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Horse racing?s other triple crown: mobile ads, geo-fencing and mcommerce

The New York Racing Association is generating awareness for the Belmont Stakes through location-based mobile ads targeting users nearby other popular horse races and in key cities. 

The first part of the campaign delivered ads to mobile devices located inside a geo-fence around the Kentucky Derby on May 3. The ads redirected horse racing enthusiasts to Ticketmaster?s mobile Web site to purchase tickets.

?We think of location as a form of behavioral targeting,? said Adam Meshekow, vice president of product strategy and national retail sales at SingleTouch Systems Inc., Jersey City.

?For example, if you happen to meet the Belmont demographic and live in an area like the Hampton?s, it is close enough of an event to drive a potential fan to,? he said.

?If you happen to have went to both the Kentucky Derby and came back to the East Coast, you are most likely a ?race enthusiast? and therefore more likely to find the Belmont Stakes advertisement relevant.?

SingleTouch Systems partnered with the NYRA and their agency associates on the development of the mobile ad campaign.

Across the board
The campaign demonstrates the NYRA?s commitment to technology strategies and tactics for reaching new fans and enhancing the fan experience in the ?sport of kings? by building an immersive brand presence strategically positioned throughout the Belmont Park footprint.

Now that the Triple Crown is a possibility for California Chrome, the campaign is ramping up accordingly.

The program features SingleTouch System?s ?follow-me? mobile media ads served on Android, iOS for mobile phones and tablets, and is being rolled out in three phases.

Phase one geo-fenced a one mile radius of the Kentucky Derby and delivered in-app mobile ads on race day to fans. Once the ads were tapped, users were re-directed to Ticketmaster?s mobile Web site, where they could purchase tickets for the Belmont Stakes. The creative featured an animated .gif with a horse running across the banner.

Phase two geo-fenced a one mile radius of the Preakness and featured the same re-direct to Ticketmaster and a similar creative.

The final phase is an initiative to drive general awareness for the historic run for the Triple Crown, which has not happened in 36 years, by sending location based mobile ads targeting high profile New York and surrounding metro areas with new creative featuring California Chrome.

In the money
The NYRA has been at the forefront of technology and thought leadership in the thoroughbred industry since its inception. More than 1.6 million individuals attend live races at NYRA tracks annually.

Last February, the NYRA debuted completely redesigned its mobile and online Web sites, boasting a wealth of information.

Key links are displayed prominently near the top of the page to enable fans, handicappers and horsemen to easily locate frequently accessed information including entries, results, replays, Talking Horses picks, scratches, track conditions and more.

The site was designed to be accessible for all visitors, regardless of their previous experience with racing and visually draws interest through increased photo and video content.

The NYRA makes the sport accessible to all visitors, regardless of their previous experience with racing.

In 2011, it launched RaceQuest, a beginner friendly digital handicapping app aimed at new and novice horseplayers that also synthesizes handicapping angles into a useful wagering tool for the experienced bettor.

In the past, the NYRA has worked with SUMOTEXT to leverage the short code platform and SMS Gateway for its mobile alerts and mobile fan promotions.

?Mobile plays a role when it comes to reaching the right audience,? Mr. Meshekow said.

?Race enthusiasts are checking their phone close to 150 times a day, to check the weather, look up horse stats, or purchase tickets en route; it just makes sense to be where our race enthusiast are, which is on mobile.?

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York