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MLB viewership rises during campaign tapping mobile, location, data

Fans increasingly tuned in Major League Baseball games under a campaign that leveraged a cross-section of location-based insights and television set-top box data to successfully deploy mobile ads.

The campaign by the trio of location technology company PlaceIQ, New York, media agency MediaStorm, New York, and TV ratings provider Rentrak, Portland, OR, drove up the number of viewers who tuned in and who spent time watching MLB on a major sports network. The campaign shows how mobile is an ally in helping baseball remain relevant, despite complaints that it is too slow for modern audiences.

?The results of this campaign prove that mobile advertising can drive increased TV viewership by approximately 25 percent as well as increase the amount of time spent watching TV by leveraging targeting that identifies the most relevant audience,? said Ed Haslam, senior vice president of marketing at PlaceIQ.
?Through mobile advertising that is ingrained in location, marketers are able to get the best of both worlds: brand impact of TV plus measurability of digital (mobile),? he said.

Landing page
Sports TV viewers across the country received a relevant MLB-related mobile ad. If the users clicked on the ad, they were taken to a landing page with a video. From that page, they could then go to the network?s home page. Following the campaign, Rentrak and PlaceIQ were able to measure tune-in lift and attribution.

PlaceIQ said the sports network in the campaign prefers to remain anonymous and was unable to share specific ads. ?However, the ads were intended to drive viewership of MLB on that network so the art and call to action reflected that,? Mr. Haslam said.

Mobile is bringing new viewers to baseball broadcasts.

The campaign drove a 24.4 percent increase in viewership and time spent within target demographics compared to control audiences, Mr. Haslam said. MLB viewers who were exposed to a targeted advertisement spent an incremental nine minutes watching on the sports network.

PlaceIQ also provided the sports network with a greater understanding of its target viewers? demographics and lifestyle behaviors. Findings demonstrated that MLB viewers are most likely to be age 34 and above and middle-income individuals living in family households. 

They also tend to be on the go, preferring to visit quick-service restaurants over other dining establishments. MLB viewers also tend to strongly prefer Costco to other big box retailers,  prefer general or discount grocery stores to high-end locations such as Whole Foods and are more likely to be active and prefer to spend leisure time outdoors, especially at the beach, according to Mr. Haslam.
The results were disclosed a day after Place IQ CEO and co-founder, Duncan McCall, and Rentrak?s president of national television, Chris Wilson, talked about the intersection of network TV and location-based mobile advertising at the Mobile Marketing Association?s SM2 Innovation Summit.

In a session, ?TV + Mobile ? You can measure that??,  that was part of New York Advertising Week activities, the speakers discussed how network TV and location-based mobile advertising drove visitors to a major department store and how the unconventional data relationships that location can uncover are ushering in a new era of consumer understanding and intelligent media delivery.

?Think about mobile as a foundational direction point between physical and digital,? Mr. McCall said at the conference. ?We really now are starting to connect the physical and digital world. Now, suddenly mobile provides a unified view of users across different silos. 

?We?re standing on the edge of a paradigm shift where you can understand consumers and speak to them intelligently across different silos,? he said. ?We use mobile to measure attribution to physical location which works well with retail.

?You now have all of this new data to understand consumers? behavior. Making TV measurable is one of the really powerful takeaways. It really speaks to a bright future for mobile itself.?

With the increase in location-based technology, mobile becomes more about targeting individual people versus populations.

Although mobile media budgets continue to grow, TV remains the predominant way of getting a message in front of a consumer. Mobile?s role is to play off of that branding with super-specific calls-to-action to drive sales.

For its part, baseball, a 19th century pastoral game, has dived into mobile to win new, younger fans as well as older ones lost to sports such as football and basketball.

Mobile is bringing baseball valuable marketing data.

In July, MLB reached out to fans with its first-ever provision of a live game stream and iBeacon-supported interactive ballpark attractions at the 2014 All-Star Game.

Fans with the At Bat mobile app could receive live streams of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, the Gillette Home Run Derby and the 85th All-Star Game.

Sharper targeting
In the MLB TV viewership campaign, Media Storm partnered with PlaceIQ to analyze Rentrak television ratings at U.S. households that frequently watch MLB across FOX Sports 1, FOX, MLB Network, ESPN, and TBS and identified mobile devices connected to each household using its location intelligence platform. 

From April 6 to May 3, selected mobile users received targeted advertisements prompting users to tune into the target network to watch MLB.

?What the TV network learned is that for their next campaign they could use newfound insights to improve their level of targeting even further,? Mr. Haslam said. 

?For example, also targeting people that like to go to beaches and big box stores as they learned those users had a higher tune-in rate.? 

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York.