A Complete Guide To Advertising in IPL Cricket 2020 on Hotstar App

IPL 2020 advertising on Hotstar

What would we cover in this article?

Following are the topics we would discuss in the article. You can skip to relevant sections by following the links below.

advertising during live sports ensure you reach out to highly engaged audience

Why do brands like advertising during live streaming/broadcasting of sports?

Sports and advertising always go hand-in-hand or rather follow a symbiotic relationship. Sponsorship of team, stadium, and merchandise has been the oldest form of sports advertising through which sports teams used to get money to sustain while sponsors received recognition and consideration from the sports fans. With time as the advertising models evolved to include other media like newspaper, radio, television and now digital media, the scope of advertising expanded although the emotions associated with the sports still remain the same.

Following are some of the reasons why brands prefer advertising during live streaming of sports:

  • Highly engaged audience: Though streaming on the same devices as series, movies or other content, live sports are far more engaging. Sports matches are not only a source of entertainment but major events that attract a lot of news and discussions. It’s like an edge of the seat thriller where each and every action can lead to a different outcome. Hence, it commands the highest level of attention by the viewers who don’t even change channels or swap the screens during commercial breaks which are much shorter too.
  • Strong emotional connect: Sports is not only a source of entertainment but a demonstration of action, skill, group dynamics, leadership, entertainment as well as pride (team/state/national level). The motive to watch live sports might vary for the sports audience from national pride to following a particular sports player, but the emotions are strong and everything that happens during a match leaves a deep and long-lasting impact on the audience’s mind including which brands were associated with the match.
  • Positive association with brands: Sports is often associated with several positive emotions- patriotism, a bias for action, brotherhood, transparency, fair play, etc. When a brand associates itself with sports, in the audience’s minds, similar associations are formed with the brands too.
IPL is undoubtedly one of the most popular sports advertising platform

Indian Premier League: The Baap of Manoranjan

Cricket, Cinema, and Politics are the top 3 favorite topics of any Indian. Cricketers are the biggest icons and most influential in India, sometimes bigger than movie actors.

The love for cricket transcended the national boundaries in 2008 when the Indian Premier League was launched. On similar lines of the English Premier League, the Indian Premier League was conceptualized to bring sports and entertainment together.

Currently, IPL has 8 teams who are named after 6 metros and 2 states of India- Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Punjab and Rajasthan. These teams are owned by corporates and celebrities. Every year there is an auction where team owners bid for their players from a list of selected players from Indian as well as overseas cricket teams.

Every year, IPL takes place in the months of March, April and May. Usually, the matches take place in all the 8 home states of the teams in 20-20 format.

Apart from being a sporting event, IPL is also packed with entertainment and marketing events. From quirky ads to catchy jingles, contests, celebrities performance, fantasy sports league, on-ground activation, there has been no stone unturned when it comes to promoting the mega event called IPL. In terms of popularity, if we compare popularity and search trend for IPL (held every year) to ICC Cricket World Cup (biggest cricket event globally held every 4 years), IPL exhibits higher search volume. (as shown in the figure below)

Though world cup happens every 4 years and is the biggest event in cricket, IPL creates similar or more buzz
IPL on Hotstar has gathered more than 300 million viewership in 2019

IPL Live Streaming on Hotstar

In 2017, Star India bagged the television and digital broadcasting rights for the Indian Premier League. This means that Star India channels in case of TV and Hotstar in terms of digital have the official rights to broadcast and stream live IPL matches.  

Hotstar is the digital arm of Star India. It is the biggest video OTT platform in India and it crossed 300+ million Monthly Active Users in the last IPL season. Following are some of the important facts about IPL 2019 on Hotstar:

  • Regional Language Feed: Apart from English and Hindi, IPL 2019 matches had commentaries in regional languages Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Bengali.
  • Social Media Integration: Apart from live-streaming, Hotstar also introduced Watch n Play where the audience can play guessing games, win prizes, watch key info about matches and also share messages, emojis, etc with others. (as shown in the image below)
Hotstar advertising also has an option to advertise in the live social feed
Watch n Play in Hotstar saw 64 million users in the year 2019
  • Exclusive Cricket Content: Apart from this, just like Television telecast, pre-match and post-match analysis by Cricket experts also forms a part of the experience.
  • Who can watch IPL matches live on Hotstar? The following audience can watch IPL live matches on Hotstar:
    • Premium & VIP Users: Premium and VIP members of Hotstar can watch all the matches live.
    • Free Users: Free users can watch live matches for 10 minutes for free. After that, they would have to subscribe to VIP or Premium to watch the complete matches.
    • Jio Users: Jio users can watch all the matches live on Hotstar for free without subscribing to VIP or Premium.
IPL audience on Hotstar is young urban male

