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Game-changing tactics: How to captivate your audience with DOOH for sporting events

Vistar Media


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February 23, 2023 | 7 min read

If you’re like many marketers out there, coming off the heels of the Super Bowl hype, and with March Madness right around the corner, advertising around sporting events is top of mind

Whether you’re promoting athleisure wear, snacks, alcoholic beverages, sports betting, or the game itself, associating your brand with these large tentpole events can have a dramatic impact on how your brand is perceived.

However, while TV-based advertising around sports has traditionally dominated the industry, increasing competition from second screens as well as record-high ad placement costs are pushing marketers to explore alternative methods to reach consumers during these major cultural moments.

Programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH) ads are an incredibly powerful way to engage with your audience around specific sporting events in an offline setting as they move throughout their day, and allow you to capitalize on key moments when sports fans and local communities are most open to your messages.

To understand why it's important for brands to get involved in sporting events, consider this:

  • 67% of sports fans think brands are more appealing when they participate in sports sponsorships.
  • 56% of fans are likely to inform themselves about brands that sponsor sporting events.
  • 59% of fans would pick a sponsor’s product over a rival’s if the price and quality were the same.

In this article, we’ll discuss a few DOOH tactics you can use today to amplify your brand messaging around sporting events to maximize the relevancy and impact of your investments.

Highlight show-stopping moments to make a big splash

Most of us have experienced the fear of missing out (FOMO) at least once in our lives, and it’s a powerful feeling. A study by OptiMonster found that 60% of millennial consumers said they make a reactive purchase after experiencing FOMO, most often within 24 hours. This makes sense — nobody wants to feel like they have missed something truly amazing, and in the world of sports, amazing moments happen all the time. You can leverage these key game time moments, major upsets, etc. to create FOMO in fans who aren't watching and encourage them to tune in. In addition, consider leveraging large screens in high-traffic environments like arterial roads or busy intersections to make the biggest splash.

Activate media based on movement patterns

When consumers aren’t in front of a TV or on a personal device, they’re on their way to work, at the gym, in the mall, getting dinner with friends, among engaging in a variety of other activities. This makes outdoor billboards, transit stations, urban panels, gyms, bars, restaurants and gas stations all fantastic options for engaging with consumers while they’re a captive audience, without the interruptive quality of many other ad types (i.e. digital or pop-up ads).

Using geospatial technology within your programmatic DOOH platform you can broaden your reach by activating media based on your target audience’s movement patterns. This allows you to engage with your audience at multiple touchpoints throughout their daily activities and solidifies your message in their minds.

Prioritize specific locations during peak hours

It’s no secret that different consumer segments have different movement patterns (a fashion enthusiast would likely visit different locations than a sports fan), which is why it’s critically important to consider where your audience is most likely to be during certain times throughout the day. Vistar analyzes consumer movement patterns to create audiences based on the places they visit — allowing you to best reach your target persona as they move throughout the day.

For example, a “sports enthusiast” audience (i.e. people who attend live sporting events at least once per month) may be more likely to be at the gym from 3 pm to 5 pm and at a bar or restaurant from 6 pm to 10 pm.

Considering the locations your target audience is more likely to visit at any given time, you can strategically activate screens at those venues during peak hours to maximize the relevancy of your ads, increase excitement around the game and minimize budget waste.

Leverage dynamic creative

While static out-of-home ads (like traditional billboards) are fantastic for running long-term advertising campaigns, programmatic DOOH ads offer tremendous flexibility that allows you to swap out messaging in near real-time. By leveraging dynamic creative in your DOOH campaign, you can adjust your messaging before, during and after big games to always remain relevant.

Before the game: Build anticipation by running ads featuring elements like the competing teams, game time countdowns, win/loss records, etc.

During the game: Create excitement and increase viewership by showing real-time game updates, live scores and more.

After the game: Enforce relevance by swapping out creative messaging based on which team wins or loses the game; or start promoting the next upcoming match-up.

Strategically surround DMAs with your ads

Sports fandom is largely geographically segmented (i.e. certain geographic areas tend to favor specific teams). This presents an interesting opportunity to surround designated market areas (DMAs) with your messaging based on their favored team.

Using your programmatic DOOH platform, you can leverage proximity targeting to activate your campaign with city-specific messaging only within a certain radius of key points of interest (i.e. stadiums, bars, airports, etc. near where a game is taking place). This ensures your ads are much more impactful and relevant to your audience.

Make your ads mobile-friendly

It’s almost a given that smartphones are everywhere, in fact, it’s estimated that nearly 95% of Americans between the ages of 18 to 29 own a smartphone. Knowing that your audience most likely has a smartphone presents a great opportunity to run interactive ads that drive immediate response within your target demographic. By creating ads with scannable QR codes leading to a dedicated, trackable landing page you can drive traffic to pages where folks can tune in, download your app, place bets, etc. In addition, you can retarget consumers who have likely seen your ad(s) and re-engage with them on their mobile devices to reinforce your messaging and drive direct action.

Finally, using MIRA measurement, you can quantify how many mobile devices visited your landing page or performed some further action such as registration, subscription, app install, purchase, etc. after being exposed to the DOOH campaign. This allows you to track the effectiveness of your campaign with pinpoint accuracy and ensure you're seeing ROI.

Closing thoughts

Programmatic DOOH advertising provides a meaningful way to engage with your target audience around specific sporting events in the real world. Whether you are trying to increase brand awareness, generate sales, drive tune-in, or get more app downloads, by incorporating the tips we’ve outlined into your DOOH strategy, you’ll be set up to launch a winning campaign and achieve your goals.

Want to learn more about how to make the most of your upcoming sports campaign? Reach out today, and a programmatic DOOH expert from Vistar will be in touch.

Out-of-home Digital Out of Home Digital Signage


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