Last year, 30% of people in the U.S., an estimated 90M, filled out a bracket for the NCAA Tournament. The best-rated game of 2014 reached 4.7M people. March Madness interest level is absolutely massive, with more fans than ever before following along.
Since this huge audience is increasingly engaging on the web (and on smartphones), there are major opportunities for brands to connect with fans at key moments, in deeper ways. As the games tip off, we have a few tips of our own:
- Focus on second screens. During March and April 2014, 40% of searches related to brackets were on mobile. As mobile searches continue to rise, marketers should increase their focus on second-screen habits, optimizing campaigns for smartphones.
- Include casual fans in your marketing. Top search questions about college basketball come from entry level fans: “How long do college basketball games last? and “how many quarters in college basketball?” dominated during the tournament last year. With more fans to reach than ever before, marketers shouldn’t just focus on fanatics—make sure to consider newbies in your strategy.
- Capitalize on the moments that matter. In 2014, the peak day for highlight searches was the day between the Final Four and the National Championship—a day when no games were scheduled. Take advantage of moments like these that only happen online.
- Add to the action; don’t be a distraction. A Google Consumer Survey revealed that while second-screening during games, fans are most likely to (in order): check other scores, watch highlights, search for information about players, and post on social. Join the conversation in a way that complements what they’re doing rather than take them out of it.