IPL on Hotstar: Understanding The Audience

  • Reach: IPL 2019 witnessed a reach of 300+ million. In IPL 2020, the reach will be over 400 million.
  • Young audience: 88% of the IPL audience on Hotstar is between 18-35 years of age.
Age-wise distribution of Hotstar audience
  • Urban audience: About 60% of the IPL audience on Hotstar is urban. Following is the division of urban audience based on town population.
Comparison of audience profile of TV vs Hotstar based on metros and nonmetros
  • Male: About 88% of the IPL audience on Hotstar is male ~150 million
  • Engaged audience: 64 million people played Watch n Play live along with the match and 44 million comments were shared on the social feed during IPL 2019.

IPL on Hotstar: Advantages for advertisers

  • Audience profile: Major part of IPL audience on Hotstar is formed by the millennials and Gen Z (Above 15 years of age), urban males with high purchasing power and high propensity to buy. It is quite difficult to get a similar audience platform on any other platform.
  • Highly engaged users: Apart from live sports, Hotstar also offers regional language commentary, a live sports game to play and a social feed to share emojis and comments. The result is a highly engaged user. According to the India Watch Report 2019 released by Hotstar, users who engaged with Watch n Play spent 1.5X time on the platform.
  • Brand association with IPL: IPL is one of the highest valued brands in the country and last year it grew by 13.5%. People are emotionally connected to the brand as well as consider it one of the most premium brands. Apart from this, IPL matches are high-impact platforms where ads can leave a long-lasting effect on the audience’s mind.
  • Low cost per reach: 1000 ad impressions (views) can cost as low as INR 120, ie. 12 paise per view.
  • Low advertising budget: Sports advertising is widely popular for being a high-impact property. For years, sports advertising has meant television advertising where although reach is high, advertising packages have been exorbitantly high-priced. Hotstar has disrupted this practice by offering advertising packages for as low as INR 1 Lakh. Now advertisers have more power in their hands to decide where and how to advertise.
  • Targeting options: One of the major advantages that Hotstar offers is the ability to target the audience during a live match. This is something unheard of other platforms. Hotstar which has an edge when it comes to technical expertise and high reach offers a number of audience targeting filters to select their audience. We will discuss this in detail in the next section.

Also read IPL Advertising: Hotstar vs Television.

IPL on Hotstar: What are the various options for advertising on Hotstar

Hotstar advertising options during IPL 2020

Ad Purpose: Drive Awareness

Brands who want to raise their awareness among the audience and capture their attention should opt for branding ad options. These are apt for both online and offline brands like FMCG, automobile, etc. These ads are charged on the basis of views/impressions. The objective of these ads would be to reach out to a maximum number of people and gain their attention and trust by showing these ads an optimum number of times.

  • Mid Roll Video Ads
Mid roll video ads on Hotstar during IPL matches

Mid-roll video ads are 10-30 sec non-skippable ads that would be played during the over breaks, drink breaks and other breaks during the live streaming of matches. These ads are very effective in terms of branding because they are long enough to narrate a touching story and are delivered to an audience that is highly engaged in the match. However, these might not be a very good option for driving traffic to the website. Only one level of targeting is possible for mid-roll video ads.

  • Pre Roll Video Ads
Pre-roll video ads on Hotstar during  IPL matches

Pre-roll video ads are 6/10-sec long non-skippable ads that are played before the live streaming of a game starts. Since these are played before the live streaming of matches, they are not as high impact as mid-roll ads but experience a higher CTR. Three levels of targeting are possible in the case of mid-roll video ads.

  • Branded Cards
branded cards advertising on Hotstar during IPL

Branded Cards are simple banners that carry the brand logo and message. These are placed just below the live streaming of match in the social live feed. Brand cards can also go under 3 levels of targeting.

