What would we do without sports? Without Thursday night football and the exhilarating World Series? Without Sunday afternoons filled with golf and the Olympics where the best of the best compete to win the gold?
Thankfully, I don’t believe that’s a world that we have to contemplate. In fact, it might just be the other way around. Advertisers are expanding their capabilities and connecting sports with the world in ways we’ve never seen before.
Google is prepared to take the run full force during this upcoming NFL season. They have built a tool that places ads alongside football-related search results. Picture this: you’re watching the heated rivals, the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs, play in their first battle on the gridiron this season when you begin to think, “I wonder who won when the two teams played each other for the first time ever”. So, you automatically head to Google where you type your inquiry into the search engine and let the powerful mind of Google do the thinking. As your search results appear to answer your question, you see an Anheuser-Busch ad for Bud Light. But that’s not it, the fans drinking the Bud Light are wearing red and the cans have the Chiefs logo on them! Google has the power to place specific ads, in specific places, for specific people, at specific times.
Not only is Google on board with this real time advertising; social media outlets, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, have also bit the hook. Facebook aims to target football fans during NFL and college football games. Twitter offers several live-event tools, even one that allows brands to sponsor NFL related clips. Snapchat is working on a partnership to be able to have weekly NFL stories similar to their current “MLB Wednesdays” stories.
This instant advertising has many benefits for advertisers who capitalize. The New York Times reports from Nielsen stating that, “88% tablet and 86% of smartphone users access their device while watching TV”. Because of this second-screen, advertisers can now reach viewers on television as well as on their handheld device. Live online advertising also reaches those “cord-cutters” who no longer have cable but still desire to keep up with live sporting events via internet and social media. Advertising online is less expensive than on television which is a draw for many advertisers.
Tim Katz, a sports partnership lead for YouTube, says, “We see a ton of query volume happening in Google Search, particularly while events are happening live”. If more people are searching during events, then it only makes sense to get your message out when then when the traffic is high.
Lowe’s, the home improvement store, aims to do some real-time online advertising during Thursday night football games to encourage viewers to visit their store during the upcoming weekend.
As technology increases and the internet reaches limits we never thought possible, advertisers are able to combine their ads with sports, one of the worlds’ most loved activities.
From my personal opinion, sports aren’t going anywhere, and with that security, advertisers have their audience, now they just have to reel them in.