MM Awards

Super Bowl 51: The Mobile Advertising Opportunity

Alex Spencer

With the main event of the US sporting calendar taking place this weekend, we asked the industry where it sees the advertising opportunity of the Super Bowl in 2017, beyond its traditional role as the home of the year's biggest TV ad budgets.

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Chris Cardew, head of strategy, Mindshare
“While the out-of-pocket cost for a prime Super Bowl ad slot has certainly increased over the last ten years, brands still value it as a highly effective platform for reaching a large, unduplicated audience in a highly engaged environment. Increasingly, ad exposure is not limited to just the TV screen, as the most successful campaigns begin weeks before the game itself and continue well after the game has ended. It’s therefore not surprising that the Super Bowl has the largest social footprint as well, which often extends to participating brands – for better or for worse.

“This year, brands that have traditionally used a male lead in their Superbowl advertising will likely, or at least hopefully, have reappraised their casting strategy. 25 per cent of the 2016 Super Bowl ads had no women in them at all – a missed opportunity, considering 50 per cent of the viewing audience are women. 2017 is a great opportunity for typically male-targeted industries such as autos, beers and tech to better represent their female customers.”

Duncan Wynn, director of sales, Sky Media
“While American football continues to grow its following in the UK, the impact is just not the same. In an advertising sense, the Super Bowl is a key example of the perfect combination of live and event TV – each country has their own example of a ‘Super Bowl’ moment. It’s an opportunity for massive audiences to come together as friends, as family, at home or in pubs.

“This kind of event TV needs to be watched live. You want to watch it with others and you want to watch in on the biggest screen in the house. The must-watch, talked-about content creates an ideal opportunity for advertisers to connect with consumers in a highly engaged environment – something you just don’t get with any other media.”

Dan Wilson, head of data, Fetch
“For any UK brands doubting the lure of the Super Bowl, it should be remembered that American culture, now more than ever, has become an obsession for UK consumers. The Super Bowl is a US import that has taken to the global stage and is unique, both in terms of its sky-high viewership and the level of creativity that brands adopt to showcase their message. However, with eye-wateringly high ad slots and diminished viewer attention spans, brands should turn their focus towards mobile.

“From previous years we’ve seen that TV advertising causes approximately a 25 per cent increase in mobile activity, with users ‘second screening’ to download apps immediately after viewing ads, tweeting, and posting on social platforms. Therefore, in-app placement or a paid tweet may provide better ROI than a TV ad.”

John Koetsier, mobile economist, Tune
“We see record numbers streaming Super Bowl 51 via mobile and the web. Only about 3.5 per cent of those who watched last year’s Super Bowl streamed it — that number should be close to five per cent this year. Some of the early signals include the increasing demand for the Fox Sports Go app, which will have streaming rights to the game, and growth in searches for ‘football’ and ‘super bowl’.”

John Goulding, global product director, Media IQ
“Social data is an incredibly powerful tool for brands to connect with customers throughout the year, not just at peak sporting moments such as Super Bowl. However, the high viewership of these events cause a major shift in our behaviour and this represents an opportunity for advertisers to use the already high public interest to drive their own agenda. With the huge budgets diverted to TV advertising during Super Bowl, brands will be looking closely at their spend and wondering whether it is worth the investment.

“With social, you get instant feedback and a relatively high level of transparency and accuracy in real-time, something that traditional media has trouble competing with, so will only continue to grow as brand continue to crave genuine and trackable results.”

Sienne Veit, director of online product, John Lewis
“We have come to accept that it is the norm, rather than the exception, for people to dual screen while in front of their TV sets. At this year's Super Bowl, we will once again see brands push the boundaries of experimentation to capture dual-screeners as they watch the event. More brands will use VR and AR experiences in an attempt to create unique, innovative and memorable moments – but unless the technology which supports these is pre-built into social media apps, it is likely most of these will lack the necessary scale to be truly effective.

“On the other hand, brands who have developed Messenger bots to create one-on-one personalised brand/customer experiences – and those who direct consumers to these from TV commercials and via Facebook advertising – will no doubt see the biggest return. Creatively these experiences will have to deliver value to the consumer, but those that do will no doubt be the ones who will win this year's Super Bowl.”

Shachar Orren, vice president of content, Playbuzz
“A recent Salesforce survey found that 80 per cent of viewers planned on using two or more screens while viewing this year's Super Bowl, with social media being the biggest distraction by far. This isn't necessarily a reflection of people becoming disengaged with the Super Bowl as such, but more of a reflection of changing behaviours.

“At Playbuzz, we believe one of the best ways to hold on to an audience's attention is through interactive content, as demonstrated by MTV during Super Bowl 50. MTV issued an interactive quiz around which team watchers should root for, resulting in users spending almost a minute and a half with the content, six times longer than the industry average of 15 seconds. Off-screen content that works across multiple devices is a prime example of how publishers and advertisers alike can engage viewers on Game Day without breaking the bank.”

Tom Cummings, vice president, new market strategy, Fiksu
“Reaching Super Bowl audiences on mobile can result in a 77 per cent reduction in cost per view versus prime time ads. From posting on social media, heckling friends, or reading up on instant analysis and reviews, we can expect almost all viewers to spend some time on at least one mobile screen during the game.

“Coupled with astronomical costs for a Super Bowl ad, marketing on mobile devices during the Super Bowl is the next logical step for marketers. Allocating just a fraction of the budget many brands use for the Super Bowl can help marketers reach millions of viewers on platforms they’re also actively engaging with: their phones and tablets.”