March Madness continues and Yahoo (under Oath's portfolio of brands) has teamed up with Lexus for Yahoo Sports' Tourney Pick'em and the re-launch the Lexus "0-60 Bracket Challenge," a custom-branded game promoting the 2018 Lexus RC F. Rick Fellen, Oath’s vice president and industry lead, automotive, takes Marketing Daily through the inner workings of the activation.
Q. How long have Oath and Lexus had a partnership in general? Did it begin with the Yahoo Sports Bracket?
A. To take a step back, Tournament season is one of the most unique opportunities for marketers to connect with sports fans. Last year, 45% of Americans watched the Men’s College Basketball Tournament. This year, 25% of college basketball fans will use Yahoo Sports to fill out a Tourney Pick’em bracket; plus, Yahoo Sports fans arethree times more likely to livestream the games. You have a highly attentive audience, tuning in to not only watch the Men’s College Basketball Tournament but to engage, share updates and amplify their experience on mobile platforms.
It’s a timely opportunity for brands to reach a connected Millennial audience, combined with the popularity and scale of Yahoo Sports. Lexus’ sponsorship of Yahoo Sports’ Tourney Pick’em started in 2016, and they expanded on this experience with the Lexus “0-60 Bracket Challenge” that offers fans a custom branded game across devices.
Q. What does Oath provide to the partnership?
A. Oath is helping Lexus reach millions of college basketball fans on Yahoo Sports, across web and mobile. This happens through their sponsorship of the Yahoo Sports’ Tourney Pick’em bracket challenge on desktop and the Yahoo Fantasy app, as well as 15-second video ads on the Yahoo Sports’ “Tourney Bracket Live” show. Plus, the Lexus “0-60 Bracket Challenge” gives fans an additional way to compete alongside their favorite team.
Q. If that relationship began in 2015, what is new this year? The sponsorship of the Yahoo Fantasy app?
A. Lexus saw a considerable increase in mobile engagement which led them to sponsor Yahoo Sports’ Tourney Pick’em again this year, but with a mobile twist. This year, based on increased registrations for its bracket game, which jumped 38% in 2017 compared to 2016, and with the majority of fans (53%) signing up on a mobile or tablet device, Lexus took a new approach to reach sports fans on their smartphones. As part of this mobile-best approach, the new 2018 partnership features Lexus as the premiere sponsor of the Yahoo Fantasy app with an immersive brand experience.
Q. So fans will be able to share updates from their brackets with friends through their phone’s messaging app. Does this mean they will be able to share updates via the Fantasy app?
A. Yes, that’s new this year and Yahoo Sports' Tourney Pick'em fans can share updates from their brackets with friends directly from their phone's messaging app, creating a more interactive experience. From the Yahoo Fantasy App, fans can click the share button, which will pull up their phone’s messaging app, to directly share their bracket updates in real time. It’s an incredibly seamless user-experience and great a way to get fans into the game.
Q. Will the 15-second video ads airing on Yahoo Sports continue throughout the tournament?
A. Yes, these compelling video ads will air throughout the Tourney Bracket Live show. It’s also worth noting how rapidly Yahoo Sports basketball fans are growing. In fact 65% plan to watch more games this year compared to the last, giving Lexus even more of an opportunity to reach college basketball fans throughout the tournament on both desktop and mobile.
Q. What are some key insights for brands who want to connect with fans during Tournament season?
A. Mobile, mobile, mobile. Today’s sports fans aren’t only watching their favorite team compete on TV. They’re leveraging mobile and simultaneously engaging throughout the game. In order to effectively connect with consumers at game time, brands must implement a holistic mobile strategy, from beginning to end.
This consumer behavior is only amplified during Tournament season. At Oath, our mobile experiences feature killer mobile content, trusted mobile data that performs, and ad tech built to be mobile-best. That means the marketers we work with can build their brands with the best mobile capabilities available.