Ad Purpose: Drive Traffic

Brands who want to send the audience to their website should opt for performance ad options. These are apt for online brands that have an online presence in the form of a website or app where the user can get more detailed information and make a purchase. These ads are charged on the basis of clicks. The objective of these ads is to maximize the number of website visitors by showing the ad to the relevant audience.

  • Instream Ads
instream ads are display ads during  live IPL matches on Hotstar

Instream ads are display ads that appear during the live streaming of the match on the match screen for 10 sec. The instream ads are clickable and are charged per click basis. They are quite effective in driving traffic to the website. Three levels of targeting are possible in the case of instream ads.

Following is a comparative table having details about all the four ads types:

 Mid-RollPre-RollBranded CardsInstream Ad
ObjectiveBrandingBrandingBrandingPerformance
Ad FormatVideoVideoDisplayDisplay
Ad Length10-30 sec5-10 secNA10 sec
PlacementWithin the live video, during over breaks/drink breaksBefore the live video starts streamingAppears in the social live feedPlays within the live video
Avg CTR~0.2% to 0.5%~2% to 4%~0.5%~0.4%
Pricing ModelCPMCPMCPMCPC
No. Of Targeting Possible13*3*3*

*Subject to availability

IPL on Hotstar: Understanding the Targeting Options

Hotstar offers 27 cohorts/target audience groups for advertisers to select from. These targeting options are divided into 3 categories/levels.

  • Geography Targeting

Based on geography, there are 20 location options to select the target geography. Advertisers can select one or a combination of more than one location based on their target audience. Following are the 20 locations options:

  1. Top six metros: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad
  2. States: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh+Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab+Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha

Advertisers can select a combination of them as well as pre-selected combinations like all top 6 metro cities, Hindi Speaking Market, etc.

  • Audience Targeting

Audience targeting is based on the audience profile ie, gender and handset value.

  1. Male (Age 30+)
  2. Female (All age groups)
  3. Premium handsets
  • Interest Targeting

Interest targeting takes into consideration the audience’s affinity towards these four categories. It is based on the types of apps present on the user’s mobile.

  1. E-commerce
  2. Travel
  3. Fashion/Lifestyle
  4. Finance

For mid-roll video ads, only one cohort can be selected. For other advertising options, up to 3 levels of targeting can be selected but the advertiser has to select each from one category only (except geography). For example, a brand can select multiple locations from geography targeting options but only one from audience targeting options and interest targeting respectively.

How to use the IPL audience targeting options to maximum effect: Some Examples

Having to choose the one right targeting option out of 27 cohorts is a difficult and confusing choice to make. So, in this section, we would discuss some of the cohorts and find out an example of a known brand that can advertise using this targeting option.

Please note: As seen in the previous section on the IPL audience profile on Hotstar, we know that 88% of the IPL audience on Hotstar is male, 88% of viewers are below 35 years of age and the majority of the population is urban. Brands should keep this data point in mind while deciding upon the targeting option.

geography targeting for a lungi brand advertising on Hotstar during IPL

Example 1: Targeting a particular state: KKB Lungi

About the brand: KKB is a very popular lungi brand in the country.

Reason to select the targeting option: Lungi is particularly very popular in the Southern part of India. Men wear lungis at home as well as in public as well. Considering Hotstar has a significant population of the male population, targeting particular geographies like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh/Telangana, and Karnataka can help the brand to reach out to the audience in target geographies only.

metro cities targeting for a furniture rental brand advertising on Hotstar during IPL

Example 2: Targeting all the metro cities: Furlenco

About the brand: Furlenco is a popular furniture and appliances rental company.

Reason to select the targeting option: Furlenco has a presence in the top 6 metro cities. Considering the very high percentage of migrants in these metro cities (males form a higher percentage of migrant population) and the convenience of renting furniture and appliances instead of buying, the IPL audience on Hotstar is a perfect fit for targeting. Hence, targeting the IPL audience in the six metros is a good idea for a company like Furlenco.

hindi speaking market targeting for an online ludo game on Hotstar during IPL

Example 3: Targeting The Hindi Speaking Market: Hello Ludo

About the brand: Hello Ludo is a popular online ludo game.  

