Memo to advertisers: the Big Dance is your big chance.
The U.S. will be in the throes of March Madness in two weeks as the NCAA men’s basketball tournament tips off. It’s an opportunity to connect with not only hard-core college hoops fans, but also the casual observer who gets interested in the games only after filling out a bracket for the office pool.
Choose Your Platform—or Use All of Them
The championship game happens in Houston on April 4. That means brands and agencies have more than two full weeks of action to attract the attention of consumers—and they can do that in a variety of ways.
And if the opinions we received in a December survey about Super Bowl advertising plans hold true for the NCAA tournament, advertisers could be looking at a cross-channel ad placement strategy that spans social media platforms.
YouTube’s Campaign Assist
Basketball fans will head to YouTube to check out videos of their favorite teams, highlights from the current and previous NCAA tournaments, interviews with players and coaches, expert analysis, even clips offering advice on building a winning bracket.
That’s a lot of ways to engage with your audience—and the remarketing opportunities make YouTube an especially attractive ad platform as you nudge prospects down the marketing funnel.
A Data Slam Dunk with Facebook and Instagram
Of course, Facebook offers a treasure trove of data, often including users’ alma maters. My profile lists Syracuse University as the place where I went to school. From a marketing standpoint, that’s like shooting fish in a barrel, right?
Want to sell me some S.U. tournament gear? How about a travel package to a city where the team will be playing? It’s a perfect time to drop those ads into my News Feed.
And because Instagram has access to Facebook’s data goldmine, you have the same granular level of targeting there, plus the ability to connect your brand with the games visually.
Last year during March Madness, Oreo garnered 15,000 likes by cleverly incorporating milk’s favorite cookie into a basketball-themed post. The image featured a caption reading, “You don’t have to be 6’8″ to dunk like a champ. #PlaywithOreo and show us your dunk. We might just regram you.”
While a snack food and college basketball may not logically go hand-in-hand, Oreo features its ongoing “dunk” references (think “dunk in the dark” from the 2013 Super Bowl) and makes itself relevant in a visual way.
Jumping into the Second-Screen
That brings us to Twitter, everyone’s favorite speed-of-thought, second-screen, live-event-targeting social media platform. It’s where college basketball fans will go to debate that ref’s call late in the game, or a coach’s decision to keep a star player on the bench because of foul trouble. It’s where marketers can inject their messages, taking advantage of real-time events.
— Buffalo Wild Wings (@BWWings) March 16, 2015
One Shining Moment
Whether you choose set up your advertising play on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram (or all four) during March Madness, be sure to leverage your message in a way that plays to the strengths of each social platform.
Your team might be celebrating a win of its own.