Sports Marketing Campaigns: PropellerAds Sports Traffic Guide

Author: Mariia Peretyatko (PropellerAds)

Champions League is a huge sports event that attracts millions of football fans all over the world. People watch sports teams events eagerly – they are already there, at their screens, interested and excited. 

While the main sports marketing campaign wisdom sounds like “follow your customers”, reaching your potential leads during football matches is a must for an affiliate. To summarize a marketing strategy in a few words, large sporting events like the Champions League increase your chances of getting significantly more money.

 And we have analyzed our advertisers’ stats and strategies to deliver some practical tips and help you double or even triple your income. Ready? Let’s roll! 

Why should you pay attention to sports events? 

Okay, let’s get straight to the point – during huge sports events users convert much better. This is not an assumption, but a fair fact backed up by our statistics. Want some proof? We have it. 

These numbers are for one sports marketing campaign on the sport streaming website: 

As you can see, the best results were achieved on the 28th of May, the day of the Champions League final match in Paris. We have 2,837,578 impressions compared to the second-best result – 1,183,410 impressions. Sounds convincing, right?

HаIf you are already looking forward to starting effective sports marketing campaigns, we have a bunch of practical recommendations to share with you. 

Event-based campaign launch: make it smooth and efficient 

After analyzing numerous successful sports marketing campaigns of our partners, we have made a couple of useful conclusions. 

Which verticals perform the best? 

First of all, let’s decide which offers you should take. According to our findings, we can highlight two verticals that perform exceptionally:

Well, of course. As your audience is interested in sports, they are most likely fond of all the sports betting sites. Various online games, deposits for favorite teams, or voting are perfect. 

Whatever you find in the iGaming vertical – grab it because such offers are totally relevant to the sport events. 

The second champion vertical is Utilities. Why so? There are several categories of super-relevant offers for sports streaming: VPNs, cleaners, and antiviruses. 

VPNs perform exceptionally well when you offer them during or before the match. There are a lot of countries that block streaming services, but people still want to watch the game. As such, your offer will come in handy – suggest that a VPN can help viewers reach the desired content with no restrictions. 

As for cleaners, ad blockers, antiviruses, and other similar mobile apps, they are great as well. So, if you compose a relevant CTA, make stunning creatives, and do the right targeting by platforms, you have all chances to get conversions.

Some ideas for engaging text: 

  • VPNs – “Reach free online content with no problems” or “Watch [game name] tonight for FREE with [product name];
  • Cleaners – “Make your phone work faster – avoid slowdowns during the game”
  • Ad blockers – “Enjoy the game without any annoying ads”
  • Antiviruses – “Make sure that your smartphone is safe”

Preparations for a launch: get ready and go ahead

You should start preparing your sports marketing campaigns beforehand and schedule them wisely. Here are some marketing strategy recommendations from our Sales Team: 

When to start testing 

“You should begin earlier and launch a couple of A/B tests for your creatives. Make sure to have at least a couple of weeks before the event for testing – you need to figure out which set of creatives brings maximal CTR before the fun starts. Then you just use it in your event-based campaign with no risks” – Alex Shovkun, PropellerAds Sales Team.

When to launch a sports marketing campaign

As for the launch, you should also start a couple of days before the event. As our experts suggest, 2-3 days before the match is the optimal time. 

Why so? Well, you need to warm up the audience and involve them in your campaign before the major sporting event starts. This way, your prepared audience will react faster and convert better.  

How to schedule sports marketing campaigns

Actually, those three days of your campaign before the match don’t require any special scheduling – you should run your ad all the time. As for the day of the event, make sure to track the results of the game itself and see if you need to change the rates. 

If you are targeting the country represented on the football field and this team is winning the game, your betting campaign might need some adjustments. Indeed, potential success can motivate more people to support their favorite players, so you should think about raising the rates. This will also help you beat the competition – other affiliates will be struggling for their attention for sure. 

