The IPL just concluded recently, and while on one hand the ‘new normal’ ensured there were no fans in the stands, on the other it also meant people working from home were able to watch games in its entirety from the comfort of their homes, through TV and a popular OTT platform. IPL marketing was still extensively done, especially on the internet, and it’s time we understood this phenomenon from a digital marketing standpoint.
Here’s why (this year, especially) IPL was a digital marketing phenomenon:
#1 Record viewership on OTT platforms
According to BARC, the current season of IPL registered a record number of 7 billion viewing minutes for the first 41 matches, as compared to last year where the same number was 5.5 billion. The overall viewership was up by 28% from last year. Given these numbers, it’s a no-brainer that digital marketers would’ve got even more eyeballs than before.
#2 Digital ad spends went up by 20%
As was predicted by the Economic Times before the tournament began, digital ad spends went up this year. Which is a follow up to the previous point – marketers saw the opportunity and cashed in all their chips at the IPL table.
#3 Brands stepped up their digital game
From ‘virtual’ fan cheering to tweet questions to online cashbacks – brands ensured the fans didn’t feel this year’s IPL was any different from the previous years. For instance: members who paid their credit card bills on CRED during CRED Power Play – the most rewarding overs – won assured cashback. Some of them were even featured on the big LED displays at the closed stadiums.
#4 High-level influencer marketing
Brands like Stylam (partnering Kings XI Punjab) and Optimum Nutrition (partnering Royal Challengers Bangalore) made smart use of their players to promote their products subtly. The core messaging still revolved around cricket, but they found ways for their players to promote these brands.
#5 Engaging with fans in the local language
IPL teams have gone a step further with respect to regional content this year – it has seen an upswing in online content in the respective local languages.
These are just few ways in which IPL is a digital marketing phenomenon. As digital marketers, there are a lot of things we can learn from it. Every year, the stakes will continue to rise, no matter what the situation. The strength and diversity of the viewership has presented a great opportunity to different brands. While the country’s best players make a mark on the field, brands have also started intelligently leveraging the power of the IPL to create an impression across the board and among their key audiences. The various examples discussed showcases how spends are not the only key criterion while considering the IPL in your digital marketing and media mix, and how brands, despite their comparatively smaller investments have been able to reap great rewards through different marketing solutions.