In this op-ed, Erin Koedam, sales director at programmatic Out-of-Home (OOH) firm Hivestack, explains why programmatic digital OOH (DOOH) ads could prove a winning combination for brands during the Women’s World Cup.
The explosion of interest in women’s football over the last few years has been astounding. In 2022, nearly 100,000 fans packed into Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium to watch their team play Wolfsburg and in turn, broke the attendance record for women’s football. Popularity continues to grow virtually, with the number of viewers tuning in to watch the final game of the FIFA Women’s World Cup having doubled between the 2015 tournament and the 2019 edition, reaching 260 million viewers.
This year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Final is predicted to be the biggest yet. The tournament, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand across nine cities, will see teams from 32 countries compete for the trophy. Fans from all around the world will travel to the region, with half a million tickets for the tournament already sold.
Presenting huge opportunities for brands, advertising during fast-paced sporting events like the FIFA Women’s World Cup comes with unique considerations. The fortunes of a nation can change in a split second, with the difference between a ball hitting the back of the net or bouncing off the crossbar being a matter of mere inches. Advertising needs to be able to reflect the mood of fans, staying relevant no matter how deep into the tournament they get. Brands looking to stay on the front foot with their audiences should look towards channels that prioritise flexibility, optimisation and, omnichannel success, with DOOH serving as an attention-grabbing solution.
Playing Advantage – Optimising Campaigns
As any wide midfielder will tell you, agility is key to success. This is no different for advertisers during events like this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup. Keeping up with every kick means campaigns need to be able to pivot in flight to improve the effectiveness of spend.
Traditionally, OOH is purchased via a direct insertion order weeks in advance. These longer-term buying cycles can provide the opportunity for brands to handpick inventory and active large big brand plays or one-off promotions. Once the first kickoff happens, messaging and flights are set in place, leaving little room for adjustments.
On the other foot, Programmatic DOOH enables marketers to maximise the potential of their ad spend through a data-driven approach. Insights gathered through multiple data sources can be utilised to redistribute the budget to more productive inventory or switch campaign creative to reflect the results on the pitch. This data-driven approach also enables granular audience targeting. Marketers can harness real-time audience patterns, via data on behavioural traits and audience movement, to deliver messaging only once a threshold of targeted audience members are in the proximity of a targeted screen. With the flow of crowds on matchdays causing large peaks and troughs, this ensures spend is not wasted on ad slots in times when fans are in a different part of a stadium and its grounds.
Scoring A Goal – Delivering Messaging At Key Moments
For football fans, there is no bigger moment than a goal. As the cliche goes, they change games no matter when they’re scored. Programmatic DOOH can be the perfect player to help marketers to take advantage of every twist and turn to deliver contextually relevant ads that resonate with fans.
Brands can do this by creating moments-based triggers during the campaign planning phase. These custom (application programme interface) API triggers can be set for any number of on-field events – whether it be a goal, red card, or a game’s eventual winner. If a brand has a sponsorship deal with a specific player, they could use these triggers to ensure that campaign creative with that player is shown if she scores. This increased contextual relevance resonates with audiences, increasing the impact of each campaign.
Similarly, no fan will want to be reminded of a recent heartbreak. With so many international fans spread out across the nine host cities, programmatic DOOH’s ability to respond to in-flight through environmental triggers ensures that optimistic campaign creative doesn’t clash with a fans feeling of disappointment.
It’s A Team Game – Creating Omnichannel Success
Especially in the early stages of a FIFA Women’s World Cup, the games come thick and fast. Audiences trying to keep up with all the happenings both on and off the pitch often find their attention dragged between numerous devices, apps, and channels. Modern marketers know that in today’s attention economy, well-executed omnichannel campaigns are vital to cut through the noise and reach audiences throughout the sales funnel.
Programmatic DOOH can be the midfield engine of any omnichannel team. Successful omnichannel campaigns rely on being able to reach across both online and offline environments with consistent messaging. Programmatic DOOH is in a unique position to bridge both these environments. Markers can utilise its targetability and measurability to successfully reach football fans with consistent messaging throughout the tournament.
A beverage brand, for example, could be displaying a creative for its latest drink on screens outside a stadium as fans make their way into pre-game. At halftime, those fans exposed to the messaging could be retargeted via social at halftime, with tailored messaging letting them know where in the stadium they could purchase that drink. When they are then home again watching the highlight on connected TV (CTV), further creatives could remind them again of the product.
Tentpole sporting events like the FIFA Women’s World Cup are the perfect opportunities for brands to capture the attention of fans globally. Implemented correctly, programmatic DOOH could be a brand’s top player in the field of omnichannel marketing strategies. Like all the best football players, its ability to turn heads, be on target and elevate the team around it will ensure that brands leave the pitch victorious.