Advertising 7 Min Read

7 Athletics & Sporting Goods Audience Segments to Help You Go for the Win

Written by Tim Edmundson

If you’re a sporting goods, apparel, or equipment retailer, chances are you know there are a lot of different types of sports enthusiasts out there. From TV-watching fans, to Crossfit warriors, to high school athletes, your customers can be a pretty eclectic mix of shoppers. And with Global Industry Analysts Inc. reporting that the sports and fitness apparel industry alone will reach $231.7 billion worldwide by 2024, there’s a lot of them out there.

So how do you find them? Or more importantly, how do you go beyond the obvious to find shoppers who are receptive to your message, but aren’t in the usual audience segments? We’ve been running digital campaigns for sporting good retailers for some time now, and have discovered a few segments that may may not be obvious choices, but definitely yield results.

Access 3rd Party Data to Expand Your Options

When it comes to reaching an audience interested in sporting goods and athletic wear, 3rd party data provides insights your first party data can’t. SteelHouse has partnered with Oracle and the Oracle Data Cloud to allow advertisers to provide an endless number of sports and athletics segments. With all these possibilities at your fingertips, let’s get started by recommending some offbeat segments that we’ve seen perform.

Approach: Coffee & Comfort

  • Segment Name: Coffee Chain Shoppers
  • Why You Should Use This: If you’ve ever wandered into a Starbucks, chances are there was at least one person decked out in yoga pants or sportswear. There’s a lot of overlap between coffee enthusiasts and sportswear owners, and while this isn’t an obvious segment, it turns out that sometimes it’s worth rolling the dice.

Approach: Luxury Sportswear

  • Segment Name: Luxury Sports
  • Why You Should Use This: This audience segment is more focused on purchases that emphasize style, look and personal brand image. They tend to be young adults or professionals, and sometimes can include teenagers who want (and can afford) brands that are unique from those their parents wear. Luxury sports apparel buyers are a very interested in the complete brand story of the companies they make purchases from. Targeting them on Connected TV will allow you to display longform ads with high res formats, and the ability to serve them relevant ads across web and mobile at the same time – all in one comprehensive sweep.

Approach: Upcoming Midlife Crisis

  • Segment Name: Age 35-39
  • Why You Should Use This: When you hit the backend of your 30s, the days of eating an entire sleeve of Oreos in one sitting and maintaining a slim figure are long gone. Ages 35-39 are a time of renewed interest in physical activity and health, and it’s coupled with buying power. Making users in this age group a priority could do your campaigns wonders.

Approach: Travelers

  • Segment Name: In-Market Flight & Hotel Shoppers
  • Why You Should Use This: Travelers, especially athletically-minded ones, are always in need of new clothing and equipment. This audience may be looking for discounts on limited-use items or Sports/travel packages, and they tend to research purchases well ahead of their trip. And when they aren’t able to travel, they are likely watching content that allows them to escape the everyday and fantasize about their next trip. Incorporating Connected TV into your strategy to capture this target audience will make it even easy to catch this on-the-go group before their next adventure.

Approach: Women’s Everyday Sportswear

  • Segment Name: Lululemon athletica
  • Why You Should Use This: Don’t hesitate to use targeting that may call out one of your competitors. Women’s athleisure is a big part of the sportswear scene, and you can engage them through call-outs for sustainable apparel in your ads. Just like in our recommendations for targeting beauty and cosmetics audiences, these consumers are looking to make more eco-friendly and socially conscious purchases, and are willing to spend more to achieve this goal.

Approach: Off Roaders

  • Segment Name: Outdoor Activities & Camping, Hiking, and Backpacking
  • Why You Should Use This: The Off Roaders will do extensive research online about potential purchases due to the high-priced nature of their interests. In fact, 64% of campers reported that sales and discounts are the largest factor what they end up buying, according to a survey conducted by Outdoor Industry Association.

Approach: Sports Aficionados

  • Segment Name: Golf, Football, Water Sports, Soccer…. And walking?
  • Why You Should Use This: This is an obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning because it can help drive your core audience to your site. Leave no stone unturned and drill down further by targeting specific team names for each sport, especially based on geography. And don’t forget the ‘walking’ segment, many walkers will need athletic gear, and if they’re a sports fan, they love to rep their team while out on the walking trail.

Get Creative with Your Targeting

There are a lot of segments available when you’re plotting out a sporting goods and athletics campaign. The key to success is relying on the tried and true segments that have traditionally brought customers to your site, and pairing them with less-obvious but effective segments that can give you the edge over your competition. Some of the segments above may not seem like they’d work (coffee drinkers? okay…) but we’ve seen positive results coming from them. So the next time you’re planning out your campaign, keep a few of these in mind, or look for similar ones that match your offering better. Chances are your campaigns will benefit from it.