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Bing Gets into Fantasy Football Projections, as Mobile Ad Spending Continues to Rise


For some Americans, September is the beginning of a new year—a time to forget the past and make the most of the future. More specifically, the 2015 NFL season is about to kick off.


Are You Ready for Some Football?  

According to The Fantasy Sports Trade Association, there were 41.5 million fantasy sports players in 2014. This market represents more than fanaticism; marketers view them as an opportunity, especially on mobile. 

Bing Predicts, for example, has taken strides to improve its prediction algorithms and provide fantasy football players with immediate statistical data using a bounty of helpful metrics. The improvements include individual player projections that analyze several data points such as social signals, recent games, match-ups, and roster changes as well as adjustments to the coaching staff. 

Additional features include updates on free agents as well as “Power Rankings,” which is a list of predictions for division winners and likely playoff teams.  

Does this sound too good to be true? This Microsoft service is not without its own motivations. Despite significant gains on Google in the most recent quarterly earnings report, Microsoft hopes the new player algorithms will provide enough incentive for fantasy players to keep using Bing well after the NFL season.


Familiar Territory  

This is not the first time an algorithm or prediction-based software has made the rounds in fantasy football leagues. Yahoo, in fact, uses a company called Pro Football Focus to make its predictions. Additionally, Bing Predicts branched out in recent years to other sporting events like the World Cup and Wimbledon, as well as big events like the Academy Awards and US elections. 

Bing’s marketing initiative follows a familiar path. As mobile behavior increases, so too will the marketing spent in this arena. According to eMarketer, search ads, like the ones you’ll see on Bing, are predicted to reach nearly $14 billion this year. Harnessing the fantasy market isn’t just about helping users win fantasy games: it’s about winning consumer dollars.  

But will it help you in your fantasy football quest? Maybe. According to Walter Sun, Principle Applied Science Manager at Bing, during the knockout round of the 2014 World Cup, Bing went 15 for 15 in its predictions. Last NFL season, Bing’s game predictions were just shy of 70 percent accuracy. 

Whether or not users score the perfect fantasy season is irrelevant to Bing’s marketing plans—they are predicted to have a favorable season. 



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