March Madness isn't just a tournament; it's a colossal opportunity for brands to connect with top users via effective advertising and app retargeting strategies. With the 2024 NCAA tournament just around the corner, explore strategies for reactivating sports fans during this time, including the growing trend in sports betting apps.

What is March Madness? 

The annual NCAA college basketball tournament is a single-elimination tournament of 68 teams that compete in seven rounds for the national championship. It takes place in the spring every year. This year, March Madness will occur between March 12 and April 3 and will include 67 total games.

Key Dates

  • Selection Sunday: March 12
  • First Four: March 19-20
  • First Round: March 21-22
  • Second Round: March 23-24
  • Sweet 16: March 28-29
  • Elite Eight: March 30-31
  • Final Four: April 6 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
  • NCAA Championship Game: April 8 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona

The March Madness Advertising Opportunity

Last year, advertising revenue during the NCAA tournament surpassed $1 billion, with CBS and Turner Sports reporting complete inventory sell-outs throughout the 2023 tourney. There was also a boost in viewership year-over-year. The 2023 championship game between the Connecticut Huskies and the San Diego State Aztecs saw 14.69 million viewers tune in. This represented a 13% increase year-over-year.

This shows the lucrative opportunity for brands looking to expand and re-engage viewers tuning in to the much-watched sports event.

Sports Betting Apps: A Rising Trend

Over the last five years — since lawmakers dropped the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the law which effectively outlawed placing wagers on sports nationwide except for in a few states and the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey’s attempt to allow sports gambling in a landmark decision that opened the floodgates for sports betting ventures throughout the country — sports betting apps have expanded rapidly.

Today, 38 states and Washington DC have legalized some form of sports betting and revenue is on the rise. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), sportsbook revenue in the US hit US$7.5 billion in 2022, up 75% YoY. Flutter, the parent company of the sports betting app market leader, FanDuel, estimates that the total addressable US betting market will be worth more than US$40 billion by 2030.

Following these trends, sports betting apps have spiked in usage and revenue. In 2022, sports betting apps raked in $7.4B in revenue, a 71% increase YoY.

The Future: Betting on Female Gamers and Sports Fans

Notably, a rising demographic of the sports betting market are female gamers and sports fans. This aligns with ongoing trends of female players in casual games. That is, the 74% of women of all ages who play casual games daily.

  • More than 3.2 million US women joined sportsbook betting apps in 2022. This was 45% than the previous year, outpacing the growth rate in new male users for the third year in a row.
  • Some sports betting apps, like EA Sports FC, had a ~50% female user base as of 2Q23. This was up from 38% in 2Q22.
  • Last year’s Super Bowl Sunday saw a 51% increase in bets made by female users (versus 39% increase in bets made by male users).

The takeaway?

There is a clear strategic benefit to betting on female app users March Madness themed campaigns. What’s more, for sports betting apps looking to engage top users, targeting users in game apps could be a winning move.

CTV and OTT: Capturing the Cord-Cutters

More people — especially young people — are “cutting the cord” on traditional, linear TV than ever before. This has given rise to new and lucrative advertising opportunities on streaming channels like CTV and OTT.

Revenue from OTT video has accelerated in recent years, growing from $72.52 billion in 2017 to $321.50 billion in 2023. This represents a gargantuan 343.5% rise. At the same time, Linear TV continues to decline, with revenue falling from $99.37 billion in 2017 to only $84.24 billion in 2023. This represents an approximate 15.27% decline.

When it comes to March Madness viewership on streaming platforms, CTV channels are a lucrative opportunity.


Because, on average cord-cutters watch more March Madness games for longer than linear TV viewers. That is, Cord Cutters typically watch 9 games during March Madness at an average 61 minutes per game. On the other hand, linear TV viewers watch 7 games at an average 48 minutes per game. The total time spent watching March Madness for Cord Cutters is 9 hours and 9 minutes vs. 5 hours and 36 minutes for individuals tuning in via linear TV.


For brands, this means advertising on CTV channels during March Madness is a key opportunity for reaching engaged and enthusiastic audiences.

march madness mobile marketing

Source: Kortx

Mobile Marketing Strategies for March Madness

Now, that we’ve covered the trends, here are some app retargeting tips for your March Madness app marketing campaigns.

  1. Leverage Special Offers: Utilize the excitement around March Madness to offer special discounts or promotions. This might be a March Madness-themed sale for a subscription app or a March Madness discount for your gametime meals for a food delivery app.
  2. Customized Messaging: Tailor your ad campaigns to the specific demographics of March Madness viewers. Segment users who are key demographics for sports-related content and align messaging to specific March Madness events.
  3. Timing is Key: Focus on peak times during the tournament to deliver retargeted ads for maximum impact.
  4. Interactive and Engaging Ads: Use interactive elements in your ads to boost engagement and recall. Given the increasing engagement of female users, tying in casual game elements in playable formats could be a strategic win.
  5. Invest in CTV channels: With more cord cutters tuning in to March Madness games than linear TV viewers, now is the time to invest in CTV channels. At YouAppi, we are actively developing CTV campaign channels to meet marketers in their omnichannel needs. Stay tuned.


March Madness is more than a sports event; it's a marketing marathon full of opportunities. By understanding the trends, especially in sports betting apps, and implementing strategic app retargeting, brands can score big during this annual basketball frenzy.

  • The Magnitude of March Madness: A significant advertising opportunity with over $1 billion revenue and a 13% year-over-year increase in viewership in 2023.
  • Sports Betting App Boom: Following the legalization in 38 states and Washington DC, sports betting apps have seen a remarkable rise with $7.5 billion in revenue in 2022.
  • Female Gamers and Sports Fans: An emerging and lucrative demographic in the sports betting market, with over 3.2 million US women joining sportsbook betting apps in 2022.
  • CTV and OTT Advertising: A growing platform for reaching younger, cord-cutting audiences, with OTT revenue jumping to $321.50 billion in 2023.
  • Engagement Through CTV Channels: Cord-cutters watch more March Madness games and for longer durations than linear TV viewers, making CTV a key platform for targeted advertising.
  • Effective Mobile Marketing Strategies:
    • Leverage Special Offers: Use March Madness excitement to offer themed discounts or promotions.
    • Customized Messaging: Tailor campaigns to the demographics of March Madness viewers, including sports fans and female gamers.
    • Optimal Timing: Concentrate retargeted ads during peak tournament times.
    • Interactive Ads: Incorporate engaging and interactive elements, like casual game features, in ads.
    • Invest in CTV Channels: With increasing cord-cutter engagement, brands should look to CTV channels for effective reach.


Looking for a partner to help you retarget your best customers? Look no further — our team of experts is here to help you leverage March Madness for more conversions. Get in touch.