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Reaching your audience during that big event

Have you ever wondered whether big events have any effect on how marketers reach their audiences? Under normal circumstances, some people are clicking on your ads while others are riveted by something they are doing, and it all evens out, we assume. But what about when a big event is capturing the attention of a sizable chunk of the audience? A new study set out to answer that question during a recent World Cup soccer match, and what it found has an interesting lesson for marketers.

A football (or soccer ball) icon.

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Our own Aaron Kim recently did a social media roundup on the FIFA World Cup, showing the immense popularity of social media, especially during matches. It comes as no surprise to you that Twitter usage reached its all-time peak during a World Cup match.
So, as an advertiser, does that mean that you should pull your ads on match days? You might think that, with all those folks tweeting away, no one is clicking on your ads. A new study by Infolinks sheds a bit of light on that question:
BigEventAdClicks.png
As you look at the chart, notice that the click rates on advertising do indeed drop during the World Cup match, as you might expect, but click rates rise right after that match—to even higher than normal levels. So, while it might make sense to pause your ads during the match, be careful! If you don’t turn them back on immediately after that match, you’ll miss a clicking bonanza.
But you need to think clearly about this data in another way, too. When dealing with big events like this one, you might want to fall back on traditional television concepts, such as counter-programming. When one channel has the World Cup on, the others don’t go dark. Even though a big chunk of their viewership might be otherwise occupied, they strive to put on a program that draws well among those uninterested in the World Cup.
Perhaps they put on programming that appeals to non-sports fans. It might be that men are disproportionately attracted to the sports event, so programs targeted to women who aren’t sports fans might be a winner. You should think about the same thing when deciding what you do with your advertising. If you know that your audience overlaps with the audience of the big event, it makes a lot of sense to pause during the event. On the other hand, if your audience has little in common, you might find that advertising during the event is actually beneficial, when those sports widows are looking to do some shopping while hubby is camped in from of the TV (and, apparently, Twitter).
But the great thing about Internet marketing, is that you need not rely on these tired gender stereotypes. You can test. It might well be true that more men than women are drawn to the sports event, but find out by testing. Only then will you know exactly what you should do with your ads for your products.
Thanks to the folks at Infolinks for providing this study to us a week before its actual publish date. If you’re like me, you probably found it surprising that click rates jump after the event. I guess I expected that the rates would drop during the event, but did not imagine that there was pent-up demand that got released after the event. Now you know.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in internet marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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