The games are coming – do you know where your keywords are?
Each of these events unleashes a torrent of content: related news and commentary generated around the clock for weeks or months at a time. Every keyword a brand owns within that content serves to amplify its presence and engage its audience. Companies with a vested interest in the games – companies like Nike, for instance, who pay millions to sponsor top players and teams – need to align their brands and products with the high profile sports stars and teams to secure brand placements at every online mention of those players and teams. For example, Nike could own the word ‘Wayne Rooney’ so every time a user reads a relevant sporting story about Rooney, Nike’s ad would be initiated to play the latest Nike Pro Combat video.
We’ve seen a few instances of truly inspiring execution. For instance, a luxury auto brand activated its London Fashion Week sponsorship by buying up every keyword associated with that event. The team then deployed an in-text advertising campaign, and streamed its live Twitter feed straight from the runway into ad units placed across premium women’s lifestyle and fashion sites. CTRs were high, a new Twitter audience was engaged, and the brand was able to show women that it’s about more than just cars – it’s about style, too.
The cost of such initiatives is – to my mind – substantially lower, considering the potential for impact. For instance, a brand could own all Euro 2012 related keywords and brand terms across the UK for three months for less than $450k, depending on the nature of the campaign. For an official Olympic sponsor to own all Olympic keywords across all of the games for three months in the UK, with assured high-quality placements, would run about $3m. That’s about the price of a 30-second spot during a primetime Euro 2012 match.
The benefits of keyword targeting extend beyond their plain value. There’s evidence that advertising works best for consumers when it’s contextually relevant. As my colleague chief executive Cella Irvine wrote a few months back, “delivering good advertising (and by “good,” I mean relevant) is really about harnessing a moment… We’re all at our most receptive to advertising when it’s consistent with what’s on our mind at a given time.”
Now we have numbers to back her up. In a recent study by Vibrant Media and Dynamic Logic, consumers said they were 69% more likely to pay attention to ads that were relevant to the content they were viewing. Sixty-two percent said they had a more favorable impression of brands whose ads were relevant to the content being viewed.
Another case study: When a technology brand wanted to show off its analytical prowess, it used a major tennis event to build a real-time interactive scoreboard. This was hosted in a Vibrant ad unit that appeared alongside relevant tennis content online. Users got more than the match score; they also got a reading on match “momentum,” which allowed users to experience one way the company extracts meaning from data. The effectiveness of the campaign stemmed from the fact that words about the tennis competition and players were used to make the ad even more relevant to the user.
I’ve cited just two of a dozen brilliant keyword-targeting campaigns. But I want to note that there are also effective strategies for non-official sponsors to get a branding boost from these events. Outside of the Olympics, during which only official sponsors can own words online, there are many opportunities for brands without the time or resources to align themselves to the nation’s favourite sporting events.
The takeaway, then, is not to overlook keywords as a powerful way for brands to engage their desired and interested audience. After all, soon the Euro 2012 will be a distant memory, and we’ll all be off sharing, posting, and liking our favorite ads. So get off the bench, and get into the game.
Martin Forbes, senior vice president and managing director for Europe, Vibrant Media
Vibrant is a world leader in contextual technology aligning billions of words across the internet with relevant video, information, tools and advertising. With over 6,500 premium publishers, reaching more than 250 million unique users per month (comScore, 2011), Vibrant gives top brand marketers the opportunity to deliver highly targeted advertisements within premium Web content and offers publishers premium editorial tools to re-circulate users throughout their websites. Vibrant clients include Microsoft, General Motors, Unilever, Sainsbury’s and Hewlett Packard.
The company, founded in 2000, has offices in London, New York, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris, Hamburg, Munich and Dusseldorf. Vibrant has featured in the Inc. 500 and Deloitte Fast 50 lists, and in the UK: Media Momentum 2006, 2007; 2008 and Sunday Times Tech Track in 2004 and 2005. www.vibrantmedia.co.uk or www.hyperlinkevolved.com or http://ww.facebook.com/vibrantmedia or http://twitter.com/vibrantmedia.