How ed-tech brands are scoring big with IPL

Brands like Byju’s, WhiteHat Jr, upGrad and Extramarks showcased the power of the IPL broadcast to drive tremendous reach and growth during the tournament’s 2020 season

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 27, 2021 9:26 AM

IPL 2020 was a season for the record books not only because it witnessed an unprecedented, massive viewership but also because it was the platform for several emerging ed-tech brands to make an impact on a national scale. Typically the IPL has been viewed as a platform for big spenders and brands, but year after year the property has given a powerful platform for brands across categories and irrespective of spending power. Such is the potential of India’s biggest cricketing carnival. Look no further than the ed-tech category with brands like Byju’s, Whitehat Jr., Upgrad and Extramarks. Each brand adopted a different approach to leverage the IPL broadcast to create an impact that moved the needle on the number of downloads and business growth in a big way.

Bringing cheer in a tough year

In a year marked by the pandemic and a dramatic change in consumer behaviour, the one event that brought cheer to a cricket-crazy country was the IPL. The fact that the tournament coincided with the festive season resulted in a positive upswing in consumer sentiment. No wonder then that advertisers lined up to associate with the property! While the league saw many brands associate with it, special mention must be made about the ed-tech category.

Byju’s is one such brand known for its close association with cricket in general and with the IPL in particular. Atit Mehta, Marketing Head at Byju’s lent some perspective when he articulated the decision to up the ante on the company’s association with IPL last year. “One of the things about the IPL is the reach it offers; its reach is unparalleled. Plus it aids in the all-round development of the students. A lot of soft skills are learnt through sports, and extracurricular activities like sports along with education will jointly play a significant role,” he notes. The brand not only associated with the IPL but was also the title sponsor this year for Star Sports’ Cricket Live. It also launched its new product – Byju’s Classes on the day that the IPL started. The association worked wonders for the company. As per industry reports, Byju’s recorded a massive 2.3 million new users and a 19% growth in web + mobile traffic since IPL. WhiteHatJr, acquired by Byju’s, also made its debut in the IPL this year using the cricketing extravaganza to drive awareness and brand growth in global markets. Mehta also adds that the timing for the IPL in 2020 couldn’t have been more ideal with the league making a comeback after a dreary six months that saw consumers starved of good cricketing action.

Breaking the clutter

The 2020 season of IPL also marked the first major sports association for yet another ed-tech company, upGrad. The brand inked its deal with Star India to run their latest ad campaign on TV to drive awareness not just in metros but also across tier I, II and III markets. The brand’s campaign film, ‘SirfNaam Ki Nahin, Kaam Ki Degree’,was trending on Twitter and YouTube at the start of the IPL setting the tone for a great season. Speaking about the insight behind the its first-ever association with the IPL 2020 season, Arjun Mohan, CEO, India, upGrad had said, “IPL enjoys vast viewership across the globe, not only for cricket fans but also for all members of a house, making it perhaps the largest co-viewing property in the world. It is also the most opportune occasion to reach out to individuals reminding them about the urgency to upskill and prepare themselves for the forthcoming competitive world.”

The brand’s decision worked marvellously as it recently announced that it achieved a 100% growth since the start of the fiscal year. The campaign results it achieved also busts the misplaced myth about advertiser clutter during the IPL broadcast. During an IPL broadcast, the commercial breaks last no more than a minute and accommodate a maximum of three advertisements, significantly lower than the commercial breaks seen during GEC or news telecasts. Add to that the fact that most IPL viewers, which are often the entire household, remain glued to their seats as they are truly invested in the ongoing game. This ensures that even though there may be as many as five or six brands from the same category advertising, each of them gets a fair share of voice. How else would a first time advertiser like upGrad see the kind of monumental growth it witnessed on the back of its IPL campaign? As per publicly available download data, upGrad secured a 146% increase in daily downloads since the IPL. 69% of those downloads took place during the IPL, as the brand added a noteworthy 7.4 lakh users since the tournament with 1.5x growth in its average daily downloads. It is important to note the role that the IPL broadcast had in driving this growth, which may be best seen in contrast to relatively lower growth numbers seen in rival ed-tech brands that advertised only on the ground. While every association with the IPL ensures tangible and impactful results, upGrad’s results prove that the growth driven by IPL broadcast is unmatched.  

A win-win for all advertisers

The ed-tech brand wagon’s successful run on the back of the IPL broadcast platform is perhaps best seen in the kind of impact Extramarks has made in driving growth and brand recall. The brand scripted a striking growth story that busts yet another myth that only the advertisers with big advertising monies win. The brand’s involvement with the tournament lasted only ten days, unlike others in the category. Despite that, industry reports show that the brand witnessed a stupendous 114% growth in average daily downloads during the tournament days when its advertisements were run. The brand also widened its reach through the tournament and made an impact on consumers in non-metros and smaller regions. Extramarks, through this limited campaign, walked away with a big win thereby demonstrating that the IPL broadcast property is impactful no matter what the level of investment.

It is true that 2020 proved to be the year that emerging categories of advertisers such as ed-tech made their mark. However, what has become abundantly clear is the impact of the IPL broadcast for brands across categories. The past year may have been one of the challenges but the success stories of brands like Byju’s, upGrad and Extramarks are a testament to the game-changing potential the property holds. If the IPL could drive growth and give consumer sentiment a big boost during the festive season during a watershed 2020, what records will it break in the summer of 2021? How will this year’s IPL broadcast push the growth agenda for advertisers looking to make an impact? Which new categories will flourish this year? We look forward to that.

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