Which ad formats are the best:

For an event-based campaign, PropellerAds recommends the Interstitial format + Onlick (Popunder) traffic – this option is definitely winning due to high visibility. 

When users are excited about the match, they are super focused on it, so catching their attention is not that easy. This means that you need something really eye-catching, like Interstitial and Onclick. These formats usually have the best CTR, since they are almost impossible to overlook. Again, another good idea to beat the competition. 

Push is also an option here. As we checked the statistics of PropellerAds affiliates, we can claim that Push notifications ensure high revenue during sports events, especially for Utilities.

Which pricing model to choose

According to our partners’ experience, you should pick CPM or Smart CPM for Popunder, CPC or CPM for Interstitials, and CPC for Push Notifications. 

Also, PropellerAds has a CPA Goal pricing model. This works well with Push, Onclick, and Interstitials. Technically, the CPA Goal is not just a model, but an AI-based auto-optimization instrument that helps you drive conversions at the price you set. 

By processing big data, CPA Goal can predict which traffic segments are likely to bring conversions without overpaying. Nice option for event-based campaigns, considering that traffic becomes more expensive these days! Just don’t forget to set the S2S Tracker to let CPA Goal gather data about your conversions and do the optimization job properly. 

How to plan your budget:

Mind that while sports events are fruitful, numerous large betting companies and small affiliates try to get the most of them. Traffic prices double, competition gets hotter. 

Remember that new campaigns require high bids – this way, you can get more traffic, test them properly, and do the optimization job. Later, you can decrease your bid or increase ad frequency if the budget spends too fast. 

What to do if you don’t get enough traffic 

If your ad campaign can boast a high CTR (>2%), but the amount of traffic you receive is small, try duplicating this campaign and launching it again with a higher bid. Also, if your expectations about traffic volumes are not satisfied, you can try broadening your targeting. 

How to set up your targeting

  • GEOs: 

Logically, whenever you aim at sports fans, you need to target users from a relevant GEO; if it is Germany and England on the field, well, you target Germans or English.  

But there are some stable GEOs with high sport-traffic performance, like Brazil, USA, Mexico, South Africa, Indonesia, Canada, Spain, Italy, Ukraine, Africa, India, and Germany.

  • Scope:

Our advice: start with wide targeting. There are matches appreciated by a much wider audience than fan clubs of particular sports teams. What is more, you can find fans of a particular team outside. Usually, these are really important final ones or a collision of popular teams. 

  • Tools:

How about handy tools able to boost your performance? We can suggest some for your sports marketing campaign (you can find them in your PropellerAds account):

Demographic and Interests Targeting

This one is a must for everyone willing to get the most relevant traffic and therefore; even more conversions. As you know, when people see an offer that reflects their interests, you don’t even have to fight for their attention and invent too many marketing tricks. 

Demographics and Interests Targeting (available for Push notifications) can help you reach people interested in Sports, iGaming, and Utilities – perfect for an ad campaign. Also, you can choose the relevant gender – most football fans are men. 

Direct Click

To get traffic with an exceptional CR, you should try Direct Click. With Direct Click, your visitors will get right to the offer page without any additional clicks and moves. When your users reach the offer, they are still “warm” and ready to act. 

By the way, when we call Direct Click’s CR exceptional, we are not kidding – according to our tests, it can be up to 120 times higher than regular traffic usually has. 

Templates for Interstitials  

Templates for Interstitials are extremely CTR-boosting. According to our tests, the Dark Blurr template can boost CTR up to 2 times! And it really suits Sports offers stylistically, take a look at these sports marketing campaign examples:

Which creatives work with sports marketing campaigns:

Make sure to use a pre-lander for your campaign. A pre-lander is the perfect place to describe your offer and motivate users to convert. What to include:

  • Free stuff and gifts – if your offer implies any bonuses or freebies, make sure to inform your readers about them, be it a free trial, no-deposit participation, or anything similar;
  • User protection and safety – prove reliability for any offer that includes financial operations or download/installation opportunities. Talk about guarantees, safe payment options, and other customer-care measures;
  • Instructions – don’t make your potential leads wonder how to convert (and bring you money). Explain which actions are required to participate, like Register > Sign Up > Get a Bonus.

