Joe Laszlo: April 2012 Archives

A Method to the Mobile Madness

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Mobile media is booming. According to the IAB’s latest figures (released only yesterday), 2011 US mobile ad revenues reached $1.6 billion, up a remarkable 149 percent over 2010.

In addition to tracking the dollars and cents, the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence has undertaken a series of research briefs looking at the role of mobile in consumers’ lives, especially as it relates to major events (Super Bowl XLVI, holiday shopping). This week, we’ve released the latest piece in that series, looking at mobile and the NCAA’s March Madness 2012 tournament.

For this project, the IAB teamed up with Millennial Media to show that the real winners of the college basketball season were fans who kept their smartphones and tablets by their side. From checking scores and watching highlights to interacting with friends, family and alumni, consumers turned to their mobile devices as a key screen for engaging with content, driving overall traffic on the Millennial Media platform up over 10 percent during the games.

Our survey of over 2,000 U.S. adults reveals that nearly three out of four (79%) March Madness viewers who own mobile devices used them in some way to keep up with the tournament. A significant number of those people (69%) agreed that having a mobile device has made it convenient to follow the tournament, and 21% said that they purchased a mobile app specifically related to March Madness.

For enthusiastic fans of March Madness—people who agreed that they are passionate about the tournament this year because a favorite team was in it—“mobile madness” was even more the norm: 88 percent of them used mobile devices for a March Madness-related activity, and 26 percent said they followed March Madness primarily by using their smartphone.

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Data from Millennial Media’s network uncovered keen usage of mobile during the tournament. On the opening day, when excitement was at its peak, impressions in sports apps were up over 30 percent relative to one week earlier, and from 7-11pm ET, social media app impressions were up over 40 percent. In the early days of the tournament, finance was the leading advertising vertical on the Millennial Media platform, followed by telecom, entertainment and retail & restaurants.

Mobile devices clearly upped the game for fans of March Madness, and these findings should also be relevant looking ahead to similar huge, multiday sporting events like the UEFA Euro 2012 soccer tournament and of course this summer’s Olympic games in London. Brand marketers need to know that mobile should be a key part of their strategy to reach fans effectively during these exciting, engaging events.

About the Author

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Joe Laszlo


Joe Laszlo is Deputy Director of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence at the IAB.