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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : April 19, 2012

Millennial Media: Mobile made big impact on March Madness

Just a couple of years ago video streaming changed the way sports fans viewed the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - March Madness. Now, it's mobile that is changing the way we see March Madness, according to the latest Millennial Media S.M.A.R.T. Report.

by Kristina Knight

Millennial Media found:

• 69% of those watching the Tournament used a mobile device while watching
• 69% of those following March Madness said mobile made it simpler to follow games
• 26% of 'passionate' fans primarily used smartphones to follow their teams

Sports apps were one of the big winners during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, according to the research, with a spike in app usage (158% increase week to week) about 5pm on the opening day of play. Overall sports app usage increased about 31% week to week. Social media apps also saw a spike (41%) in usage during the first day of the tournament from 7pm - 11pm.

Apps weren't the only winners, mobile overall saw a high rate of engagement with 88% of 'passionate' fans reporting they used a mobile device for some tournament activity; 78% said they used mobiles specifically to access tournament content.

Other activities included:

• 48% checked scores
• 25% read news about teams or players
• 23% checked a March Madness bracket
• 20% watched game highlights

The actions of consumers during March Madness only underscores the importance mobile has for a growing number of consumers. More than 100 million Americans now own smartphones, according to comScore (February 2012). Meanwhile BIA/Kelsey is reporting mobile local search will push past desktop local search by 2015. About 27 billion more queries, they forecast, will be sent via mobile rather than desktop.

Mobile local search revenues are expected to grow more than 160% to reach $3.2 billion in 2016. The full forecast will be the focus on a one-day conference at MLM (Mobile Local Media) San Francisco on June 27.

Tags: BIA/Kelsey, comScore, March Madness, Millennial Media, mobile consumption trends, mobile local search, mobile marketing, mobile trends, S.M.A.R.T. Report

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