With the NBA finals in full swing (c’mon OKC!), it’s a good time to take a look at how retargeting can impact sporting events and ticket sales. Retargeting can be an extremely effective advertising tool for college and professional sports teams, even in the off-season, to build merchandise sales and fan engagement. Retargeting can help keep fans engaged through postseason video recaps, highlights and memorable snapshots of key players, so when it finally comes time to purchase tickets, fans are excited, ready and willing.

Michigan State University Athletics, a college with 25
varsity squads and die-hard Sparty fans throughout the U.S., recently tapped AdRoll retargeting to boost season ticket sales and increase renewals among their loyal fan base. Their results speak for themselves — MSU Athletics saw a $340 sales return for every $1 spent on their campaign. A recent retargeting campaign for the Ottawa Senators, managed by Paciolan, generated $289,121 in total ticket sales and approximately $50,000 in incremental sales — the campaign only cost $1,000. Another promotion with the Philadelphia 76ers required an initial investment of $100 and generated a return of $2,853 in incremental sales.

Here are some tips for running effective retargeting campaigns for sporting events and ticketing:

Geo Targeting
While it’s possible that fans from far across the country are checking out your website because they’re planning a pilgrimage for a game, most of these distant users will simply be fans. For ticket sales, your most valuable traffic is going to come from the surrounding area so it makes sense to focus on that traffic only. If you also sell fan gear, then you’ll want to focus on those shoppers in a separate campaign that has broader geo-targeting associated with it — e.g. U.S. only.

Cookie Durations
Users who’ve recently been to your site to shop for tickets probably had a window for which they were actively looking to see a game. Be sure to set your cookie durations to an appropriate length so as not to waste spend on users who are no longer interested. We’ve found that 60 days works well as a default.

Upsell, Cross-sell and Re-sell
Any good marketer knows that an initial sale is just the beginning of the relationship with a customer, and the same is true in sports ticketing. Users who’ve bought a ticket in the near-past can be shown ads for season tickets, parking or premium services, team gear, etc. Email lists can also be leveraged with retargeting pixels to re-engage interested fans from last year/season.