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Marketing and sports: How to elevate your advertising strategy during sporting events



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December 4, 2023 | 5 min read

Known for both enticing and uniting millions of fans around the globe, sporting events promise a massive reach

As fans indulge in diverse activities to enhance their viewing experience, these events present brands and advertisers with a gold mine of opportunities.

Sporting events engage a wide range of rich and diverse audiences, cutting across different demographic and psychographic segments. This makes for a very lucrative opportunity for advertisers to connect with their target audiences in a unique and engaging way.

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 insights from Microsoft Advertising showcase the impact sporting tournaments can have on other verticals. Specific categories like 'dining', 'apparel' and 'entertainment' witnessed a significant surge in search volumes during the tournament which gives an insight into the interests and consumption habits of sports enthusiasts. Brands can incorporate tailored content backed by audience insights to strike a chord with their target audiences – whether they’re looking for live updates, connecting with other fans, browsing team jerseys and merchandise, or looking to subscribe to a new streaming service.

As we delve into the impact of major sporting events on digital marketing trends, let’s explore the different ways in which brands can make the most out of these key events across the globe to engage with their target audiences across customer touchpoints.

Establish brand connect to drive awareness and conversions

The key to maximizing impressions and boosting CTRs lies in building a strong connect for sports enthusiasts that would drive engagement. Understanding how a particular product or service fits into a fan’s journey can help in developing compelling strategies to meet your campaign objectives.

During the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022, sports subcategories directly relating to the event, such as 'sports goods', 'sports and fitness apparel', and 'cricket equipment', recorded double-digit month-on-month growth. Additional verticals such as 'restaurants', 'dining', 'online food delivery', and 'entertainment' also saw an upsurge in search and clicks.

Brands can capitalize on seasonal insights and current trends to create lasting recall and foster engagement that extends beyond the event's timeframe. By strategically cultivating a connection with the audience through topics that pique their interest, brands significantly enhance their likelihood of being memorable.

Leverage Search Engine Optimization and experiment with ad placements

Understanding what sports enthusiasts are searching for during various sporting events and choosing the right mix of ad placements can significantly impact the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Searches related to the T20 World Cup in 2022 also saw the tournament name as a common term in most trends, and search interest grew by +221% WoW a week before the tournament began.

To captivate attention and craft compelling ad experiences, brands can integrate viral moments into their strategy, as these moments substantially amplify search interest. Swift action is crucial to seize the widespread attention, excitement, and emotional connections linked with these occurrences during the tournament.

Enhancing search engine ads, encompassing text, display, and video formats, by incorporating the tournament name as the primary search term can effectively reach millions of online users and elevate key performance indicators for your campaigns. Remember to regularly assess the effectiveness of specific placements and terms in driving traffic, conversions, and click-through rates throughout the tournament to stay ahead of the game.

Adopting an omnichannel approach for impactful marketing

Using multiple devices, platforms, and apps has been observed as common user behavior among sports fans. In the US, 77% of the population uses the internet simultaneously while watching TV.

Omnichannel digital marketing strategies enable seamless engagement with your audience on multiple platforms and devices, allowing fans to interact with your brand in ways that suit their preferences. Whether they are checking for live score updates in the middle of the workday, researching about their favorite teams during their daily commute, ordering food online on match days, or killing time while waiting for the match to begin, make sure they notice your brand or services through meaningful campaigns.

Craft a multi-channel marketing strategy that resonates with your campaign goals, and more importantly, sports-loving audiences. The goal is to establish a comprehensive presence throughout the customers’ journey while engaging them at crucial touchpoints.

Furthermore, comprehending the demographic you're targeting and having a deep understanding of your audience behavior can significantly elevate your omnichannel strategy. Harnessing audience intent signals provides a competitive advantage, enabling you to customize your approach and improve engagement, conversion rates, and brand loyalty. Utilize a range of indicators or cues that unveil the audience's preferences and interests, allowing you to establish authentic connections through highly personalized content and unlocking a realm of possibilities for your brand.

By incorporating these insights and tactics and tailoring them to your campaign plan, your brand can play on the front foot during the big leagues.

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