Running Ads during Popular Sports Events

Running Ads during Popular Sports Events

Running ads becomes quite a sport when you need to adapt quickly to unexpected turns of the game, optimize campaigns rapidly, and beat competitors by choosing the right CPM rate.

There are many persuasive arguments as to why marketing during popular sports events can be highly beneficial for advertisers. In this article, we will emphasize each and every one of them.

Be ready to keep it up because we’re going to talk the talk and walk the walk.


The Contents of the Article

Insight Statistics

Analyzing data can be challenging, but when you see the real value, it takes encouraging turn.

We will provide you with research-based guidance, where curious advertisers will find knowledge that can be leveraged to their advantage.

Here are the key points.

Which verticals are the most profitable?

Our team recommends focusing on sports betting and gambling.

These offers will consistently benefit you throughout the year, as their effectiveness does not really depend on specific events.

Exceptions can be made for globally popular tournaments, such as the Olympic Games or FIFA World Cup. These events attract numerous passionate fans from around the world, and you only need to discover the right approach to profit from them.

Another category that can bring you success is streaming websites, where users pay to watch live broadcasts.

Which GEOs should I start with?

GEOs play a crucial role when the popularity of the sport is local rather than worldwide. For example, football events are remarkably acknowledged in both Tier-1 countries (such as Germany, Spain) and Tier-3 nations (Gambia, India, Togo).

HilltopAds Statistics for 2023

Similarly, Cricket has 100% regional popularity, with Pakistan coming in second at 70%.

Aside from cricket and football, there are other popular types of sports within the betting and gambling verticals.

As for HilltopAds, you should consider running offers targeting New Zealand during rugby events, and targeting Bangladesh or India GEOs for UFC fights.

HilltopAds Statistics for 2023
HilltopAds Statistics for 2023

But if we consider a more common strategy , then you can get our vote that the most effective and converting traffic can be received in tier-3 countries. Why? Probably because fans there have higher hopes for the favourite team, as well as a bigger need to win a jackpot.

Read an article about countries where gambling is popular the most:

Technical Approach

Before we delve deeper into setting up the ad campaign, here is an important piece of advice.

The Essential Testing and Right Timing

Don’t jump the gun, take a long shot instead: start preparing for the major ad launch within one or two weeks before the event occurs.

This period should be enough to figure out what works best for your ad campaign. Another benefit of running ads early is the comparatively lower CPM rates, because the competition among advertisers is lower than on the day of the event.

In addition to lower CPM, sometimes conversions can be even higher before the game starts. Why? Users get too excited about the event and they’re willing to take risks and gamble with money to let off steam.

Tip: Keep testing until you reach at least 20,000 - 30,000 impressions for each campaign before scaling up. A personal manager will help optimize your ad campaigns and provide recommendations for improving results.
Targeting by keywords is another great feature of the HilltopAds platform. Discover the full potential of this tool by contacting your personal manager.

Now let’s walk through the entire process of choosing campaign details, targeting, filters, limits, schedule, and automatic optimization for an ad campaign during popular sports events.

Setting up Campaign Details

  • Ad Format
    The choice of the "Ad Format" depends a lot on the vertical and GEO that you choose. Generally, if the offer you promote allows using Pops, then it's a good starting point to run your first campaign with. It can bring you more conversions compare to other formats. And after that, you can try the ones, you haven't tested yet.
  • Traffic Channels
    As you can see from the statistics shown above, users become more active during events, resulting in increased traffic. That's why we recommend using High and Medium Activity Channels for your campaigns.
If the quality of the traffic decreases, our smart system moves it to a lower category. The same happens if the traffic quality improves. In any case, you only pay for the traffic channels you choose — anything better or worse is removed automatically. Obviously, the higher the quality, the higher the price.

