Arjit Sachdeva, co-founder of VDO.AI, a global advertising technology innovator, talks to Storyboard18 on trends to watch for in the advertising industry during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup (the one-day international tournament that India will host from October 5 to November 19) and the role of connected TV (CTV, where users stream content from the internet) during marquee events.
What are the trends and opportunities for advertisers and publishers or platforms in the context of the World Cup?
The fervour for cricket in India, particularly during events like the World Cup, is truly unmatched. This enthusiasm extends beyond the dedicated fan base and captures the attention of advertisers and publishers alike, who view these occasions as golden opportunities to showcase their products and services to captivate their audiences. To seize this potential, brands are strategically aligning themselves with the primary source of World Cup content, which predominantly resides on the CTV and OTT platforms.
Reflecting on past cricket events, such as the IPL (Indian Premier League), it becomes evident that brands like Dream11, Swiggy and MRF adeptly harnessed these platforms to forge meaningful connections with their target audiences and drive conversions. These events not only provided a unique chance to engage with cricket enthusiasts but also tapped into the vast viewership these tournaments command. This trend underscores how brands increasingly recognise the potential of CTV and OTT platforms in enhancing their visibility and bolstering brand awareness. This also presents an excellent opportunity to potentially boost sales, as exemplified by the remarkable success of Tata Tiago EV's advertising campaign during the IPL.
A key facet of this evolving trend involves brands forming strategic partnerships with cricketing stars and popular content creators, individuals who have cultivated substantial followings among viewers. By leveraging the appeal of these popular figures in CTV advertising, brands create a profound sense of relatability, forging authentic connections with their target audience.
It's worth highlighting that even B2B brands have entered the advertising arena surrounding major cricket tournaments, often becoming sponsors themselves. The surging demand for advertising in this space has driven up CPMs (cost per thousand, a measure of cost to audience numbers that advertisers use to gauge the efficiency of their messaging), primarily attributable to the vast viewership these events command. This dynamic landscape underscores the multifaceted nature of cricket event advertising, where B2C advertisers, publishers and even B2B entities converge to capitalise on the cricket frenzy that grips India and beyond.
Meanwhile, publishers are playing a pivotal role in the advertising ecosystem by facilitating effective connections between brands and their audiences. Expanding beyond CTV and OTT platforms, sports websites have emerged as potent avenues for revenue monetisation, offering competitive CPM rates.
Publishers, recognising the value of their digital real estate, have adeptly tapped into the potential for revenue generation by providing advertisers with a diverse range of platforms. This expansion into website monetisation broadens the scope of advertising during cricket events, offering brands a multifaceted approach to engaging with viewers. Consequently, publishers have become indispensable partners in ensuring that brands can maximise their impact and returns during these highly anticipated sporting spectacles.
What is the role of CTV in reaching a diverse and engaged audience? How can advertisers optimise revenue via CTV and OTT during events like the World Cup?
CTV has truly revolutionised the advertising sector, offering a dynamic platform to engage with viewers spanning diverse demographics and regions. Beyond its advertising capabilities, CTV stands out for its provision of comprehensive reporting and statistical data, empowering real-time, insightful decision-making. This invaluable resource allows us to precisely customise advertising campaigns to specific demographic segments, transcending age, gender, and location constraints. Whether it's targeting Millennial or Gen Z sports enthusiasts during an ICC World Cup match, CTV's adaptability remains unparalleled.
In the context of regional brands, CTV serves as a game changer by facilitating precise access to local markets. This empowers the creation of hyper-targeted campaigns that resonate with specific regions, languages and cultural nuances. For instance, during the World Cup, our support to regional FMCG brands includes creating technologically-driven dynamic ads that deeply resonate with sports enthusiasts in specific regions. By aligning their messaging with the fervour of the World Cup, these brands can significantly enhance their visibility and establish stronger connections with local consumers. This localised advertising strategy ensures that regional FMCG brands can effectively engage their target audience, ultimately leading to heightened brand recognition, loyalty and, most importantly, a substantial boost in their ROI (return on investment).
To optimise brand revenue while keeping a privacy-first approach on CTV and OTT platforms, we employ contextual advertising and action-driven ad formats designed for interaction, encouraging viewers to engage directly with our content. For instance, the incorporation of QR codes and map-locators into our ads seamlessly bridges the gap between the CTV screen and mobile devices, enabling viewers to easily access additional information or special offers with a simple scan. This approach not only enriches the viewer experience but also provides a clear path for conversion, such as guiding viewers to physical stores or specific web pages tailored to their interests.
Other than that, our integration of remote-based interactive features allows viewers to engage in real-time polls, contests or instant purchases directly through their remote controls. Notably, VDO.AI's recent data report has revealed a remarkable 164 percent surge in engagement rates through contextual advertising, emphasising the effectiveness of these innovative approaches in driving meaningful interactions and, ultimately, revenue growth.
How can brands leverage CTV and OTT for the 2023 World Cup? Please share some insights on how much ad spend can take place during the tournament.
Leveraging CTV and OTT platforms for the 2023 World Cup is a strategic imperative for brands looking to create a lasting impact. Drawing inspiration from the success of numerous past campaigns, it's evident that brands have a wealth of innovative ad formats at their disposal to captivate viewers. For instance, the integration of interactive overlays and immersive ad experiences during live matches can be a game changer. These approaches not only elevate engagement but also offer viewers an avenue for active participation, forging a deeper connection with the brand.
To further enhance interactivity, brands can explore dynamic ad formats such as 3D ads or include gamification elements within their CTV and display campaigns. These initiatives empower viewers to engage with the content in an enjoyable and meaningful manner, consequently extending their time spent with the brand. Moreover, harnessing the power of social media integration can stimulate real-time conversations and content sharing, amplifying the campaign's reach well beyond the confines of CTV and OTT platforms.
Brands are poised to make significant investments in leveraging CTV and OTT platforms during the 2023 World Cup, with ad spend for this highly anticipated event expected to reach remarkable heights. Notably, key sectors like B2C, including FMCG and automobiles, are likely to lead the charge in terms of ad spend. Estimates suggest that each brand's ad spend during the World Cup could range from approximately Rs 24 lakh to Rs 30 lakh //changed million to lakh to conform to style//, reflecting their substantial commitment to connect with the cricket-loving audience.
What's particularly noteworthy is that brands aren't confining their resources solely to the World Cup; they are also synchronising this spend with festive season advertising campaigns. To maximise their impact, brands are adopting a dynamic approach, adjusting their advertisements based on audience interactions. This trend underscores the notion that the audience plays a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of these ads. In this dynamic landscape, consumer interaction and engagement are paramount, serving as critical determinants in brand consideration. This flexible approach ensures that brands remain agile and responsive to the evolving preferences and interests of their target audience during the World Cup, thereby optimising their ad spend for maximum effectiveness.