India is a cricket crazy country, which accords to this sport a place nothing less than that of a religion. Cricket is the only sport in India which can unite the country’s demographic fragmented on parameters such as casts, creeds, borders, religions, and languages. Cricket has become a magnet for viewers,which makes it an attractive advertising avenue for brands. Moreover, as the sport has an international viewership, it offers brands international exposure. The live coverage of ICC World Cup 2019 is expected to be broadcast to more than 1.5 billion people across the world.
As brands look forward to leveraging this advertising opportunity, an important factor which brands need to consider is the mediums or platforms that attract the maximum audience and leverage those in order to make the most out of their advertising efforts. This is crucial – now, more than ever – because the audience’s viewing habits are changing, owing to the advances in technology. Traditional mediums like Television and Radio are taking a backseat gradually, and digital platforms like OTT, video streaming platforms and cricket portals are getting a preference instead. This is mainly because these platforms provide on-the-go entertainment. Moreover, the digitization wave that has swept the country, has led to an increase in the internet and mobile penetration. India had about 500 million internet users, as of 2018, as per a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Kantar IMRB. This trend is being observed in rural as well as urban parts of the country. The plummeting costs of high-speed internet and handset prices have further fueled this trend. As a result, viewers, especially the millennials, from tier II and III regions, are also shifting to digital platforms to view the matches.
As a result, sports inventories are experiencing a steady increase in their traffic and viewing times. On SonyLIV, a staggering 50 million cricket enthusiasts viewed Team India’s recent Australian tour for a total viewing time of more than 7 billion minutes. These digital platforms provide a perfect way for the brands to increase their brand visibility on the Internet. However, it is important to spot the right audience from the deluge of viewers flocking these platforms and reach them at the right time. Programmatic advertising is the perfect way to accomplish this. Brands can leverage its unique targeting capabilities to reach out to their desired TGs. The data-crunching capabilities of Data Management Platforms (DMPs) can be leveraged to process and analyze the viewers’ data such as likes and dislikes, preferences, past browsing history and so on. DMPs can help brands to choose the right mediums and channels to deliver highly relevant and personalized ads. It is even possible to directly target cricket platforms through Programmatic direct and PMP (Private Marketplace) deals.
The programmatic technique of Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) enables advertisers to deliver highly personalized ad creatives that change dynamically according to the users’ run-time preferences. Creative Management Platforms (CMPs) can be utilized to create personalized & optimized ad copies at scale, to improve workflows and to streamline the design. By using geo-targeting, brands can precisely target the viewers as per their geographical locations across the world. For instance, Indian brands could target NRIcricket enthusiasts, residing in various parts of the world, as per the brands’ audience preference. They can deliver brand messages relevant to specific geolocation, targeted at the viewers at that location. With the help of DMPs, brands decide on the specific time and the specific mediums suitable to engage such audience.
Programmatic advertising helps eliminate the inefficiencies in ad spends by targeting the relevant users.This frees up the ad budgets consumed by unyielding impressions. This,in turn, helps in increasing the overall efficiency and reduces the costs. Granular campaign reports provide valuable data to evaluate the performance of the campaigns, enabling brands to further optimize the strategies. Through cross-device targeting and an omnichannel approach, programmatic advertising helps brands to deliver consistent brand communication across multiple devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops and Connected TVs.
However, Cricket events like the ICC World Cup and IPL are highly coveted advertising avenues, and the sponsorship opportunities are quite limited. It is not possible for every brand to advertise on or sponsor for these events. For such brands, programmatic advertising provides the way ahead.