Imagine this: You have just 24 hours to create a targeted advertising campaign for college football fans attending game day watch parties. 

The goal? 

To engage these fans in real-time as they watched their schools play, promoting enticing sweepstakes, including sideline passes to an upcoming game. This is a lot to take on, but it’s exactly the kind of real-life situation the Grapeseed team faced and tackled.

The Challenge

The task at hand wasn’t just about reaching a broad audience; it was about connecting with a highly specific group in a charged, communal setting.

We were targeting individuals immersed in the game and engaged in socializing, eating, and drinking — their mobile phones often untouched except for brief glances at their social media feeds or when checking scores of other games. This meant we had to deliver our ads at precisely the right moment to capture their fleeting attention.

Moreover, the challenge was compounded by the inherent limitations of social ad platforms. While their geotargeting capabilities are advanced, they fall short of the granular targeting capabilities needed for such a specific and localized campaign. The geographical footprint of the individual bar locations was simply too narrow.

With high stakes and limited time, we had to navigate the challenge of engaging an audience only sporadically on their phones. So, how did we ensure our message cut through the game day excitement and distractions, and resonated effectively with our target audience?

Our solution was twofold. 

Leveraging Foursquare Technology for Mobile Footprinting 

First, we leveraged Foursquare’s advanced technology and their self-service platform. With these tools, we set out to create a campaign that employed mobile footprinting to engage football fans in real time as they watched games at specific bars.

  • Pinpointing Locations

The process began with our client providing a list of 25 bar names, each a venue where fans would gather to watch the football games. From there, we converted these names into exact geographical coordinates using Google Sheets calculations, obtaining the exact latitudes and longitudes for each bar. This data was crucial for the next step in our strategy.

  • Creating Geofences

The next step involved uploading the coordinates to Foursquare. Using the platform’s Proximity tool, we created accurate meter-level geofences around each bar. This precision was key — our aim was to target fans specifically inside the bars, avoiding spillover into nearby stores or areas covered by broader targeting metrics like zip codes, the smallest targetable area on many social media platforms.

  •  Strategic Dayparting

To enhance the campaign’s effectiveness, we implemented dayparting strategies. Ads were set to run not only during the games but also 1.5 hours before and after to capture fans’ peak socializing times.

  • Maximizing Win Rate

Given the relatively small total audience size in such specific locations, we had to maximize our win rate. We bid as aggressively as possible, balancing the need not to overbid with maintaining a reasonable overall CPM (cost per mille).

  • Focused Ad Groups and Device Targeting

We proceeded to create a dedicated ad group in the DSP, honing in on third-party data that identified diehard fans of the respective college teams. This allowed us to minimize waste and adopt a more aggressive bidding approach for this particular audience segment.

Additionally, we set device targeting to mobile-only, acknowledging that fans at these watch parties were unlikely to use computers or tablets.

  • Frequency and Viewability

To ensure maximum exposure, we set our ad frequency to once every 15 minutes. Pre-bid viewability was another critical factor; we set it to 80%+, recognizing our limited window to capture the audience’s attention amid the game day excitement.

  • Leveraging App Inventory

Contrary to our usual approach of excluding app inventory due to performance concerns and accidental clicks, we included it in this campaign to maximize scale. This decision was based on the likelihood of fans using sports apps on their phones to check team news and scores during the game, thereby increasing our chances of capturing their attention.

  • Building for Future Campaigns

Lastly, in anticipation of future campaigns, we created retargeting audiences within the DSP. This included those who visited the landing page and those who interacted with our ads during the watch parties. 

Using Foursquare’s technology, we developed audiences based on attendance at home games for each team over the past 18 months. This long-term strategy positioned us to effectively target these fans in future campaigns.

For the second part of our solution, we leveraged the Vistar DSP for programmatic DOOH (pDOOH).

Using the Vistar DSP to Serve Ads on pDOOH Placements

Using Vistar’s comprehensive planning tool, we identified optimal pDOOH placements, aiming for maximum impact. The goal was to find quality pDOOH placements:

  • Directly within the bars: Our target was diverse digital screens, from TV screens broadcasting the game to digital jukeboxes and even screens on bar games. This variety would help ensure that our message was unmissable.
  • In the bars’ immediate vicinity: Beyond the bar walls, our goal was to find sidewalk kiosks and billboards within a 75-meter radius of each bar. This strategic placement would help us engage fans as they came to or left the venue, capitalizing on the anticipation before the game and lingering excitement afterward.

Creative Adaptation for Diverse Displays

Once we identified all the screens we wanted to use for our pDOOH ads, our team immediately began developing a range of creatives tailored to over ten unique screen sizes. Each creative featured a QR code for effortless scanning and a prominent URL, ensuring that engagement with our message was easy and seamless.

Maximizing Impact Through Strategic Partnerships

Recognizing the limited scale of our targeted locations, we proactively sought to maximize our win rate. We reached out to seven different DOOH media owners with screens inside the bars, negotiating preferred deals. These deals ensured first-look bid access, preferred pricing, and rapid creative approval, all crucial elements given our tight timeline.

Maximizing Inventory

In our mission to maximize inventory, we targeted both private marketplace deals (PMPs) and always-on pDOOH PMPs in the DSP. We also placed our bids 20% higher than the floor prices to ensure their success, and complemented this with bid shading for cost efficiency.

Dayparting for Precision Timing

For the outdoor placements like sidewalk kiosks and billboards, we employed strict dayparting. Our ads were scheduled to capture the audience’s attention before and after the game, avoiding the actual game duration to ensure maximum relevance and engagement.

The Results

Our approach and strategic execution led to notable campaign outcomes:

  • pDOOH impressions: We generated a total of 42,582 pDOOH impressions, ensuring wide visibility of our ads in strategic locations.
  • Click-through rate (CTR): The campaign achieved a 0.57% CTR, which is five times the industry benchmark. This high CTR indicates that our targeted audience found the ads highly relevant and engaging.
  • Landing page visits: The campaign successfully drew 7,013 visits to the landing page, indicating strong interest and engagement from the target audience.
  • Sweepstakes submissions: A key indicator of the campaign’s success was the number of sweepstakes submissions, totaling 3,503. This high participation rate reflects the compelling nature of the campaign and the resonance of our message with the football fans.

Overall, these results underscore how precision in advertising can lead to significant engagement and response rates.

Timely, Effective, and Agile Advertising Solutions with Grapeseed 

Our ability to rapidly execute such a sophisticated, geo-targeted campaign showcases our specialty in delivering timely, effective, and agile advertising solutions. Whether it’s a crunch-time scenario or a long-term strategy, the Grapeseed team possesses the expertise to meet complex advertising needs with precision.

Ready to elevate your campaign with expertly targeted advertising? Get in touch with us for a strategy session that can transform your advertising and growth vision into a reality.