Cut the cookie: How brands can win at sports marketing in Google’s new cookie-less world

By December 2, 2021 No Comments

Josh Linforth, Managing Director of Media & Engagement at Genius Sports, explains why first-party audience data and live data-powered sports content are key for brands looking to engage and sell to sports fans.

Sports fans’ attention is becoming increasingly fragmented. John might scroll Twitter for team news but then ESPN for stats and analysis. And Sarah might prefer, or YouTube and Sports Illustrated when looking for something more in-depth.

For every fan, this experience is unique; the what, when and where differs for each individual. And for brands looking for a share of their screen time, every interaction needs to be relevant and personalized to stand any chance of being heard.

Previously, third-party cookies enabled this to a limited to degree. But as their viability decreases, marketers need to adapt to find a new way to reach these audiences.

The key lies in  contextually relevant activations utilizing live data to capture fan interest.

Know every fan

Our new report, Unlock the world’s biggest sports audience, profiles trends in NFL fan engagement and the world of sports marketing.

It aims to help brands truly understand NFL fans and maximize their sales and monetization potential.

For example, we don’t just tell you that Twitter makes your brand 31% more memorable during live TV sport but exactly how to hone your messaging and ad delivery.

For a client in a recent campaign, live in-game data-driven content relating to the match delivered a 1.8x return on social media ad spend.

This technique always performs best when powered by official sports data. Official data – which we have exclusive rights to fuel campaigns with when relating to the NFL and NCAA – enables rich and insightful messaging that’s delivered in real-time when key moments such as touchdown and goals occur.

This data is not only reliable and instant. It’s sanctioned by the sport directly, funds them at a grassroots level and is privacy compliant. It offers an unmatched level of integrity.

Once you have your strategy, finding the right moment and message for every fan is crucial. This requires a deep understanding that’s only possible with first-party audience data and contextual sports data. Many brands garner audience data via their own channels, but in our case, it stems from 20 years’ campaign experience and direct, exclusive partnerships with sports leagues and publishers.

We have access to unique audience data from hundreds of these organisations to power your campaigns. But equally, we allow you to plug your own into our marketing tech and SaaS-based platform.

Put content first

As I mentioned earlier, the modern sports fan’s attention is highly fragmented. They scroll and scroll and only stop to read things that really catch their eye. So what better content to serve them than something that literally relates to their favorite sport and club?

That’s why we always recommend adopting a highly-relevant live data-led approach over something overtly salesy.

Dull, generic messaging is no longer enough to capture consumer interest. Research shows 60% of NFL viewers want more Super Bowl content from brands.

And across our customer base, this is proven to optimise spend and drive results.

In push messaging, copy involving sports game stats lifts conversions by on average 5-10% according to our previous report.

With the Super Bowl not far away, brands are already strategizing how to harness sport to grow sales and subscriptions. The same goes for March Madness. But those that achieve the best ROI will be those who fully understand the audience and how to find a personalized approach for each individual.

You can read our latest report, Unlock the world’s biggest sports audience, here.