The ICC World Cup 2011 has caught the public’s imagination and attention as expected. For Yahoo!, the response from the users’ side has been even better than expected, according to Nitin Mathur, Senior Director - Marketing at Yahoo!
Mathur said, “We have seen a lot of traction and are the No. 1 cricket-related site as per comScore. We have kept our focus on the content and have created a lot of unique multimedia content for our users, which has been highly successful. We prepped for the World Cup for the last four months and created a lot of opportunities for engagement.”
Yahoo! Cricket has a three-year partnership with the ICC, which means, amongst other things, the site has full access to the ICC branding, player likenesses and other markers to make it a fully integrated destination, but aside from that, the site has also spent time and money to create ways to improve engagement and frequency of users on the site.
Mathur said, “We have created a lot of content, aside from the scoreboards and stories and multimedia content. We have created games, prediction contests and a lot more to keep people interested and engaged with our content, and it has worked very well.”
He added, “For us, the partnership with the ICC had two benefits – aside from revenue generation, there is also the rights and branding benefits we gain from the ICC. Our URL is mentioned on every broadcast, on the grass in the stadiums, and on the stands, which drives brand recognition. That was the first goal, which benefits not only Yahoo! Cricket, but also our entire network. At the same time, in terms of traffic and stats, what we have seen has far exceeded our expectations.” The company does not share internal traffic figures, and all Mathur would say was that Yahoo! was pleased with the response it had seen.
At the same time, for advertisers on Yahoo! too there have been opportunities to integrate into the cricket experience more organically than just a display ad. For example, Castrol is advertising with Yahoo! to display their brand logo on the cricket rankings that Yahoo! displays, while Grohe has a cricket widget that can be activated from the website.
Mathur said, “We’ve seen a decent response from advertisers, and unlike other mediums, where a lot of the planning is done well in advance, in India, we still see digital decisions happening late, and so more advertisers are joining up with us even now.”