4 Digital Ad Lessons Learned From An Incredible Summer of Sport

 4 min read


Summer 2019 bore witness to some of the globe’s most exciting sporting events.

From Andy Ruiz Jr. shocking the boxing world by defeating Anthony Joshua, to the FIFA Women’s World Cup crushing social stereotypes and thrilling its worldwide audiences with every game.

It’s been an incredible summer for sports, and as we now head toward the winter months, there are plenty of lessons that advertisers can learn from the back of it.

The sports industry pulls in global audiences on a daily basis, and traffic levels can skyrocket around these behemoth occasions – a potential goldmine for both advertisers and publishers to tap into.

But with many brands competing for the attention of fans, the key for any digital advertiser is to focus on the details, while using the correct tools to make sure ads are scoring high for consumer engagement and ultimately, conversions.

Here at Adcash, we have over 300 exclusive sport supply sources, with an average conversion rate of 2.38%.

1. Targeting user interests is key

Typically, a sporting fan’s connection with a particular sport extends beyond any individual match, and targeting people with content based on a specific sporting interest is a sure-fire way to optimize ad performance around a contest.

Serving ads relevant to both their interests as well as the sporting events they are watching can increase the likelihood of conversion by as much as 5 to 7 times.

Advertisers use more specific sports-related messaging when promoting their products around particular matches or events.

However, to truly succeed, advertisers also need to ensure that they are providing unique and relevant ad content to complement their experience.

For example, promoting tennis-related content to a watching UK audience around this summer’s Wimbledon tournament would have ensured brands were well-positioned in front of the right audience.

Quick Tip: When using our user targeting system, simply select all supply sources and make sure to use the ‘spread’ option on cappings to avoid spending your budget too quickly. If you target ‘sport’ as a site category then leave the spread option unticked to get the best results!

2. Use ad formats tactically

Modern sporting events are watched by fans and viewers on a range of streaming websites often accessed through a desktop.

This growing trend in sports streaming has enabled advertisers to combine various ad formats and ensure maximum reach at all stages of an event.

All of our ad formats deliver great results here.

However, one particularly innovative format we’ve seen increase its presence during sporting events is push notifications.

This ad type is particularly effective for reaching the target audience instantly and directly with key alerts or call to action messages at crucial times before or during a sporting event.

By striking the right balance between direct and subtle ad formats, advertisers can ensure they are delivering the right content to an ideal audience, and make way for a more successful campaign.

3. Understand your crowd

Location plays a crucial role in making sure digital ads are hitting the mark around sporting events.

Leveraging our Demand-Side Platform to programmatically exchange ad inventory between advertisers and publishers provides a turnkey solution for helping both sides to gain maximum exposure around specific sporting events in real-time, regardless of the location or time zone.

An excellent example of this is the Toronto Raptors’ history-making appearance at the NBA Finals back in June.

For the duration of the Play-Offs, user data indicated a huge increase in the impressions to registrations and registration to deposits rate amongst Canadian-related sports betting campaigns.

With the whole nation buzzing with the success of the team, the event prompted a significant uptick in engagement with sports betting ads and subsequent growth in deposits – an ultimate win-win for both the user and advertisers.

4. Timing is everything

The timing of digital ad campaigns is essential around sporting events.

The build-up to an event can take weeks, so your message should get to the end-user as soon as the noise begins to ramp up (this, of course, depends on how big the event is going to be).

Take UFC for example, Khabib vs McGregor’s highly anticipated fight last year saw advertisers promoting betting offers or content for a number of weeks prior to the main event.

As the event nears, the call to action should become increasingly overt and the reach should be expanded as wide as possible. Of course, relevant traffic rates do increase during the event itself and many advertisers want to reach the same user at peak times.

It is therefore important to free up the highest budgets and increased rates available at peak times, as well as loosen up the frequency of the ads slightly to get the maximum exposure.

However, it is crucial that these campaigns are stopped as soon as the event has finished.

Quick Tip: When it comes to frequency capping, you can rely on our defaults. In the ‘budget’ step of your campaigns, select ‘weekly distribution’. From here your campaigns will only run during relevant sporting events. Unless you’re looking to use pixel tracking, we would strongly suggest opting for CPA Target bidding for optimal results.

Working closely with technology partners and their expansive networks, advertisers can utilize the programmatic channels to navigate the ‘hype’ around global sporting events and make sure they are striking success in terms of both ROI and strengthening attitudes towards their brand amongst consumers.

To learn more about our range of services, get in touch at contact@adcash.com or sign up on our platform.