Reason to select the targeting option: Ludo is a favorite pass-time in the northern regions of India. By advertising in the Hindi Speaking Market, brands like Hello Ludo which are popular in the Hindi Speaking Market (primarily among the male population), can reach out to more people in the relevant markets.

gender targeting for alcoholic beverages on Hotstar during IPL

Example 4: Targeting Male above 30 years: Glenfiddich

About the brand: Glenfiddich is a premium alcoholic beverage

Reason to select the targeting option: Males are the primary target group for alcoholic beverages. Considering the legal age of drinking in India is 21 years, targeting the male population above 30 years is a good idea.

gender targeting for sanitary pad advertising on Hotstar for IPL

Example 5: Targeting Female: Niine

About the brand: Niine is a sanitary pad brand

Reason to select the targeting option: IPL is a high impact advertising property and provides the best launchpad for brand-awareness campaigns. A sanitary pad is a product that’s used by females of all ages and in all geographies. Hence, targeting the female audience who’s watching IPL live on Hotstar can be a good idea.

premium handset targeting for apple products advertising on Hotstar durign IPL

Example 6: Targeting people with premium handsets: Imagine Stores

About the brand: Imagine stores are retailers of Apple products

Reason to select the targeting option: Apple products are expensive. People who already own a premium handset have a high affinity towards buying expensive handsets and other gadgets by Apple.

 interest targeting for  ecommerce brand advertising on Hotstar during IPL

Example 7: Targeting people having an interest in E-commerce: Entertainment Store

About the brand: Entertainment Store is an offline/online retailer for official merchandise

Reason to select the targeting option: Audience having e-commerce apps show a high affinity towards buying products online. Any retailer having an online sales channel should consider e-commerce targeting.

interest targeting for a travel brand on hotstar during ipl

Example 8: Targeting people having an interest in Travel: Rajasthan Tourism

About the brand: Rajasthan Tourism is the official tourism body of Rajasthan

Reason to select the targeting option: Audience having travel-related apps show a high affinity towards traveling. Travel related brands like the tourism department or luggage brand or travel agencies should consider travel targeting.

interest targeting for custom shirt brand advertising on Hotstar for IPL

Example 9: Targeting people having an interest in Fashion/Lifestyle: Bombay Shirt Company

About the brand: Bombay Shirt Company is a custom-made tailored shirt brand

Reason to select the targeting option: Audience having fashion-related apps show a high affinity towards buying fashion/lifestyle products. Fashion/lifestyle related brands should consider fashion/lifestyle targeting.

interest targeting for finance apps on Hotstar during IPL

Example 10: Targeting people having an interest in Finance: Groww

About the brand: Groww is an online investment tool

Reason to select the targeting option: Audience having finance-related apps show a high affinity towards online transaction/investment.

IPL 2020 Advertising Rates

  • For Pre-roll & Mid-roll video: INR 120 for a 10-sec video for 1000 ad impressions
  • For Branded cards: INR 120 for 1000 ad impressions
  • For Instream ads: INR 10 per click
  • For each level of targeting- additional INR 120 for 1000 ad impressions (except for Instream ads)

How to calculate the cost of advertising on IPL 2020 on Hotstar?

Understanding the IPL advertising rates can be quite confusing because of the targeting levels and ad length. So, here’s a simple flowchart that would help you understand the IPL 2020 advertising rates.

A simple flowchart to calculate your IPL advertising cost for 2020

Following is a figure above in a tabular format below:

Cost calculation for IPL advertising on Hotstar

Common questions about IPL advertising

Q. Can advertisers select certain matches?

A. Yes

Q. Can advertisers schedule multiple creatives as per the match?

A. Yes

Q. Will the ads be shown to the paid subscribers for Hotstar?

A. Yes, but advertisers cannot select paid or non-paid subscribers exclusively.

Q. Can advertisers set a frequency cap for the ads?

A. No, advertisers cannot set a frequency cap for the ads but after the campaign ends, we can get a report to know the actual frequency cap of the ads.

