How Can Brands Optimise Their IPL And OTT Advertising Strategy For Maximum Impact?

There’s immense potential in the OTT medium, and marketers must acknowledge its strengths. It is imperative to develop an OTT-led advertising strategy during IPL, writes Sahil Chopra

For the most revered sport in India, the Indian Premier League is a grand festival. With every 9 in 10 Indians watching cricket, the country’s unwavering love for cricket scores big. It is interesting to note, Chennai Super Kings alone has a fan base of 2.2 crores, which outruns the total of football fans in the country. As soon as the IPL season grips the nation, brands are the first to get on the ground. IPL is one event where marketers continue strategising their advertising campaigns to engage more viewers and enhance brand visibility.

With the rise in on-demand content, the Over-The-Top (OTT) medium has successfully become the favourite advertising platform for brands and marketers. In recent years, the medium has taken over a considerable share of the market capturing people who like streaming content at their own convenience. According to a report by Nielsen, OTT streaming in the United States makes up for 34.8 per cent of the total TV consumption, surpassing even cable and broadcast television. It’s not long before we witness a similar trend in India, with stiff competition between OTT and traditional cable networks.

There’s immense potential in the OTT medium, and marketers must acknowledge its strengths. It is imperative to develop an OTT-led advertising strategy during IPL; it can help enhance brand visibility and increase engagement. IPL attracts cricket enthusiasts from all walks of life, so it’s a golden opportunity for brands to reach out to a diverse audience.

Understanding the medium

Hotstar, Zee5, and Amazon Prime are leading the OTT space and have become household names. The platforms are home to diverse content catering to an even more diverse audience. The content includes exclusive TV series, movies, and live sports events like IPL.

The best way to approach an OTT advertising strategy for any brand would be to start by identifying the platform, user demographics, peak viewing time, and type of content. The key is knowing the basics, which helps marketers shape ad content that appeals to the intended audience.

Creating engaging content

Any successful advertising strategy is backed by captivating content relatable to its target audience. Therefore, brands need to be mindful of the ads they are creating. For example, IPL matches are fast-paced that call for short-form video content. In addition, brands should try to capture the relatable elements of the game and lead with IPL-specific narratives.

Marketers must keep the cut-throat competition on OTT platforms during IPL in mind. Therefore, it’s crucial for brands to encourage quality ad production. From compelling scripts to appealing visuals, a quality ad should stand out in the crowded OTT advertising space.

Cross-device Targeting

One of the perks of advertising on OTT medium is the cross-platform targeting that is missing from the traditional mediums. Through the OTT medium, brands can easily reach their target audience regardless of their device. A cross-platform approach can help brands provide a consistent advertising experience, whether mobile phones, smart TVs, or laptops.

Leveraging Data Analytics

OTT platforms are a rich site for user data, giving brands and marketers insights into user behaviour, likes, and engagement patterns. This further helps brands target audiences precisely using content. In addition, data analytics allows brands to identify what type of content their audience prefers based on its performance.

Brands should also look beyond data analytics, regularly review ad performance, and improve their OTT advertising strategy. Having Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in place, such as view-through rate, completion rate, and click-through rate, can give brands a better understanding of ad performance. Brands should consistently optimise ads based on insights and introduce new ad formats and strategies for better results.

Taking a personalised approach

Personalisation is at the core of all advertising initiatives, and this is where OTT advertising gives an edge to marketers. Instead of relying on traditional ways, brands can engage their audience with personalized ad experiences. This includes targeting based on user location, viewing habits, or the teams they support.

With a plethora of opportunities for personalised and interactive advertising, the key is not to become intrusive. It is crucial to remember ads should not interrupt the viewer’s experience, or it might see a high skip rate. Maintaining the right balance between engagement and creating a seamless viewing experience is a challenging but important task.

Introducing New Formats

From display ads appearing with the content to pre-roll and mid-roll that play before or during the streaming content, several ad formats are available on OTT platforms. Another exciting and less intrusive format is native ads that seamlessly go with the content. Native ads are likelier to engage viewers who may find other formats intrusive.

Marketers should also look at introducing the use of Augmented Reality technologies for OTT advertising. Brands should work on developing AR filters around IPL and cricket. These AR-based ad experiences have the potential to engage more users interactively. For instance, AR filters allowing users to wear their favourite team’s jersey bring them closer to their favourite cricketer, which further adds to the overall engagement of the campaign.

Brand should also experiment with Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI), which allows for replacing an existing ad spot with a new one in real time. This paves the way for brands to create more relevant content for IPL viewers. For instance, an ad about a player scoring a century can be dynamically inserted immediately. This ad placement can considerably boost brand recall.

Partnering with IPL Teams

Several brands tie up with IPL teams to create exclusive content. This could include behind-the-scenes footage, player interviews, and interactive quizzes. In addition, brands could partner up with OTT platforms to stream exclusive content, attracting more viewers and creating more advertising possibilities.

The OTT revolution has changed the way people consume content. Content is far more accessible, diverse, and personalised than it ever was. This is an exciting opportunity for brands to connect with customers, especially during events like the IPL. However, it is crucial to understand the medium first and then create engaging content based on data.

(Sahil Chopra is the Founder & CEO of iCubesWire)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.