Digital innovations have changed the way fans interact with their favorite teams. These innovations also offer advertisers and sponsors new ways of reaching those fans. Mobile apps bring spectators closer to the game by offering a more interactive and instantaneous experience. These apps can also bring brands closer to fans.
The future of live sports is the second screen experience. Data from 2018 showed that 37% of consumers used their phones to look up stats while watching live sports, while 27% used Facebook and 42% tracked other ongoing games. Now, mobile apps offer much better ways to interact with games, beyond player statistics and scores for other games.
By partnering with the platforms that create the second screen experience, businesses can reach younger and more diverse audiences. Gen Z, the most diverse generation yet, already makes up 40% of consumers. And they are the most likely to use multiple screens simultaneously. On average, members of Gen Z use 5 different screens a day. The best way to reach them is through mobile apps, including those that provide the second screen live sports experience.
These apps offer users trivia, contests, mobile games, polls about the action on the field, and competitions for prizes. They also allow brands to get in on the action. Game sponsors can offer discounts and coupons. They can insert product-related trivia. And they can advertise in the app itself.
Perhaps the most enticing feature of second-screen apps is the competition for real-world rewards. Users compete with one another, through games and trivia, to earn prizes. Typically, prizes are discounts and coupons for real products. By offering their products as prizes, companies make those products more appealing. Not only do they increase product awareness, they increase product desirability.
Competition for prizes makes those prizes more desirable, even for people who lose. By allowing fans to compete for coupons and discounts on their products, companies will make all competitors more interested in the products.
Data has shown that sweepstakes succeed in generating buzz, increasing web traffic, building mailing lists, and advertising products. Rewards programs also boost customer loyalty. In-app prizes for sports fans work in a similar way. They improve the relationship between potential customers and companies offering prizes.
One clever strategy for businesses to increase product awareness is inserting trivia questions about their products into the second-screen platform. Interspersed between questions about the action on the field and questions about the players or the teams, users will see occasional questions about whether they have tried a new flavor energy drink or a new beer. Or whether they plan to try a new chicken sandwich or a new diet soda.
These questions make advertising more interactive, which is more likely to appeal to consumers. These questions can also help companies generate data on product awareness and desirability. By asking fans whether or not they have heard of a new product, businesses can simultaneously market the product and gauge the effectiveness of previous marketing efforts. 46% of fans may say they have heard of the product, but after answering the question, 100% of fans will know about it.
These questions can also generate important feedback about new items. If 87% of fans indicate they will not try a new deodorant or a new cologne, that can help drive important decisions about continued rollout. On the flip side, positive responses may also help drive sales by reminding fans to try the new product.
It is already well established that surveys help brands better target their brand awareness efforts. Sprinkling survey questions throughout the second screen experience will make them less onerous to the respondents.
Finally, the second screen platform itself offers a new site for advertising. Apps can allow banner ads, popup ads, native ads, and even video ads. These increase product awareness, act as reminders and drive actual sales.
Younger audiences especially do not want to be tricked by gimmicky ads. They want marketing messages to be straightforward and transparent. With shorter attention spans than previous generations, they also do not want ads to waste their time.
Advertising in the second screen apps looks very similar to advertising in other apps and on webpages accessed via mobile devices. It is simple. And it is a tried-and-true way of reaching the younger audiences who use their digital devices the most.
Putting Them Together
The best way for sponsors to reach fans is to put these three strategies together. By offering their products as prizes, inserting product-related trivia, and placing ads in a second screen platform itself, companies can become part of the second screen experience. It will seem natural to the fans to see ads for a brand, compete for coupons redeemable for that brand’s products, and also see occasional survey questions about the brand. Fans will not be fooled by this, but the goal is not to fool fans. The best way to reach them is to be transparent and to give them good offers.
The second screen experience may be a new innovation, but the best ways of reaching consumers are not. Second screen platforms simply offer a new avenue for engaging with consumers in ways known to work. This avenue is more interactive and more instantaneous. It offers interesting twists on the traditional methods of advertising. And it gives businesses a better way of reaching the youngest sports fans, who will one day be doing most of the buying.