The Genius Edge: Three sports-centric tools to optimise media buying

By Angus Campbell | 30 Nov 2022

In the latest edition of the Genius Edge, Angus Campbell, Head of Customer Success at Genius Sports, outlines three programmatic and social media buying technologies that are enabling sportsbooks and casinos to automate inventory bidding and ad delivery, driving increased conversions. 

Media buying around live sport poses some tough questions: 

What’s the best way to manage programmatic spend around key events?

And how can you optimise bidding when so many advertisers compete for the same high-value placements, driving up CPMs ahead of kick off? 

Read on for three new sports-centric features that help our betting and gaming clients optimise their programmatic and social media spend. 

1. Automated, algorithmic pacing curve 

If you work with a traditional DSP or agency, how you manage and pace programmatic spend around live sport will be limited and not entirely aligned with how sports fans behave. The exact moments and times fans engage and convert varies hugely, meaning it’s essential to have a dynamic, granular and tailored approach to your media buying.

To help our clients pace spend efficiently, we use an automated, custom-built pacing curve that speeds up and slows down bidding based on the likelihood of a user converting through the gameweek. It leverages key, sports-led inputs such as fixture schedules, betting turnover and first-party audience data from our league, team and publisher partnerships.

The result? Better CPC and CPA results than other agency services. For example, in the 48 hours leading up to Super Bowl LVI, we converted new players every 24 seconds for our clients.

2. Custom bidding models 

Ordinarily, bidding for programmatic inventory requires traders to manually adjust max bid rates to pay the right price for every impression. Yet demand for sports inventory rises and falls around fixtures, and differs across every market, making it easy to fall behind. 

For instance, at the FIFA 2022 World Cup, CPMs rose by on average 25% during the tournament, after a 5% pre-tournament rise, before returning to normal levels after the final.

Only with reliable custom bidding models can operators get first-mover advantage and stay ahead of these CPM rises. As an example, within our media buying service, we run custom models that use live sports data and learnings from 15 years of experience to purchase inventory in real-time. 

These sports-driven insights drive spend efficiency, ROI and automate 24/7 decision making. 

3. Data-triggered social ad delivery  

When looking to acquire new players via paid Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat campaigns, it’s essential to adopt a full funnel approach. 

We generally recommend that sportsbooks start by targeting sports audiences with relevant ads around games, before retargeting users who have engaged with the ad alongside users that have visited your website.

But with specialist integrations directly with each social platform, we enable our clients to go one step further, automating ad delivery with a series of live data triggers. 

What does this mean? You can essentially use triggers like goals, kick-off and half-time to deliver new sets of data-driven creative as part of your campaigns, that include a contextual message related to the sporting event your audience is interested in. 

Angus Campbell is Head of Customer Success at Genius Sports. Angus has over 10 years’ advertising experience, with expertise in digital marketing campaigns in iGaming, sports betting and sports. 

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