This Sporting Season Is Best Time To Go Native

The countdown clock to the final match of the current football frenzy is ticking down; the national chants have begun. I am looking forward to the finals, perhaps more than the holidays. This entire football season is arguably the biggest event in sports without question and becoming the global destination for brands. 

As any fan rooting for their favorite team can attest, the mobile device is the first screen for fans. Global brands know this and are relishing the opportunity. According to the Global Sports Media Consumption Report (2013), 40% of online fans follow sports via a smartphone and the games in Brazil promise to further this paradigm change even further.

So the question now becomes how can brands and marketers effectively leverage mobile platforms to maximize brand awareness in a cacophony of noise where fans are constantly being distracted and inundated with information that can be overwhelming? I have one piece of advice. Breakup with the mobile banner. 



As part of an effort to better understand how sports fans interact with their mobile phones, my company recently teamed up with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) to conduct a study that looked at this issue along with how advertisers can best communicate with this audience. The new results were just extraordinary.

The soon to be released report shows that sports fans prefer mobile ads that showcase video, sound and photos (36%), followed by special deals or promotions (33%), pre-sale ticket opportunities (28%), favorite sports team (27%), link to a ticket purchase page (23%) and ads that can be shared with friends (21%).

Branding is not dead in mobile but the banner is truly not the best way to engage. Brands need to deliver dynamic and creative experiences that truly lend well to the native advertising format. They should focus on building a native experience that doesn’t interrupt the flow of information and, in fact, packages content in a manner that is visually appealing.  

Beyond native advertising, sports marketers should consider to optimize their visibility on mobile platforms by doing a couple of other basic things. Understand how sports fans use mobile to plan trips to live events; even if that event is not the big game itself. Design intuitive mobile experiences that cater to their tastes for sports and entertainment information. Second create immersive ads that showcase upcoming games, offer special promotion, invite friends to games and enable them to purchase tickets directly through their mobile devices 

Take a glance over the next six weeks to your fellow sports fans. The first screen is the screen in their pocket, and it is crystal clear that marketers have a unique window in reaching this highly engaged albeit elusive audience through a more personal and visceral way.  

Offering creative and dynamic content through native advertising should be in every marketer’s mobile playbook as they seek new and innovative ways in scoring big with sports fans. 


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