Digital Campaigns
are Like Football Teams

ESPN recently launched their spot highlighting the College Football Playoff. The spot got me excited for a new season of advertisements tailored directly to football fans. After I watched it, I realized that college football and my work in digital have similarities. I’d go so far as to say digital campaigns are like football teams.

Here’s why.

Any successful football team has three phases that are equally important: a solid offense, an effective special teams unit and a strong defense. If one doesn’t perform well, the chance of winning the game is slim. It’s the same with digital campaigns. They need solid creative, an effective placement and a strong landing page. If one of those is weak, the chance of a consumer completing an action is slim.

Offense: Creative

Creative is the driving force that attracts consumers’ eyes and ears. In sports, the offense delivers excitement and entertainment by scoring points. In digital campaigns, creative is the offense that brings excitement to the consumer, showing what the company is selling and driving them to consider the brand.  

Special Teams: Placements

Typically, you don’t see or hear about the special teams unless they’ve done something really special or terribly wrong. Like a punt or kick return in football, in digital, this phase tries to place the offense (creative) in the best possible position, whether that’s through banners, videos, search ads or other placements. Special teams are the middle phase between offense and defense that link the campaign together. With an effective special teams unit, the offense can perform and score much more effectively. 

Defense: Landing Page

You hear it over and over in sports: Defense wins championships. If you don’t allow the other team to score points, your chance of winning goes up. Your landing page is the defense that keeps the consumer on your site until they complete the action. It should also enhance the user’s experience so they’ll be more likely to come back. Not all consumers will complete an action the first time around. Much like landing pages, defenses are on the field for many plays. They might not cause a turnover on every play, but when they do, there is celebration. Those celebrations are your conversions on your site. When you have multiple days of no turnovers, it’s time to re-optimize your defense.

It is important that all phases of your campaign align and work well together. Like a football team, if one phase isn’t optimized, the campaign won’t be able to perform to its potential. If special teams misses a field goal, don’t be so quick to cut the kicker. Next time the offense stalls, don’t be so quick to jump on the quarterback when it could be the defense giving up all those points. Each phase (creative, placement and landing page) should cheer the others on to victory.

Don’t forget to review the film to see how you can improve for next week’s game!