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IPL 2021: The surest bet for marketers in an unpredictable scenario

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Categories that do well in the morning are education and gaming as they start to see increased activity at 9am.Categories that do well in the morning are education and gaming as they start to see increased activity at 9am.Categories that do well in the morning are education and gaming as they start to see increased activity at 9am.

By  Sanjay Trisal

For the first time in 12 years, IPL has kicked off within 6 months of the previous season. Despite no stadium crowds, the sporting juggernaut grew more significantly than ever in 2020, and with enthusiasm continuing to soar from home, the looming uncertainty remains intact. However, one thing that is unquestionably certain is the pool of revenue opportunities for brands and marketers. With massive digital population, dedicated cricket fanbase and captive Indian viewership, the ongoing IPL 2021 offers a goldmine of unexplored possibilities for new-age digital marketers. To unlock these opportunities, here is a breakdown of game day mobile user insights from the previous season, vis-à-vis app categories as well as actionable tips to clock your next successful digital campaign.

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Morning (6am to 9am) 

With app purchases and sessions at their daily lows, not much happens in the morning on mobile devices. Categories that do well in the morning are Education and Gaming as they start to see increased activity at 9am.

Lunch (10am to 2pm)

By lunchtime, every category save for Entertainment starts to pick up. Food & Drink spikes highest at lunch, with its second-highest daily peak in revenue and sessions from noon to 2pm. As per the insights from 2020 IPL, Finance app revenue begins to climb at 10am, tapering off only by 7-8pm. This 10-hour period accounts for nearly three-quarters of all finance revenue. Open sessions are highest 10am to 2pm. Gamers seem to enjoy playing games during this time of the day, as they register their second-highest daily spike in sessions and revenue from noon to 2pm.

Afternoon Match (3pm to 6pm)

Afternoon matches were played on weekends, and so had comparatively minimal impact on app behavior. Finance and Gaming apps do well during this time. Gaming apps see peak revenue from 2pm to 8pm.

Evening Match (7pm to 10pm)

Live broadcast coverage of IPL matches coincides with the peak for open sessions across almost all categories. It’s also a revenue peak for Entertainment, Food & Drink and Shopping. Evenings are arguably more important for Food & Drink than with any other vertical. 7pm to 10pm accounts for 30% of sessions, whereas 6pm to 10pm accounts for over 40% of revenue. Entertainment thrives in these hours. The four hours between 7pm and 11pm accounts for 31% of revenue and over 42% of sessions.

Shopping apps get their greatest boost at this time, with almost 30% of revenue booked between 7pm to 11pm. 28% Gaming sessions are logged between 6pm to 10pm, with over 25% of revenue from 5pm to 9pm. Over 28% of open sessions for Finance are logged between 6pm to 10pm.

Post Match (10pm to 1am)

Most mobile activity winds down after the match. Entertainment apps are still somewhat active, whereas shopping apps still bring in revenue. Entertainment apps are still logging session activity. 15% of sessions happen between 10pm to midnight. Revenue remains strong for shopping apps from 10pm to 1am, a period accounting for almost 19% of income.

The wave of IPL has brought tides of strong and diverse viewership and a chance for brands and marketers to intelligently leverage this and immerse in the digital space. It is time to either swim or sink. The pandemic shadowed Season 14 has posed considerable challenges at brands and their marketers that includes: 

  1. Effective mass reach
  2. Maximizing the ROI potential
  3. Messaging that is not only engaging but also acknowledging community safety and precautions

While having an interesting conversation with a marketer few weeks ago, she asked, “We’ve become accustomed to seeing plenty of ads during IPL, but are they even effective?” This made me think – for marketers seeking to run effective IPL digital campaigns, having an hourly and resource-level granularity insights of the game days can prove to be an ideal marketing hack. No other campaign period demands such granular data to reach full potential than during this sporting juggernaut. IPL is an exhilarating, real-time experience, therefore brands and their marketers should be able to reconfigure and execute their campaigns at the same momentum.

For digital IPL campaigns, literally, every hour matters!

The author is  General Manager of India, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand at AppsFlyer. Views expressed are personal.

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