Seasonality and sports apps: What it means for mobile marketers in 2022

By Ashwin Shekar

The last decade in India saw the arrival and rise of fantasy sports gaming at a phenomenal rate of 700%. It now stands as the biggest Fantasy Sports market worldwide with a user base of over 13 crores, a figure expected to grow further at a CAGR of 32% in times ahead.

The market size is projected to reach an estimated Rs 1,65,000 cr by FY25, from Rs 34,600 crore in FY21, clocking a CAGR of 38% (Source- The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports and Deloitte report, ‘Fantasy Sports: Creating a Virtuous Cycle of Sports Development’).

Undoubtedly, this creates immense potential opportunities for advertisers and marketers concerning user acquisition goals.

Sports events in the post-COVID era

As we steadily move forward in the ‘New Normal’ era, many sporting events have begun to open their doors to the larger public, garnering viewers from across the globe. The Euro 2020 finals for example, brought in a prime audience of 31 million viewers on BBC and ITV. The two-week-long French Open 2022 tournament’s viewership broke the 42-million mark – a new record since its 2012 edition.

This year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) saw more than 100 brands featured across mediums. Furthermore, 700 million viewers across the globe tuned in to watch the 2021 final of The UEFA Champions League held in Kyiv. The Fifa World Cup tournament will be hosted in the Middle East (Qatar) this year. The stakes are high, considering the 2018 FIFA World Cup was viewed by a combined 3.572 billion people – more than half of the global population aged four and above.

With the Champions League 2022-23 having kick-started a few weeks ago, other major sporting events such as Wimbledon, Tour de France and Commonwealth Games are scheduled for later this year. With so many eyeballs to grab, it enables endless possibilities for mobile marketers to stand out from the crowd where they can get peak visibility to showcase and advertise their sports apps.

Expanding reach with mobile OEMs is a win-win situation for sports app marketers

Mobile OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) are smartphone manufacturers like Oppo (Realme and OnePlus), Vivo, Samsung, and Xiaomi who have global user audiences- a combined worldwide market share of 48% as of December 2021. These mobile OEMs have their own app stores for their devices, also known as alternative app stores, and resell their inventory. This empowers mobile app developers and marketers to leverage the vast user bases they own during these peak sporting events such as those scheduled in 2022.

The sporting industry is profitably benefitting from the revolution of smartphones globally. The global sports market is expected to grow from $354.96 billion in 2021 to $501.43 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41.3% (Source- Sports Global Market Report 2022). Marketers should identify the most relevant sports events to tap into newer and more extensive audiences within mobile OEMs, allowing them to increase the reach and audience for their mobile app in the sports category.

Never was a better time for sports app marketers to make the best of major sporting events than in 2022..

Considered as two of the top advertisers in the sports app category, MPL and Dream11 amongst other players leveraged the IPL 2022 season for brand promotional activities and user acquisition campaigns. There will be a positive response from users in the sports category in the coming years, as sports apps on Google Play will reach nearly one billion downloads by 2023.

It’s time for sports apps to reign supreme with OEMs during the peak sporting events. Let’s understand how..

With mobile OEM app advertising, marketers can leverage an exclusive app store featuring per day and specific dates with multiple advertising formats such as video ads, rewarded ads, native ads, and banner ads with unique ad placements.

They can also get exclusive screen takeovers with splash ads which allow them to show the best of their sports and gaming apps on the entire smartphone screen in a video format to create instant brand awareness and interest among users.

Appographic Targeting helps in promoting apps to users with similar interests beyond category and ownership to elevate app install rates. Additionally, mobile OEMs offer customized push notifications to target high-value users during sporting events to enable app discovery, as there is a 72.71% YoY growth for gaming apps.

Mobile marketers should explore PMP deals at private marketplaces (PMPs) with mobile OEMs. Marketers can bid on suggested inventories for a specific time, such as the seasonal events, to get the best out of their user acquisition campaigns.

The road ahead..

Mobile OEMs provide brand-safe, fraud-free, and more cost-effective opportunities for mobile marketers due to lower CPIs, thus offering the same benefits as 3rd party networks such as Google and Facebook. Not only do mobile OEMs and their alternative app stores offer all these benefits to mobile marketers in the sports and gaming category during the sports event season, but also a great alternative source to find fresh new users that one should not miss irrespective of the app category.

The author is co-founder, AVOW

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