Setting up Campaign Targeting & Limits

  • GEO
    Whether this is a local game or a Worldwide Championship, the choice of the targeted location can be a specific state or the whole globe, respectively. For example, events like the Olympic Games and the UEFA Champions League open up great opportunities for advertisers to reach potential clients all over the world.
Use HilltopAds' insight statistics from above to plan your ad campaigns
  • OS & Device Type
    It’s often the case that popular events happen during weekdays when most fans are at work. This can explain the streaming platform statistics regarding the fact that most of the devices used for watching games during the weekdays are mobiles and smartphones.
Test both mobile and tablet targeting to figure out which one is more profitable for you.
  • Campaign Limits & Schedule
    At first, you might neglect these options, but once you spend the entire budget within the first hours of testing, you will realize how important it is to track spending. With a Daily (or total) Budget Limit, you can set a specific amount that your ad campaign spending won't exceed.
When using the Daily Budget Limit, users can also choose from two available options for setting up the "Daily Limit Usage Algorithm" - ASAP (all the traffic available immediately) and Evenly (gradual distribution throughout the day).
Pay attention to the event's local time zone when setting up the “Campaign Schedule.” The initial setup of the HilltopAds platform is on the UTC time zone. There are also other options available, and you can choose the one you feel most comfortable with.

Setting up Automatic Optimization

Automatic Optimization plays a crucial role in the success of your ads. Why? Well, this simple-to-use tool helps you eliminate non-profitable traffic sources and reduce unnecessary spending.

Note: it's essential to set up the Postback to track the results of your ad campaign. For a detailed description of working with Postback and the available placeholders, check out our guide:
How to detect the ad campaigns efficiency in HilltopAds?
Today, for an advertiser launching an ad campaign, it is important to evaluate its efficiency quickly and reliably to avoid waste of time and money. HilltopAds provides advertisers an opportunity to use a modern method of tracking conversions through a postback URL.

Now let’s string the wire between Ad Settings and Pre-Landing Page

Visual Part of Sports Event Campaign

Success goes beyond just having the right settings. What you need is to polish your ads with a good pre-landing page and creatives.

Ad Creatives

Let’s learn how to adjust ad text to make it match the exact event and be seamless for users:

  • Use native language in your ad copy (local chants of the fans, slang, common phrases, and memes)
  • Use a click-baiting title with the event's name or a call to fan loyalty
  • Provide a clear benefit (bonuses, promo-codes, and coupons you can offer)

As for the visual part, you can go with:

  • Epic sports images
  • Pictures containing country flags
  • Players wearing a national uniform
Be careful: If you decide to attract customer attention with photos of well-known players, you could be punished according to the law's restrictions.
Examples of how your Sports Ads might look

Pre-landing Page

Why do we need a pre-landing page? Why not to send your audience directly to the major page with your product?

As mentioned above, every ad campaign should start with thorough testing and to run an ad campaign properly, you will also need a pre-landing page.

With the right pre-landing page, you can achieve two goals at once:

  • Firstly, it eliminates non-targeted traffic
  • A pre-landing page also warms up the targeted audience by providing all the important information regarding good deals
  • As a result, advertisers get higher conversions.

Now, let's take a look at guidelines that will help you create a pre-landing page in the most effective way:

  • Title
    The heading of your pre-landing page should increase fans' desire to support the team and become not just a viewer, but a real part of the event by making a bet. Make sure that your title either calls to the visitor's loyalty to the team, or contains words that make users confident that the offer is a win-win.
  • Body copy
    When a potential client visits your page, he should easily notice two things: what they will get in return and how they can get it. This is why it's better to keep the main text simple but informative.
  • Visual Part
    Just like with ad creatives, your landing page can attract users' attention with epic sports images, the country flag of the participating team, and photos of players in national uniform. Most importantly, it should have a highlighted CTA button.
These are just a few ideas to keep in mind; you can also think outside the box and come up with a more original approach.
Example of how your Pre-Landing Page might look

And remember that with the pre-landing page, you want to paint a picture of what football fans can achieve. In the case of betting offers, it's about making profits and winning together while supporting their favourite team.



Our marathon of tips and tricks for successful sports marketing has come to an end.

Now you know that with the right setup and a well-designed pre-landing page, HilltopAds' algorithms can turn your ad campaign into a real moneymaker.

We want to reward all the participants who have come this far with us with a few bonuses.

First of all, here is the checklist to ensure you are ready for the launch:

Throughout the year, there will be a multitude of events, and we have prepared a calendar that will undoubtedly help you keep track of all of them in 2024:

Calendar of Popular Sports Events from HilltopAds timeline.

If running ads is a sport, then you need to run faster.

Start increasing your profits now, together with HilltopAds!