How advertisers can tap into the “predictable unpredictability” of sports

June 9, 2021 | 3 minute read
Nick Foster
Head of UK Account Management, Oracle
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The uncertainty of 2020 played havoc with event scheduling and pushed many major sporting competitions into 2021. Finally, the wait is almost over as we approach an exciting  summer of sport.

The next few months present a significant opportunity for advertisers to interact with highly engaged audiences as they revel in the games, rivalries, and the ever-changing conversations based on performances on and off the field.

But new event dates aren’t the only changes you’ll see. Many athletes and teams that previously focused on their sports are now speaking out regarding political and social injustice. Sporting icons are helping to break down the stigma associated with mental health and governing bodies are increasingly addressing events’ environmental impact. Because sport is about more than players and teams, media across industries cover athletes and the games from a variety of perspectives.

And for sports fans, one play—even a small wobble during a nearly flawless routine—can spark a “moment” that consumes sports reporting and captivates general media. That is, until the next “moment” happens at the Tokyo games, the British & Irish Lions tour, Wimbledon, or the European Football Championship (Euros).

So, if sports coverage is constantly evolving, shouldn’t your contextual targeting solution do the same?

Oracle Contextual Intelligence analyzes content beyond basic keyword scanning and blocking. It also provides a more effective solution to brand suitability and targeting by extracting the key terms and phrases present on the page before analyzing their relationship with each other to determine the true context of the page. By helping advertisers understand the inherent meaning of page content, they're empowered to make more informed decisions with their ad spend and avoid unwanted brand associations.

Target relevant game coverage for advertisers

As an example, conversations are likely to change dramatically during the Euros. The build-up content has been focusing on squad selections and playing groups. As the tournament approaches this month, coverage is switching to match previews. And when we reach the knockout stages, storylines will focus on specific teams, and players who are under and over-performing.

The teams who have been knocked out are forgotten while the spotlight intensifies on the teams still playing. As the tournament ends, managers’ jobs will come into question, player selections will be scrutinized, and the debate over who deserved to win will rage on. Throughout the tournament, journalists will spin a complex web of Euros-related stories that weave in pop culture, politics, society, and economics.  

Capitalize on fast-moving trends to increase your brand’s reach

Advertisers can manually sift through relevant articles daily and adjust contextual targeting strategies accordingly. While this might work for short campaign bursts or one-off brands, multiply this across an entire swath of campaigns and this manual approach doesn’t scale or provide the speed required to make effective ad buying decisions.

To address these challenges, Oracle Predicts—part of Oracle Contextual Intelligence—uses real-time automated optimization to help advertisers capitalize on trending content and the associated inventory. Using machine learning, Predicts makes daily automated updates based on trending content associated with a given topic. In addition to saving time, Predicts removes the guesswork and helps you align your brand’s message with relevant content as stories evolve or expand into new topics. 

With the ability to customize this dynamic solution (beyond our 150+ syndicated Predicts categories), advertisers can follow trending stories across any niche events and topics.

Oracle Contextual Intelligence benefits include:

  • 100% cookieless
  • Automated optimization
  • Increased reach and performance
  • Complete transparency
  • Fully customizable
  • Activate immediately in most major demand-side platforms (DSPs)

Planning for unpredictable games and outcomes

Contextual targeting is also central to providing brand safety and suitability assurances. A brand sustainability strategy for sporting events, for example, would block ads from appearing in stories related to drug testing, questionable athlete behavior outside of the stadium, and more. In short, with a contextual strategy rooted in brand suitability, the advertiser has full control over what is appropriate for their brand.

Advertisers using our brand safety and predictive intelligence capabilities can focus their advertising on the positive stories surrounding each event. Oracle’s pre-bid Contextual Intelligence technology can help advertisers target the positive trending stories of sport while avoiding harmful brand-specific content, reducing wasted impressions, maintaining spend efficiencies, and increasing content relevance.

Whether it’s following England’s journey through the Euros, Serena Williams at Wimbledon, or the Lions in South Africa, get in touch with your Oracle account management team today to help align your brand’s messaging with the trending content automatically.

Learn more about how Oracle Contextual Intelligence can optimize your advertising campaigns.


Nick Foster

Head of UK Account Management, Oracle

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