March Madness has just begun and as always, office productivity is already dipping as people steal some time to catch a few minutes of game-time, whether it is on a television or streamed on a desktop or mobile device. But how has March Madness affected digital advertisers? We took a look at the retail and travel industries in the US during March Madness 2014, to see how consumer behavior affected these verticals.
When we look at the retail vertical during March 2014, we see one notable jump in activity. There is a small jump in clicks in the four days before Selection Sunday and a much larger jump after the regional games are decided on the 22nd and 23rd. Click-through rates also at least double during these periods, when compared to the monthly average. This timing is synonymous with viewers first buying team and party goods before the games begin, and then again in preparation for the quarterfinals.
Click behavior also showed jumps in the travel vertical. On the 28th, 29th, and 31st of March, we saw huge spikes in consumer clicks for the travel vertical. Click-through rates saw even more significant spikes, jumping almost 500% when compared to the average for March. This coincided with the end of the quarterfinals, marking a point where many hardcore college basketball fans are looking up flights and hotels toying with the idea of traveling to the semifinals and finals, the crucial games of this tournament.