March Madness Is Golden Opportunity For Advertisers

In the U.S., the Super Bowl is the supreme sporting event for advertisers. It captures the biggest captive television audience of the year; in 2014, 111.5 million viewers watched the game.

The result of this viewership, however, is the most expensive ad space in the world -- averaging $4 million for a 30-second spot -- and an extremely competitive environment.

The brands that have the easiest time breaking through the Super Bowl noise are the giants: Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Samsung. For other brands, it can be difficult. But there is hope. Just one month later, there is another sporting event with similar levels of viewership and more room to make a huge impact in online video: March Madness.

While there is less noise -- and thus, more room to shine -- during the NCAA Tournament, that doesn’t mean that it’s a small media event. In 2012, advertising spend on the event exceeded $1 billion dollars for the first time surpassed the spend of the Super Bowl. And according to the NCAA, 181 million viewers watch the tournament across all platforms. With viewership stretched across 67 games, brands can reach a group of dedicated sports fans with multiple touch points.

The social impact of the tournament is also impressive. The NCAA reports that 7.7 million social media comments were made about the tournament during telecasts last year. And there were 1.5 billion online conversations about corporate partners last year.

We have seen a slight decline -- 14% -- in online video viewership from two weeks after the Super Bowl to March. With less noise, brands have an opportunity to stand out not only among NCAA advertisers, but also among all brands that release campaigns during the month. And because it is an event that lasts over several weeks, the tournament also provides some unique opportunities for creating content that will both engage viewers and spark social conversation.

So what can brands do to leverage their March Madness campaigns? As always, brands should strive to create video content that is memorable, newsworthy, and engages viewers through some sort of emotional reaction so that they will share it with their friends. But there are three other things that brands should think about:

  • Place the content in the right environments. Most March Madness viewers are men, ages 24-42, so put videos where they will watch them: sports and lifestyle environments.
  • Build a story. One of the best aspects of the tournament is that there are a number of different stages: Selection Sunday, March Madness, Sweet Sixteen, Final Four, Championship, etc. Brands should be producing multiple pieces of creative that capitalize on these phases, using the different creative to build a larger story. If you can get viewers to latch on the story early, they will follow and share it throughout the tournament.
  • Be social. Data shows that social media is a huge part of the tournament experience, and that viewers will talk not only about the games, but also about brands. Make sure that the campaign is optimized for social sharing. Or why not create a campaign that is inherently social?
Next story loading loading..