Aaron Duckmanton, Head of Marketing at Grabyo, argues that it’s time to sack big ad budgets and hijack social media for #Super Bowl LIII.
Millions of eyes will be on the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia this Sunday, as the NFL Super Bowl kicks off for the 53rd time. Sport’s biggest annual event will be watched globally across television and streaming platforms, once again dominating social media feeds around the world.
The power of the Super Bowl has long attracted the affection of brands and publishers. The event pulls one of the largest, and most engaged, single audiences across one weekend in February every year. With so many eyeballs fixed in one place, it’s the perfect opportunity for the world’s biggest and brightest to take centre stage.
However, tapping into this power doesn’t come cheap. Long seen as the Lombardi Trophy of advertising, a half-time, 30-second TV ad spot cost advertisers over $5m (£3.8m) in 2018. But do brands really need to spend this big to see returns, and is a 30 second half-time ad really the best bang for your buck?
Second and mobile
Delivering a second screen has become essential for brands truly looking to captivate and engage the widest possible audience around key events. The vast majority of consumers will access content on their smartphone or tablet for large periods whilst watching the game – but even more so during pre-game, ad breaks and stoppages in play.
Last year, research found 78 per cent of those watching engaged with social media at the same time. Of Facebook’s 240m in-game interactions, 90 per cent took place on mobile.
With so much attention focused on social platforms and mobile devices during the Super Bowl, does the best ROI not sit here? Rather than on a expensive, speculative half-time ad, that is as likely to be seen two days later on YouTube than it is live on television?
By embracing a low cost, flexible approach to creating mobile-optimised video content, delivered live and in real-time, marketers can create authentic experiences that perfectly supplement the Super Bowl. Putting audiences, influencers and the brand itself at the heart of the messaging. And the same principle applies to other big sporting events.
Third and influencer
Influencer marketing can be found in every corner of social media right now. Some good, some bad. Almost every major brand with a play in the Super Bowl will have some form of influencer strategy heading into the weekend. But how can this really work for a brand looking to activate an audience live and in the moment, not just passively on an Instagram Story 24-hours later?
The trick is to get creative with video. Think about creating your own IP, your own live show or real-time social ad campaign. Consumption and interaction can happen there and then. Imagine watching the Super Bowl with a famous face or athlete, where at any point you can ask them to comment, or take part in a live chat, competition or submit your own images and video and have them displayed live in the broadcast.
That’s what effective use of social media can offer, the chance to capture the eyes and awareness of fans not watching every second on the television, and looking to join in the conversation on their phones.
Brands such as Volvo who have invested in this, can deliver a tailored marketing campaign to capture the attention of football fans around the world, reaching a highly engaged user based with actionable metrics, audience segmentation and measurable insights - which used effectively can deliver so much more value than the return of a $5m, 30-second ad.
Fourth and vertical
When it comes to delivering social video and specifically social ads, tailoring content and strategies to each platform is a must. While horizontal videos still have a place on social platforms, consumers are becoming far less willing to turn their phones sideways to view. Even less so for a second screen experience, where attention could be fleeting while the game unfolds.
The likes of Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram are built for vertical video viewing, and are key platforms for social video audiences. Most videos will be also watched without sound. Brands must focus on creating easily accessible vertical content that stands out within a social feed to stop the user scrolling past.
Super Bowl LIII is going to be the year of the vertical video ad, the year of the influencer, the year of the social-first live show – but maybe it’s finally going to the year we see brands turn away from expensive half-time commercials and get creative on the platforms that offer high value for both consumers and brands.