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March Madness Blog Header (Final version)

The Power of Mobile During March Madness

Posted Feb 24, 2022

After The Big Game aired last week, marketers are reminded how much buzz ads get during this time from consumers on social media, between peers in-person, and in-app on mobile. While users are watching, they are looking at their mobile devices as well, whether that be to communicate, play a mobile game, or order food. So after the Big Game, what’s next? As the NCAA prepares for this year’s March Madness, brands and advertisers should optimize campaigns to reach consumers on mobile before and during viewing times in order to create maximum impact.

When looking at viewer behavior from March Madness last year, Next TV reports that active viewers were exposed to about 500 commercials and more impressions were possible through mobile as 40% of viewers looked to their smartphones as a second screen. What’s more, when compared to 2019, online activity related to food and drinks, sports, and gaming were all up last year. So what can be expected from March Madness viewers this year? Sports viewers were surveyed about how they watch, how they will use mobile devices while watching, app preference related to watching sports, and their interest and preferences for ads during the game time. Read on for highlights from the Sports Survey!

Highlights from the Study

Regular sports viewers will tune into March Madness and keep up with the games on multiple devices. — Most March Madness viewers (63%) watch sports at least every week, and 65% of viewers want to keep up with the games (by watching, looking up stats, reading about) on multiple devices. 

March Madness viewers want snacks and drinks while watching sports. — Respondents will consider purchasing snack foods (78%), alcoholic beverages (58%), and pre-made food (53%) before watching and prefer to shop in-person at a store/restaurant (63%), pickup from a store/restaurant (41%), or use a delivery app (35%). 

Sports, delivery, and gaming apps have the highest chance of reaching March Madness viewers. — Before watching sports events, March Madness viewers will consider downloading sports (53%), food delivery (34%), gaming (25%), and sports betting apps (25%). While watching sports, these viewers will use their mobile devices to text (61%), browse social media apps (49%), browse sports apps (42%), and play mobile games (32%).

Smartphones are the go-to device for March Madness viewers, even while watching TV. — 58% of viewers prefer to keep up with content from sports events on their smartphones, and about a third of viewers (32%) will check sports/betting apps while watching TV. In addition, a third (32%) will look up content on a mobile device related to the sports event when watching on Connected TV.

March Madness viewers are interested in ads and want humor from these spots. — Over half (51%) of March Madness viewers are interested in the ads played during sports events, and most viewers (86%) want to see funny ads while watching sports.

Ads during sporting events will lead to purchases and discussion from March Madness viewers. — In the past year, March Madness viewers have made a purchase from an ad aired during a sports event related to food (37%), mobile apps (17%), electronics (17%), and auto (10%). Also, 60% of viewers are likely to discuss ads from a sporting event via social media/mobile games on their smartphones, both during and after the game. 

About the Study

The Sports Survey 2022 was distributed throughout the U.S. and garnered over 400 responses. It asked consumers ranging from 18 years old to over 65 about their behaviors, viewership frequency, and device usage related to sports events.

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