From our partners’ experience, there are evergreen creative sports marketing ideas for images, like these:

  • Flags of the teams:

Clickability of such creatives is amazing: about + 9% to your CTR

  • Mention bonuses:

Being clear about bonuses is a great way to get +11.4% CTR.

  • Epic football players: 

It’s hard to resist clicking such a banner. And users think so, as well, because footballers can increase your CTR by 3.7%

  • Female fans:

As most sports fans are men, they cannot overlook such a pretty football fan for sure. 

What about VPNs? 

As you remember, we also discussed Utilities offers that convert pretty efficiently during the football season. Again, as numerous fans watch matches online, they may need a VPN to get access to the live streaming service or to make their browsing safe. We have prepared some relevant Utilities creatives to show:

Classic, converting pre-lander with nice icons, instructions, and a clear explanation of why a user may need the app. Neat, professional, appealing.

The next one is an In-Page Push notification:

Again, simple icon, clear text – the stuff, but not the fluff. Works great during sports matches.

And we left a real masterpiece for dessert, an idea reserved for truly the best sports marketing campaigns:

Just no words here – a great idea to hook users who really want to continue watching the show without missing a single second. Keep that in mind.

What to do to get the right traffic

All the ideas mentioned above need to be put to the test against real users. Human behavior, especially when influenced by strong emotions, is not easily predictable. This is even more true during far-from-normal times.

Look at recent years. Before 2020, ads were a race towards being the flashiest and eye-catching commercial. The recent pandemic caused a turn and the emergence of ads focused on empathy and human connections

To be ahead of the game, you should catch the trends as early as possible. The best way to do so is to use an ad tracker such as Voluum.

We’ve already mentioned the importance of setting an S2S tracker to pass conversions back to PropellerAds. Now let’s talk about ad trackers some more.

Voluum goes between PropellerAds and your offers. It meticulously counts each click with all corresponding data – more than 30 data points! It also connects all your advertising channels and presents it in one dashboard. This gives you both a bird’s eye view of all your marketing campaigns and detailed analysis of a small segment of your traffic.

  • Perform in-depth analysis with drill-down and grouping options (for example, see how a particular offer works in a given city on a concrete device type)
  • Reroute traffic based on its characteristics to different offers or landers (for example, iPhone traffic to one lander and Android traffic to another)
  • Automate much of your work with auto-rules (for example, bid up on campaigns with low CTR or pause the ones with a low conversion rate)
  • A/B test different approaches and select the best performing offer or lander

Whatever change lies ahead, you should gather and analyze all relevant data.


Now let’s sum up and make sure that you know everything about sports marketing campaigns, so that the next Champion League or other significant occasions will make your wallet at least two times thicker:

  • Expect traffic growth: at least 3-5 times;
  • Prepare well in advance: start testing creatives a couple of weeks before; launch a campaign 2-3 days before the event;
  • Choose relevant offers: iGaming and everything connected with Sports; Software and Utilities for live-streaming services;
  • The best-converting formats: Onсlick and Interstitial, but you can experiment with Push, as well; 
  • Pricing models: CPM or Smart CPM for Popunder, CPC for Push Notifications, and CPC or CPM for Interstitials;
  • GEOs: target countries of the playing teams; target ever-green regions – Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Ukraine, and Germany;
  • Use tools: Demographics and Interests Targeting, Direct Click, and Templates for Interstitials; 
  • Themes for creatives: footballers, female fans, flags, bonus amounts, classic VPNs for streaming services. 

That’s all, folks! Use these tips for your next event-based campaign and increase your chances for a head-spinning income! 

Author: Mariia Peretyatko (PropellerAds)

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