Q. Can we re-target the audience on other programs after IPL advertising?

A. Yes

Hotstar Advertising during IPL: Some Case Studies

Following are some Hotstar advertising case studies:

1. How a gaming brand raised brand awareness and drove app visits through Hotstar advertising

  • Brand: Howzat
  • Category: Gaming
  • Campaign Objective: To build brand awareness, to drive app visit
  • Approach & Targeting: Interest-based targeting- gaming enthusiasts
  • Creative: Display Ads (as shown in the figure below)
Hotstar advertising for Howzat
  • Impact:
    • Reached 2.5 million+ audience
    • 55,000+ viewers were engaged

2. How an e-commerce brand increased its sales by driving traffic to its website through Hotstar advertising

  • Brand: Bewakoof.com
  • Category: E-commerce
  • Campaign Objective: To drive incremental sales by reaching and redirecting relevant audience to their online store (app & mweb)
  • Approach & Targeting: Interest-based targeting- shoppers
  • Creative:
    • Pre-roll and mid-roll video ads
    • Native display ads
hotstar advertising for bewakoof.com
  • Impact:
    • ROI > 1.3 over the first 4 weeks (Dec’19) for Men’s winter clothing range
    • The campaign also delivered > 1.5k installs for Bewakoof App over the 7-day view-through attribution window
    • High Intent Traffic – Avg Purchase >₹ 500

3. How a university generated 1000 high-quality leads through Hotstar advertising

  • Brand: Centurion University
  • Category: Education
  • Campaign Objective: To build brand awareness and generate sales leads
  • Approach & Targeting: Demographic targeting- Age between 18-24 years
  • Creative: Video Ads
hotstar advertising for centurion university
  • Impact:
    • 1000 leads generated
    • 17 conversions

4. How a B2B Finance App built awareness and drove app installs

  • Brand: Khatabook
  • Category: Finance
  • Campaign Objective: To reach a relevant audience to build awareness and drive app installs
  • Approach & Targeting: B2B targeting- retailers and business owners
  • Creative: Mid-roll Video Ads
hotstar advertising for Khatabook
  • Impact:
    • 1.5 lakh installs

5. How an FMCG brand conveyed geo-targeted message in key markets through Hotstar advertising

  • Brand: Maggi
  • Category: FMCG
  • Campaign Objective: Geo – targeted messaging to build brands in key markets
  • Approach & Targeting: Creatives specific to each market
  • Creative: Mid-roll Video Ads
  • Impact:
    • 16% increase in brand awareness
    • 9% increase in a purchase intent

IPL Advertising Tips: How to design an effective creative?

A number of our customers ask us if there are any tips/best practices that we can share on how the video creatives for Hotstar advertising during IPL matches should be. So, we thought we would add the same here.

One important thing to keep in mind while conceptualizing an IPL ad is that during IPL live matches, the audience is totally engrossed in the cricket match. Hence, while we understand that it’s a high impact spot but a lot of it also depends on the video creative. If the creative is contextual and captures the audience’s attention without being a distractor, then the purpose is solved. For example, Swiggy had an insight that while watching a match, people usually order food. Using this insight, they designed the entire campaign where for every sixer, a special discount was offered to the audience. This is the best example of driving website traffic and purchase without diverting the audience’s attention from the game.

Some of the tips that we have gathered from our past campaigns are:

1. Try to keep the creative length below 20 sec: Breaks during live matches are usually very small and so is the audience’s attention span. A small and crisp ad would ensure that the ad is played completely and maximum information is conveyed within the minimum time.

2. The brand name should appear within the first 2 frames: Audience usually loses interest in the ad after the first few seconds only hence, for them to know the brand name, the brand should appear early in the video.

3. Contextual ads perform better: We will see some examples of this in the next section.

4. A known face does half of the work: When trying to establish a brand, known faces help the audience connect with the brand and the ad.

5. Video plus image: Video ad is meant for branding while image ads are good for performance. If possible use both to get the best results.

6. Don’t force a CTA button: IPL advertising is the best when it comes to advertising for branding. Although ads on Hotstar receive a healthy percentage of clicks, it is advisable not to force the audience to visit your site, purchase an item, etc.

We hope you liked this article. In case you would like to know anything more about IPL advertising on Hotstar, share your query with us in the comment section and we would add it in the article.

If you would want to explore IPL advertising on Hotstar, visit our website at https://www.themediaant.com/digital/ipl-2020-on-hotstar-app-advertising or write to us at Help@TheMediaAnt.com.

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