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Let the Madness Begin

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I'm not what you'd call a sports fan. When people ask if I saw "the game" last night, I have no clue whether they are referring to hockey, basketball or tennis. But there's something about March Madness that brings out the fan in me once a year. (Winning a NCAA pool last year helped, of course, as does the fact that my alma mater, Indiana University, usually makes the tournament.) The March Madness games are fast-paced, full of collegiate pride, and I can't help but be drawn in by the excitement.

Apparently I'm not the only one caught up in the Madness. According to eMarketer, the NCAA Tournament brings in more advertising dollars than the Super Bowl and other professional sports. In fact, this year's March Madness ad spending will surpass $500 million -- 70% higher than it was in 2000.

But advertising spending isn't limited to TV. Sports fans are all over the web this month. According to Nielsen//NetRatings, in 2006 traffic to sports-related websites increased by about 20% on the first day of March Madness. Last year, 8.1 million visitors accessed March Madness content during the course of the first two days.

How can you capitalize on this increase in traffic? Consider targeting sports fans over the next few weeks by selecting NCAA-related sites within our Site Targeting network or targeting your ads to sports-related content within our Content Network. This could be the perfect time to test CTP Video ads as well. "This is the equivalent of a more traditional :30 spot on TV, rather than running a search impression and banner ad because of the level of engagement," Jon Gibs (Nielsen//NetRatings Senior Director of Media) told ClickZ Stats.

Contact your Google team for more details and creative ideas.