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.
- Advantages of advertising during live streaming of sports
- Popularity of IPL
- IPL live streaming on Hotstar: Languages and other features
- Understanding the IPL audience on Hotstar
- Why should brands advertise on Hotstar?
- Advertising options on Hotstar during IPL live streaming
- IPL Advertising targeting options and examples
- IPL 2020 Advertising Rates
- Common questions about IPL advertising
- IPL Advertising on Hotstar: Some Case Studies
- IPL Advertising Tips: How to design an effective creative?
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.
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. This year, unfortunately, due to COVID-19, IPL slated to commence in March was postponed and now would be played between September 19, 2020, and November 10, 2020, in UAE.
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)
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)
- 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 5 minutes per day for free. After that, they would have to subscribe to VIP or Premium to watch the complete matches.
- Reach: IPL 2019 witnessed a reach of 300+ million. In IPL 2020, the reach is expected to cross this figure.
- Young audience: 88% of the IPL audience on Hotstar is between 18-35 years of age.
- Urban audience: About 60% of the IPL audience on Hotstar is urban. Following is the division of urban audience based on town population.
- 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.
- 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 180, ie. 18 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.
Brands who want to raise their awareness among the audience and capture their attention should definitely opt for IPL advertising on Hotstar. 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 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 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 pre-roll video ads.
- Branded Cards
Following is a comparative table having details about all the three ads types:
|Ad Length||10-30 sec||6 sec||NA|
|Placement||Within the live video, during over breaks/drink breaks||Before the live video starts streaming||Appears in the social live feed|
|Avg CTR||~0.2% to 0.5%||~2% to 4%||~0.5%|
|No. Of Targeting Possible||1||3*||3*|
*Subject to availability
Hotstar offers multiple 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 7 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 7 locations options:
- Top six metros
- Hindi speaking market
- Western states
- Southern states
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
Brands can target audience who own premium devices:
- Handset value above INR 15,000
- Connected Television
- Interest Targeting
Interest targeting takes into consideration the audience’s affinity towards a category. It is based on the types of apps present on the user’s mobile. Using interest targeting, brands can target an audience that is interested in E-commerce.
For mid-roll video ads, only one cohort can be selected. For pre-roll video ads, up to 3 levels of targeting can be selected. A brand can select multiple locations from geography targeting options.
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.
Example 1: Targeting the southern states: 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.
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.
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.
Example 4: 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.
Example 5: Targeting people interested in E-commerce
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.
- For Pre-roll video: INR 200 for a 5-10-sec video for 1000 ad impressions
- For Mid-roll video: INR 180 for a 10-sec video for 1000 ad impressions
- For Branded cards: INR 75 for 1000 ad impressions
- For targeting- additional upcharge applicable
- For pre-roll video ads, a maximum of 3 targeting levels allowed with a 50% upcharge (irrespective of the number of targeting levels)
- For mid-roll video ads, only one level of targeting allowed out of geography and interest, with an upcharge of 33%
- For branded cards, all 3 levels of targeting are allowed with a 50% upcharge (of the base price) for each level
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.
Following is a figure above in a tabular format below:
Here’s an IPL ad budget calculator developed by AabhashK based on the article. This would help you get a rough estimate of the IPL ad budget required on the basis of number of matches you would like to target. The calculator has been created on the assumption of optimum impressions required to have a considerable impact. The actual budget may vary.
Q. Can advertisers select certain matches?
Q. Can advertisers schedule multiple creatives as per the match?
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?
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)
- 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
- Pre-roll and mid-roll video ads
- Native display ads
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 16% increase in brand awareness
- 9% increase in a purchase intent
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.