AUTOMATE TO MAKE THE MOST OF SPORTS
Digital is increasingly a key way sports audiences tune in, keep up, and engage with their teams and there is a wide ar – ray of sports content that can provide diverse entry points for brands. Sports are also a rich opportunity for diverse formats and experiences, including video and mobile gaming.
With automation and programmatic, brands across the spectrum of industries can assemble their own custom channels for sports-related advertising, and have the flexibility to learn and optimize on the spot. There’s no better way to hone your sports marketing practice than to use automation to find opportunities, make deals, execute effective campaigns that align you with consumers, and learn from those campaigns.
Digital also provides marketers with the opportunity to think about sports with a global lens. The opportunities to use sports as a gateway to consumer hearts, minds and attention the world over is possible if advertisers are sure to include global sports content in their consideration set.
SPORTS BUYING INSIGHTS
Rubicon Project surveyed buyers to understand how they’re approaching the sports opportunity. Here’s what we learned.
BUYER TASTES ALIGN WITH FAN HABITS
Of the buyers that purchased against sports inventory, NFL (68%), MLB (50%), and NBA (47%) content were the highest ranked subverticals. NCAA basketball (34%) and football (32%) rounded out the top 5.
BUYERS ARE MOST LIKELY TO TURN TO SPORTS WHEN BRANDING WAS THE GOAL
A majority of brand buyers 62% advertised in sports verticals, versus 48% of buyers whose goal was direct response and 40% of lead gen buyers.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR BUYERS LOOKING TO LEVERAGE SPORTS FOR THEIR BRANDS? ACCESS AND A COHESIVE STRATEGY
33% of buyers said the lack of a cohesive sports buying strategy on their part was the biggest challenge to approaching the sports vertical. A little over a quarter – 28% – said the challenge was that sports inventory is typically pre-reserved, and can be prohibitively expensive to access.
SPORTS BUYERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO USE INNOVATIVE DIGITAL FORMATS THAN NON-BUYERS
Sports buyers are 54% more likely to use outstream video, 43% more likely to buy mobile rising stars, 38% more likely to buy desktop rising stars, and 14% more likely to buy mobile video than non-sports buyers.
SPORTS BUYERS LOVE MOBILE DATA
While sports buyers’ data buying pro – file was almost identical to non-sports buyers in terms of using publisher data and CRM data, they were 3x more likely than non-sports buyers to use SMS data and more than 5x more like – ly to use mobile beacon data.
Buyers cited brand safety, alignment with target markets, and access to cord cutters who are likely to continue to access sports content via the internet.
*“The content is brand safe, and many of our clients have sports sponsorships.” – JACK GAZDIK, MARKETING PROFESSIONAL, BROKAW INC. *
“Golf has an upscale audience that meshes with my client’s audience goals.” – MARKETING PROFESSIONAL, MEDIUM ENTERPRISE COMPUTER SERVICES COMPANY
“Sports reaches a massive audience, and the first who can tap into advertising sports to cord cutters on OTT will [ have a] huge [advantage], and [will be] where we will want to test.” – MARKETING PROFESSIONAL, MEDIUM ENTERPRISE MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY
To learn more about how to access and test sports content, visit sports.rubiconproject.com