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March Madness Leverages Second Screen Efforts- Mobile sponsorships provide brands with a vast amount of exposure and reach

AJ Maestas's picture

March Madness – arguably the most thrilling three weeks in sports throughout the year. Unfortunately, the majority of us cheered on our favorite teams from behind our desks or at our favorite alumni bars. Fortunately, for those who are always on the move, March Madness has an improved March Madness Live app that allowed you to live stream every game. Previously, the app only operated on Android devices, but now the app is available on all Windows phones, iPads and iPhones.

So why should we care? Whether you admit it or not, we’re all guilty of sneaking a glimpse of our phone, sending a text, or checking a score throughout the day. According to a study conducted by SOATSA, the leader in mobile testing, more than half of employed loyal March Madness followers plan to check their tablet or smartphone throughout the work day for tournament updates. Luckily for us, The March Madness Live app offered scores and notifications throughout each of the games, as well as The Coke Zero Social Arena: an online social forum where users can chat about the game and follow different Tweets, Instagram posts and Vines. Updating The Coke Zero Social Arena was a smart move by the NCAA. According to findings from a study we conducted with Wasserman, The Social Media Scoreboard- www.thesocialmediascoreboard.com, sports fans are more likely to use mobile devices for social media engagement than non-sports fans and almost 30 percent of sports fans use social media on their smart phone while watching games on TV. This forum offers a merge between fan engagements and social media.

Brands are taking more and more advantage of social media when it comes to sponsorships within apps such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. We’ve all seen the “sponsored” Instagram posts and Tweets, and we’ve definitely all seen the little brand logo in the corner of the screen, or a banner advertisement on the bottom of the page. Sports fans made aware of a sponsorship are 150 percent more likely to purchase a product or service than unaware fans (Navigate’s Comparative Database). With that being said, just how much exposure does a brand receive from such a sponsorship?

To take a deeper look into these partnership efforts, we will use the March Madness Live app as our example. A few sponsors for the app include Capital One, AT&T, Buick, Infiniti, and LG. Since most of us didn't get to witness the brilliant on-site activations of March Madness’ Corporate Champions (Coca-Cola, AT&T, and Capital One) during the Final Four weekend, sponsoring the app is an excellent method to garner exposure for partners such as Buick, LG, and Infiniti. Mobile sponsorships will produce more exposure than one may think – in 2013, the app had 3.4 million unique users live stream games and/or live videos that were available. As reported in The Social Media Scoreboard, 40 percent of sports fans who become aware of a sponsorship through social media are more likely to recommend that sponsor’s brand. If this year’s app is anything like last years when it comes to sponsorships, then brands should expect to receive a large amount of exposure.

In 2013, we worked with a client who sponsored The March Madness Live app for Android devices. Simple in-app logos and banners on Android phones and tablets provided almost 27 million net impressions – meaning 27 million people saw that brand’s advertisement, logo, etc… –which translated to around $53,000 in value. In addition, their logo appeared on the loading screen every time the app was opened. This supplied the brand with nearly 44 million net impressions with an exposure value approaching $176,000. The total value of exposure received was upwards of $850,000, generated from about 160 million net impressions. The number of unique visitors more than doubled last year - from 1.6 million users in 2012 to 3.4 million in 2013. With the demand for the app growing – it’s a safe bet that sponsorship numbers will continue to grow as well.

Expect more and more brands to begin utilizing this marketing strategy due to the potential reach that these sponsorships have. Whether it’s a simple logo or a scrolling advertisement, mobile sponsorships provide brands with a great deal of reach and exposure.

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