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CTV’s ticket to March Madness advertising

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CTV’s ticket to March Madness advertising


At MarTech, we’ve been caught up in our own March Madness. The conference will be held virtually March 29 and 30 (and registration is free).

For marketers reaching sports fans, March Madness is the NCAA national Div. I basketball tournament. Ads on linear TV networks are very expensive, but even marketers who can afford them are out of luck — they’ve all been sold. That doesn’t mean brands are shut out, though.

The games, which can be viewed on CBS and Turner properties for the next month, are also accessible through CTV and digital channels, offering lower-cost opportunities for marketers who want to get up close to the bracket-charged mania.

With streaming services and viewing options on multiple devices, the audiences are divided into more distinct segments. This is an opportunity to get deeper engagement with those consumers, and in some cases brings them closer to purchase or other high-value actions.

Read more: How marketers are leveraging QR codes on TV

Why we care: Traditional TV publishers still charge the most for tentpole live events like the Super Bowl and the Oscars, doing so through linear programming methods. This is the ad supply that’s purchased months in advance, and still makes up a big chunk of ad budgets. So, advertisers are experimenting with different cross-channel engagements around these big events like March Madness. 

Marketers are also using the lower barriers to entry and lower costs associated with CTV advertising to expand their advertising playbook. This year’s March Madness can be a training camp of sorts to get a brand’s CTV strategy game-ready.

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Viewing behavior for the games. “Linear TV still ranks the highest amongst consumption methods for live sporting events,” said Ryan Horn, SVP of marketing for DSP and advertising automation platform Simpli.fi. “However, what we have seen over recent years is the continued growth and adoption of streaming. The number of fans who stream sports is still rising greatly. With so many concurrent games during March Madness, many viewers additionally will set up multiple connected TVs or laptops so they can watch simultaneously.” 

He added, “This gives advertisers even more opportunities than the typical viewing option that they would have on linear to get in front of the basketball audience.”


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Fans will be watching the game on one screen, surfing the web to look up scores on another, checking in on team updates, gathering highlights from previous games, or checking their bracket online, Horn explained.

Search, contextual advertising and retargeting. “Even if not serving CTV advertisements on the programming of the actual games, brands can utilize search targeting to reach their ideal audience,” said Horn.

Advertisers can go after relevant keywords like “basketball” or “March Madness” or individual teams.

They can also take advantage of contextual targeting by serving ads based on relevant content related to the games. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the action on the floor, but instead could be sports coverage around the games.

“Additionally, advertisers can geo-fence tournament locations to capture a relevant audience such as the arenas where the games are being held across the country, as well as nearby bars and hotels in the various locations throughout the month,” said Horn. “Advertisers can even retarget those users for up to 30 days after the event for better results, all with CTV.”

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Low-cost alternative in real time. “The cost to enter is far less than the correlated linear purchase, making the barriers to entry lower for many advertisers,” Horn said. “CTV gives advertisers the ability to quickly change budget strategy and tactics in real time, allowing for flexibility during a tournament where teams are regularly being eliminated.” 

He added, “With live reporting available, advertisers will be able to turn on or off their campaigns, adjust them based on game results, and maximize their reach without additional cost.”

Why we care: Traditional TV publishers still charge the most for tentpole live events like the Super Bowl and the Oscars, doing so through linear programming methods. This is the ad supply that’s purchased months in advance, and still makes up a big chunk of ad budgets. So, advertisers are experimenting with different cross-channel engagements around these big events like March Madness. 


About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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MARKETING

The Simplicity of a Press Badge with Jeff J Hunter [VIDEO]

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The Simplicity of a Press Badge with Jeff J Hunter [VIDEO]

Jeff Hunter

Jeff is the Chief Growth Officer of Branded Media where he creates solid, recognizable, legacy driven personal brands for legitimate companies and influencers.
Over the last half decade, and 1000+ paying clients later, Jeff has tested and perfected proven branding strategies, processes, and systems.
Jeff is also the Founder and “King of Outsourcing” at VA Staffer. VA Staffer is an inbound marketing agency powered by virtual assistants that helps business owners get things done.

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