Sportradar: our partnership with Snapchat is accelerating the shift in the digital advertising ecosystem

Sportradar: our collaboration with Snapchat is accelerating the shift in the digital advertising ecosystem

Social media is fast becoming the vertical of choice for sports teams and betting operators as they seek to find a faster route to engage with new audiences. 

With most social media platforms accessible via a mobile device, delivering a new betting experience can be done at the touch of a button. So it should come as little surprise that Sportradar has launched its ad:s platform with Snapchat.

Following on from yesterday’s announcement, Brendan Tinnelly, Head of Paid Social Advertising at Sportradar, walks us through the launch, the challenges surrounding compliance and how the company plans to take campaign and marketing services to new heights.

SBC: Can you detail to SBC audiences ad:s AI-customised marketing services for Snapchat, and how this strategic collaboration was formed – from its inception, testing phase to product launch?

BT: We’ve shaped our paid social media advertising service based on first-hand experience of what it takes for betting operators to be successful on Snapchat. Unlike other suppliers, we offer a full, end-to-end service solution, supporting clients across technical integrations, creative automation, AI-driven media buying, and measurement – the key components for unlocking performance.

Our paid social service launched last year, focusing initially on Meta’s platforms. On those platforms, partners have been reporting an improvement in their marketing performance. Across some campaigns, the service has increased return on ad spend by up to 450% and delivered costs per first time deposit 64% below the client’s target.

Following this success our existing partners were keen for us to scale to Snapchat, and the team at Snap were equally enthusiastic. 

Once we set our sights on the opportunity, the team quickly moved to build out the necessary integrations, with our first clients live within a matter of weeks. Initial results have been incredibly strong, and this has given us confidence to proceed with a broader launch.

SBC: How are sports fans engaging with the content your clients serve on Snapchat using ad:s and what benefits do you see social media providing for the overall sports customer experience?

BT: Based on conversations we’ve had with clients, we know that sports fans engage more deeply with the adverts served using ad:s because the content is highly relevant to the interests and preferences of individual customers. 

The highly targeted nature of the ad:s solution ensures we’re connecting fans with their favourite sports and delivering the most relevant live odds directly to them on the Snapchat platform, elevating the overall sports betting experience. 

We’re using anonymised data to understand fans’ content preferences more deeply, such as favourite teams and favourite players. And, using our AI capabilities we personalise the creatives served on social media, delivered to customers in a compliant, interactive and engaging way.

Social media in general is also uplifting the overall sports customer experience, one reason simply being because of its scale and number of users. Social media has a global audience of over three billion users per month, providing the sports industry with an unprecedented customer reach to serve content, engage with fans, and grow. 

FanDuel, one of our US clients, recently launched an interactive augmented reality lens powered by Sportradar data, which demonstrated how sports fans are really engaging with social platforms and the type of data-driven creative that we can deliver. As Snap themselves highlighted during their recent Investors Day, this execution drove a two-fold increase in redeposits by customers, along with a 60% reduction in cost per action for deposits and placed bets.

SBC: To date, why has it been difficult for sports advertisers to target and engage audiences on Snapchat’s platform – how has ad:s overcome Snapchat’s unique hurdles?

BT: My experience is that paid social is a channel that has a huge amount of potential but is currently misunderstood and under-resourced by operators, in terms of creative production, technical integrations and so on. 

Within the paid social landscape, every new channel brings a new set of complexities, a new set of best practices to learn. This can initially be a huge challenge for marketing teams if they don’t have the resources or expertise to effectively manage multiple large platforms. 

We’re in a privileged position that by focusing solely on the needs of the betting industry, we can scale that investment across all of our partners, and we can develop platform-specific best practices more efficiently than any single operator ever could.

SBC: Catering to Snapchat’s global audience, how is Sportradar ensuring that targeting is 100% specific and compliant with diverse advertising rules?

BT: This is something we take very seriously, and we are grateful that it is also something Snapchat is equally committed to supporting. We endeavour that ad:s campaigns comply with all necessary regulations and follow the highest standards of socially responsible advertising.

The ad:s platform uses Snap’s native targeting capabilities to ensure all adverts are highly targeted to only social media users of legal gambling age. We also encourage our partners to remove any identified vulnerable individuals from their paid social activity and digital advertising. This allows our partners to reach their target audience while limiting exposure to minors and at-risk gamblers.

While compliance obligations differ by region, the social platforms all offer a powerful suite of tools for operators to help protect vulnerable users. From highly accurate age-gating, excluding some audiences and user-facing opt-out controls, we encourage our partners to make full use of the best tools available. 

Snap also contributes to an industry-wide ad tech working group chaired by the UK’s Betting and Gaming Council and are collectively raising standards in this area.

SBC: Launching tailored ad:s services for Snapchat, how will you guide new bookmakers and sports clients through their campaign management?

BT: We’ve seen an interesting shift in the digital advertising ecosystem in recent years. While previously campaign management was the central factor in driving performance, the increased use of AI has seen its role become more automated, as the importance of creativity and technology have come to the fore.

That’s not to diminish the importance of campaign management, but rather to highlight that a holistic approach is needed. And that’s exactly how we’ve shaped our service, supporting our partners across all of these areas. 

On campaign management specifically, we can either run the campaigns end-to-end via our expert buying team, or we can act as a consultancy, empowering existing client-side teams with best practice guidance and knowledge sharing.

SBC: From a wider perspective we are witnessing Silicon Valley’s tech giants aggressively enter the sports domain. In your opinion, what does this mean for sports consumption and engagement?

BT: The way in which people engage with sports has fundamentally changed with the rise of social media and digital channels. While live sport was always appointment viewing, that’s slowly shifting, as fans increasingly engage with their favourite sports through a range of content – from snackable video highlights, to podcasts, Netflix series, fantasy games and of course memes. And channels like Snapchat play a huge role in connecting fans and creators and ultimately facilitating those interactions.

Sports marketing, in particular, is being transformed by the evolution of consumption habits, with technologies like ad:s providing operators with opportunities to deliver personalised campaigns and immersive experiences to new and existing fans.

Sports fans are also demanding more personalised content than ever, and these renowned Silicon Valley giants possess the technical capabilities to deliver such experiences at scale and in real time.

SBC: Finally, how do you see the Snapchat collaboration further innovating ad:s’ all-round campaign and marketing services?

BT: Snapchat is a fantastic partner to the industry, and we work in a very collaborative way. As much as we aim to drive and define best practice for the channel, we are always receptive to trying new ideas and new products as they come on-stream. 

As an example, Snapchat see Augmented Reality as a huge opportunity, and we’re exploring how our partners can tap into this trend utilising our data and technology.

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