How advertising on IPL propelled digital brands towards success

second screen phenomenon ipl 2020

Social Samosa takes a look at digital brands leveraging the reach of IPL via TV screens, how they illustrate the rise of the second screen phenomenon and what this means for the future of such investments. 

Do you like to check live tweets about a match as you watch one on the television? Does it add value to your experience, beyond the commentary you are able to hear? How likely do you feel you are to share that meme on the brilliant run-out you just saw? Or check the website of the brand that just declared sale on screen? Order a treat to celebrate the win of your favourite team? Or simply swipe into the app to check on the well-being of your fantasy cricket team? In all these scenarios, the common link is that a second screen is being used to extend and complete a match experience. 

And this behaviour has been on the rise in the last few years, especially around IPL. Who can forget the tale of Gulab Jamun Uncle, right? Do you remember feeling the need to absolutely pop the sweet in your mouth when you saw him relishing this little treat? Swiggy had reportedly seen a hike in the number of searches for Gulab Jamun back then! 

Second Screen Phenomenon

Over the last decade, IPL has bloomed into a big league with various touchpoints for brands to experiment with, parallel to the technological advancements in the smartphone industry. More people have access to better smartphones and internet coverage than ever before. This has also led to an increase in the democratisation in regards to access as well as creation. 

With an extremely engaged audience due to the high intensity play, brands have the captive attention of the consumer – with a smartphone at their fingertips. The visibility on television can cause a surge in immediate interest as well as brand recall at a later stage. 

According to a report by Neurons Inc. India, uncertainty in Sports allows for deeper emotional investment by the viewers when compared to movies and GEC content as the latter usually fulfils the expectations of patterns and is predictable. People engage with Sports content more as they are hooked. This helps brands in a big way for it has been seen that 9.83% less mental effort is required for people to process ads when viewed between Sports content than GEC or movies.

The reach and mass appeal of IPL combined with the potential of television to reach the nooks and crannies of the nation, results in campaign results that transcend boundaries of screens. For instance, reportedly PolicyBazaar witnessed a surge in the brand’s digital buzz when their TVCs aired during the IPL. Talking about the importance of IPL for the brand, CMO Sai Narayan had said in an interview, “Historically speaking, whenever we have considered cricket, we have observed a substantial surge in our web traffic, resulting in lowering our cost per lead at a daily/ monthly/ campaign/ market level.”

PhonePe & Brand Recall

Over the years, PhonePe has developed a strong association with IPL, and brought in Aamir Khan and Alia Bhatt to further develop brand resonance in 2020. Leveraging the celebrity power, they ran a huge campaign that dealt with several aspects of advocacy for contactless payments, including hygiene and ease of use. IPL 2020 helped PhonePe enjoy an uplift of 59% in top of mind awareness. In a study, the brand found that 75% people were able to recall their ads and 82% associated the ads in their memory with the correct brand. 

Talking about the association with IPL, Sonika Chandra, VP – Business Development & Strategic Partnerships said, “The objective behind running the brand campaign during IPL was to reach a massive audience that has not yet gone digital for payments. The association with IPL and growth of fantasy sports applications have been major reasons for PhonePe’s growth.” 

The integration and its impact can be seen as an example of a second screen phenomenon as people were driven to downloading the app after seeing the advertisement on television.

“It has more than 250 million registered users today with the app widening the scope of its services including finances, insurance and digital wallet. PhonePe reportedly recorded 925 million transactions in October and has surpassed the pre-lockdown figures by a huge margin,” she added, explaining the impact of the efforts that had been put in.

Spotify’s Geographical Expansion

During IPL 2020, Spotify saw a 29% growth in daily downloads. They have been able to add about 6.4 million new users since the league. How were they able to do this, one may wonder? 

It is prudent to look at their strategy of expansion. With IPL, Spotify was able to achieve their penetration targets beyond metro cities. They were able to ignite the desire among people to search for the app and give it a try. According to Google Search data, they saw a higher search index growth from beyond metros.

Along with promotions on screen, Spotify had also bolstered their offerings for the cricket season. Several podcasts were leveraged to add value to the experiences of cricket fans, with original content and commentary. These included Cricket Unplugged, Matchpoint Paradox, Boundary Rope, The Hawkeye Podcast and Sky Sports Cricket. 

Here, the second screen phenomenon had a second layer to it. The brand was able to convert leads that were generated from television advertisements. However, that is not where it ended. They had to also give them enough content incentive to stay put and experience the app for a longer duration — they did so by generating content around cricket.

Josh & Nudge To Express

Josh, a short-video app by Dailyhunt saw a 2.3X increase in advertisement awareness over the course of IPL 2020, according to an industry report. On an operational level, this meant almost 20 million new downloads for the app during IPL. 

The trend also highlights the need for people to express themselves when they are overwhelmed — something cricket is a great trigger for. People want to share their views about that perfect catch, talk about their favourite moments and a short-video app is a space for them to be themselves and express their heart’s desire. This is an example where content led to more content being generated, the transition from one medium to another being led by the second screen phenomenon. 

The exposure was able to help get people interested in knowing more about the app, causing a 62% lift in the search index, according to the trends captured by Google Search. Reflecting on the direct impact of investments in IPL, App Annie Data shows that Josh saw an 86% growth in average downloads during the days their spot played during an IPL match. 

Power Of CRED Rewards

CRED was one of the biggest success stories of IPL 2020 when it comes to creating noise as a new entrant in the marketing space. They used the league’s reach on broadcast to drive messages surrounding financial and credit literacy. Further, IPL offered the brand mass reach, helping create brand awareness on a granular level. For this, special experiences were created to reward people who were using the app to make payments during specific segments of the match, such as CRED Power Play — which gave CRED users a chance to win 100% cashback. Additionally, the platform released TVCs featuring prominent Bollywood personalities, enabling them to get top of the mind brand recall. The CRED TVC campaign also managed to create considerable buzz on social media. 

Ahead of IPL 2020, Trupthi Shetty, Lead- Growth & Engagement, CRED had told Social Samosa, “The engagements that we are looking to create are not the standardised digital experiences that people are accustomed to. These will be unique and rewarding experiences centred around the game, creating memorable experiences for members for each match that they watch.” This, they did. 

The brand was able to guide people into downloading and using the app in a small window of time, thus making the experience special for them. According to the data captured by App Annie, the daily downloads of the CRED app increased by over eight times in comparison to the data recorded during the pre-IPL period. 

The emotional aspects of the second screen phenomenon can perhaps be understood if one were to go back to that feeling of gratification one may have felt as a child collecting small toys in chips packets, especially when they belonged to a limited edition series.

There is something about the rush of knowing that the experience is happening in real time and you can’t go back to it later. There is no rewind button to these experiences. You need to act at that particular time to get the reward. And you have a million others to share that moment as well as compete with. Potential of such behaviour seems to be working well for brands to keep investing in a big league such as the IPL. The second screen consumer behaviour redefines marketing, giving brands the opportunity to create seamless experiences.


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