It Pays to Try Your Luck at Digital Branding as a Cash Business

If a consumer has a $5 bill burning a hole in their pocket, will they spend it on a candy bar for an afternoon sugar rush, or the opportunity to be a part of a bigger game like the lottery?

Although spontaneous purchases may in part be motivated by having spare cash on hand, digital branding campaigns can have a significant influence over those split-second decisions. Despite the inability of marketers to directly attribute digital ads to sales in these markets, it’s still a targeted way to engage with consumers to stay top of mind when they do have cash on hand.

There are some different creative tactics that cash businesses like lotteries can incorporate into their digital marketing efforts to interact with customers and build interest to drive sales at the right moment.

The Lottery Numbers Game

One in two U.S. adults purchases a lottery ticket at least once annually — and one in eight buys one at least once a week. In fact, “Americans spend more on lottery tickets every year than on cigarettes, coffee or smartphones, and they spend more on lottery tickets annually than on video streaming services, concert tickets, books and movie tickets combined,” writes historian Jonathan D. Cohen in his book For a Dollar and a Dream: State Lotteries in Modern America. In 2021, Americans spent nearly $105 billion on lottery tickets, or about $320 a year for the average adult. And even though we’re in macroeconomic uncertainty, lottery sales tend to be higher in periods of recession.


While lottery tickets or scratch-offs are often bought on a whim, there are also key purchase occasions such as 18th birthdays, the winter holidays and other dates such as St. Patrick’s Day. Consumers are even purchasing lottery tickets whose proceeds go to social causes. Within the U.S., for example, lottery ticket sales benefit programs in public education, veterans services, the environment, crime prevention and more (with beneficiary depending on state).

And then there’s the experience of playing the lottery itself: the anticipation, winning (even just a few dollars) and something bigger like a second-chance promotion. This experience piece is key for lotteries wanting to shift their perception from being a vehicle for gambling to one for entertainment. Lotteries hoping to reach younger and more diverse consumers can tap into some of these angles since Gen Z and millennial consumers prioritize both social good and experiences.

Hit the Jackpot with High-Impact Video

Digital video remains one of the best mediums for driving mass awareness across industries, and lotteries are no different.

High-impact, immersive video units delivered across CTV/OTT, mobile and desktop can help keep retailers that sell lottery tickets top of mind for consumers when they have a few dollars to spend. Video has proven effective at capturing the attention of both avid lottery players and those who don’t play very often or at all, due to the emotional connection of the medium. And it can help emphasize messaging around “playing” versus “winning.”

To this effect, you can also add interactive, gamified elements to lottery-focused video ad units. For example, your lottery ad unit can allow consumers to play a portion of a game, demonstrate how a game works or let viewers type in an address to determine at which local retailers they can buy certain products. Adding prominent calls to action within video-driven experiences can also encourage lottery intenders to click through and learn more about the products.

Lotteries and retailers selling lottery products can consider using interest-based audience data within their video campaigns to reach existing lottery players and brand-new customers. Using location targeting, you can find consumers near retailers and those who are thinking about an opportunity to make a purchase and drive foot traffic to nearby stores. Additionally, location measurement can help quantify in-store visitation and cost per store visit resulting from your campaign.

Your Winning Advertising Strategy for Lottery

Don’t play the game of chance when it comes to trying to reach both lottery intenders and new consumers. Incorporating high-impact video into your lottery campaigns will enable you to reach the right consumer at the right time with the right message.

Jessica Clemens is Senior Specialist, Client Partnerships – Lottery and Gambling at She works with’s Media and Entertainment vertical team to develop strategic digital video solutions for lottery advertisers. Prior to joining (formerly Exponential), Clemens spent eight years working agency-side. Most recently, she was the Associate Director on the California Lottery digital planning and buying team at Horizon Media.

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