When you hear the term March Madness, you probably instantly think of basketball. When marketers hear the term March Madness, they instantly think of the word opportunity.

Every year, when March rolls around, college basketball players from around the country lace up their shoes and gear up for another run at the coveted national title. But it’s not only basketball players who are getting themselves prepared for the big dance.

It’s also one of the biggest months for marketing opportunities for businesses – big and small. Whether it’s a March Madness promotion, a contest or a giveaway, digital marketers around the world are also lacing up their shoes, only it’s probably dress shoes and not basketball shoes.

And when it comes down to marketing for March Madness, it’s all about brand awareness. March Madness opens up one of the greatest real-time marketing opportunities during the 3-week stretch of the tournament, and that’s through social media.

Let’s face it, social media is all about real-time updates, and that has created a great tag team between social media and March Madness. According to the NCAA, 7.7 million social media comments were made about the tournament during telecasts. The NCAA also reported that there were 1.5 billion online conversations that were about corporate partners with the NCAA and March Madness. I’d say that’s a lot of opportunity to use to a marketer’s advantage. Social Media is receiving much of the credit for the 64% increase in ad spending during last year’s March Madness.

Obviously TV Ads are still the go-to strategy for March Madness —according to data released earlier this month by Kantar Media, US TV ad spending on the tournament passed $1.13 billion in 2014 and is expected to surpass that in this year’s tournament. But digital marketing is carving out a pretty nice size niche in March Madness, and it’s thanks to the use of mobile devices.

88% of people use their mobile devices to access March Madness information while 69% use their mobile phones while watching games. Believe it or not, 26% of people use their mobile device as their go-to source for watching games and 48% check scores.

So if you’re that person sitting in your office sneaking a peek at scores and footage on your phone, don’t worry, there’s obviously many others doing the same thing.

We’ve offered more insight on how much digital marketing and social media is using March Madness in the infographic below, so take a look. Also, check out our recent blog post on a few strategies to raise brand awareness during March Madness.