India might have lost its first T20 match in the ongoing ICC World Cup with New Zealand. But one loss isn’t stopping the cricket frenzy nation to look forward to the ‘win or die’ second game. Who better than an arch rival like Pakistan at the legendary Eden Garden stadium. The cricket madness in the country has doubled with the World Cup right before the IPL.
Today we don’t just enjoy the matches offline but choose to express our feelings, our madness and angst on social media mostly on our 5-inch screen. Brands aware of this are working 24*7 to reap maximum benefits during this cricketing festival. Tech companies and social networking giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter have come up with innovative marketing and product innovations. The objective is simple – users should spend maximum time on their networks when they are watching as well as when they aren’t watching the games!
The search giant Google has decided to come to the rescue of cricket buffs with its special cricket ‘search’ features on the Google app. Google wants to bring to cricket fans all the news, updates about players, personalities and commentators, score boxes with in-depth game stats and a new live sports commentary panel, right on their smartphone. Google wishes to share this information in English as well as in Hindi.
Search for commentary from a wide range of players; also, when you search for cricket and ICC World Twenty20 related queries like “T20” or team names during and after matches, you’ll see real-time commentary on the match from a range of cricket stars.
Besides these two new search features that Google plans to continue till IPL 2016, it has also come out with an aggressive marketing campaign. Associating with Lowe Lintas Delhi, Google has launched a couple of ads that tell us how the app can keep you updated this cricket season and answer all your cricket related queries at once.
Armed with subtle humor, one of the 30 second spot shows how men are keeping themselves updated with the score while grocery buying. Thanks to the Google app that was providing them with updated scores, it solved the confusion of the lady standing at the counter. The second ad (my favourite) Jersey is the adorable story of a father-son. A little cricket fan is busy prepping up for the T20 matches by painting a jersey in blue, just like the Indian jersey. But the rains play spoilsport leaving him heartbroken. The father gets on to his Google app and manages to bring his son a jersey on time for a match. The video ends with a message – ask all your questions from the cricketing world to the app and get your answers.
Twitter – which has been continuously saying that India is the growth engine for Asia Pacific at Twitter and the fastest growing sales market for the region in 2015 – has focused on products and making conversations seamless during the games.
While one can find all the conversations at #WT20, Twitter has worked with ICC to bring to life new Twitter emojis. “When fans Tweet with #WT20, #AskCaptain, or #WT20Heroes, they will see an emoji appear next to the hashtag. In addition to these three emojis, the country flag emojis that were so popular during #CWC15 are back. Cricket fans can cheer for their nation by Tweeting with any of the 16 hashflag codes and having the flag appear next to them,” informed the Twitter India blog.
— Jonno Simpson (@JonnoSimpson) March 7, 2016
Twitter’s growing fondness towards emojis can be figured at a time when it’s been hoping to attract millennials and also simplify the social network. Additionally branded emojis have turned into a revenue stream for Twitter; recently Adweek reported that Twitter is asking its biggest advertisers to speak emoji—for $1 million.
Twitter has also launched Trump Cards along with ICC. To get these cards users will have to tweet about their favourite players to ICC with #WorldT20Heroes. “Fans will then receive a digital Trump Card of a player with his statistics and can collect Trump Cards of all players from across the 16 teams playing in the ICC World T20!”
— ICC (@ICC) March 17, 2016
Twitter has continued with #AskCaptain that we have seen in earlier IPL’s and ICC World Cup. “By Tweeting to ICC with #AskCaptain, Twitter users across the world can participate in the live post-match interviews where one Tweet containing a question will be picked up by the commentators and asked to the winning captain live on global TV.”
— ICC (@ICC) March 16, 2016
Facebook which has more than 142 million users in India of which 90% are mobile, has stuck to introducing product features like Twitter. From the beginning of 2016 Facebook has focused on Live Videos and the recent News Feed change catered to it. “Now that more and more people are watching Live videos, we are considering Live Videos as a new content type—different from normal videos—and learning how to rank them for people in News Feed,” wrote Facebook product managers Vibhi Kant and Jie Xu.
During this sixth edition of the ICC World Twenty20 Facebook has made available the “Facebook Live” feature that is bringing fans closer to the game. With this feature fans can enjoy live videos of over 50 post-match press conferences in real-time from the stadium as well as match analysis, reviews, behind the scenes action, player conferences and more. Publishers like Firstpost are using this feature by having over experts for match analysis and other interesting discussions.
In addition to this, features like new sticker pack, adding temporary profile picture frames to show support for their favourite teams are other cosmetic features. Fans can visit their favourite teams’ Pages to discover the frames.
Twitter and Facebook have made required product updates for the digital audience to get the maximum from the ongoing cricket matches. However Google has introduced search features while pushing its app as the go-to destination for all cricket questions. While it has tapped the digital audience, by creating TVC’s Google has reached out to the audience sitting on a couch and watching TV; digital is growing in the country, however it is television that still drives the masses in terms of reach and engagement.
Creating interesting fun ads only shows Google’s efforts at sensing the Indian pulse, a nation for whom Cricket is more than religion.
Image credit: Facebook