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The Game Plan: How to Use March Madness Predictive Analytics in Marketing

Mar 9, 2018

Now that it’s March, all eyes are on March Madness. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament – commonly known as March Madness is all set to get the ball rolling on the 13th of March 2018. There has never been never more interest in predictive analytics than around March Madness when fans are on the lookout for whatever edge they can get in filling out the perfect bracket.According to Jeff Bergen, a professor at DePaul University, the likelihood of having a perfect March Madness bracket is 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. While the tournament is far too unstable for predictive analytics to be of much help, one cannot ignore the odds of marketers being able to predict the strategies that will be successful around March Madness campaigns. A more in-depth understanding of audience behavior is a massive advantage for brands looking for a big win at the annual event.

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Here are some predictive analytics and big data generated insights into how marketers can up their game and run more effective campaigns during March Madness:

Developing an Agile Strategy

Marketers and brands must keep a close watch on teams that advance or get eliminated, and the fanbases are most enthusiastic and relevant to the target, this would help them to optimize their marketing strategies in real time. A prominent example for this is, in 2015 LIDS used a March Madness strategy to create a script logic that interpreted an RSS score feed and then automatically increased bids around winning teams. This helped the company to boost their campaign revenue +469% year on year. For brands using custom creative ad campaigns that target 64 different fan bases at once, Programmatic advertising can prove to be highly impactful.

Getting the Early Bird Advantage by Going Digital

The March Madness is undoubtedly going to see a lot of eyes glued to the game through different platforms, mainly through computers at workplaces. In fact, many companies often experience a decline in worker productivity during the opening week of March Madness.  Heavily focusing on digital campaigns between Selection Sunday through the first Friday of the tournament will help marketers to align brands with audience engagement habits better.

Audience Rely on Mobile Phones for Score Updates

The number of fans watching the match on smartphones will not outnumber the number of fans viewing the tournament on TV. However, according to a survey taken in 2017, 7 out of 10 tournament fans admitted relying on checking the scores on their smartphones rather than the tournament news on TV. This is great news especially for brands like Pizza Hut that garner 70% of their online sales through smartphones. For such companies explicitly targeting sports scores apps and content on cell phones offers a significant advantage in reaching their March Madness campaign goals.

To know more about how marketers can benefit from March Madness predictive analytics, speak to our experts.

Identify Unexpected Affinities

By digging deeper into data and using predictive analytics techniques, marketers often find a correlation between different variables that have never been thought of before. You would be intrigued to know that Villanova Wildcats and North Carolina Tar Heels fans love the TV show Jane the Virgin. An ad-tech company Distillery anonymously matched mobile data from the home arenas of the Final Four teams to online behavioral data to identify unexpected affinities. How did it help them you wonder? By understanding the non-basketball related interests of basketball fans, marketers can get a better idea of the type of messaging that best appeals to their audience. They can also use more cost-efficient and focused subjects to target such audience.

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