March Madness upsets are good for business.
It keeps fans interested in the NCAA men's basketball tournament -- and within the sights of auto advertisers such as Infiniti that are going all-in with digital marketing efforts.
Judging by the numbers, digital hasn’t hit its ceiling yet.
Downloads for the March Madness Live app, in which people can watch the games on their phones, rose 40 percent in 2014. The app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices had 4.5 million downloads.
The Android version of the app, which Infiniti has sponsored since 2011, accounted for 1.2 million downloads in 2014 (Buick, also a corporate partner of the NCAA, sponsors the iPhone and iPad app).
A crew of bracket-busting Cinderella teams fuels fan engagement and could help boost these numbers even more this year, said Allyson Witherspoon, Infiniti USA's director of marketing communications and media, in an interview.
“Last year was the first time we saw this huge increase digitally, so I think that’s only going to grow. Especially after the first day of games, you’re seeing a lot of upsets, which is similar to last year,” Witherspoon said. “The tournament so far has really been engaging and people are watching. I think we will see an increase in those numbers.”
Witherspoon said Infiniti experienced a 25 percent boost in brand searches online during last year's tournament, which it attributes to the brand's promotions.
Infiniti's marketing will focus on the QX60 during the preliminary rounds this year, then move to the Q50 during the Final Four.
"What's interesting about college sports is that there's a pretty even male/female skew, so we're able to get both genders, which is really nice," Witherspoon said. "You don't always get that with every sport."