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Gaelic Athletic Association

17 January 2020
Identifying best-performing ad creative with Facebook Brand Lift
Irelands most well-known sporting association utilized videos ads in order to spread awareness during the key Championship season. Facebook revealed insights into one of the most effective ad creatives for Instagram Stories. 

Promoting Gaelic games

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is Ireland’s largest sporting organization, Celebrated as one of the greatest amateur sporting associations in the world. Founded to nurture and promote traditional sports and culture in Ireland. Its annual championship events in hurling and football attract a worldwide audience with sell-out crowds attending every game. Gaelic is an integral part of the Irish consciousness and plays an influential role in Irish society that extends far beyond the basic aim of promoting Gaelic games. 


The GAA’s aim was to promote its online content platform, GAA NOW, which provides match highlights, video clips and archive footage for fans to enjoy. The association asked sports marketing agency Fifty-Three Six to help increase awareness among relevant audiences and drive traffic and engagement on the platform.


Fifty-Three Six analyzed GAA’s previous ad activity and noticed that major events attracted attention beyond the traditional GAA audience appealing to a more general sports fan. In addition, it saw that younger, mobile-first audiences were more likely to engage with content on platforms like Instagram. Due to this information the agency decided to devise a summer campaign around the key fixtures that would promote GAA NOW with multiple audience segments in the most engaging ways possible.
Fifty-Three Six and the GAA used interest-based targeting to show video ads to Irish sports fans across Facebook News Feed, Instagram feed, Instagram Stories, Messenger and Audience Network during summer 2018. Because weekends are the peak time for sports fans to engage online, ads shown on Saturdays and Sundays promoted the GAA’s real-time video content from the weekend’s fixtures. People then saw ads featuring match-day highlights early in the week, and ads featuring archive footage and promoting the coming weekend fixtures later in the week.
The team then showed further video ads to lookalike audiences based on people who engaged with ad content or visited the GAA NOW platform, which helped it expand the overall reach of the campaign.
To assess campaign performance and gain even more insights for the future, Fifty-Three Six measured ad recall of the GAA NOW ads and performed a two-cell brand lift study to test and compare customized and non-customised ad creative in Instagram Stories, side by side. Customised Stories ad creative used the 9:16 aspect ratio to provide a full-screen experience with no accompanying copy, while non-customised ads in Stories used the square 1:1 aspect ratio and GAA NOW-related copy under the video.

The highlights 

The GAA’s May–September 2018 campaign generated a strong uptick in overall brand awareness for GAA NOW and revealed its most effective ad creative for Instagram Stories. The campaign achieved:

  • 16-point increase in ad recall

  • 4X greater engagement, compared to other platforms

  • 80% higher click-through rate than the previous year’s campaign

  • 4-point higher ad recall with square Instagram Stories ad creative

  • 35% more 10-second video views

This blog was originally taken from Facebook.