This Year’s Winner of the Super Bowl – Social and Mobile!
By Aaron Rudger | February 2, 2015
Over the years, Keynote has helped some of the most progressive brands take advantage of the online interaction generated by Super Bowl advertising. As a high profile marketing investment, Super Bowl campaigns have evolved from pure branding, to rich engagement opportunities. For any company hoping to engage consumers online, taking them to a website unable to handle the surge in traffic, or accommodate the range of mobile devices that viewers use while watching the game can lead to disastrous consequences. As a result, over the years, we’ve counseled Fortune 500 companies across the auto, technology industries as well as others to prepare their online presence to meet the unique digital challenge Super Bowl advertising presents.
At this year’s event, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in the way that advertisers leverage their television investments online and adapt to the trends in demographics and social technology. Advertisers have also learned how to avoid the epic failures of the past and capitalize on new strategies for consumer engagement beyond the television (or Internet stream).
Twitter estimates that 28.4 million tweets were sent during the Super Bowl. No surprise, nearly half of all the advertisements run Sunday closed with only a Twitter hashtag as a way to further engage with the brand. Companies have realized that in addition to social network’s dominance during the event and the multiplier effect of networked interaction, Twitter’s platform is great at managing the complexities of scale for events like the Super Bowl. This lifts the burden of implementing a high scale platform for a compressed period that may be torn down only weeks after the campaign. Only a few brands (BMW and Esurance) promoted their website in addition to a Twitter hashtag, while others like Mercedes-Benz and Nationwide promoted microsites along with hashtags.
As we observed last year, mobile has transformed the consumer-viewer experience. Today’s Super Bowl fans watches the game with a smartphone or tablet in their hands (using Twitter). Much like last year, the favored approach to interacting with mobile customers was using a Responsive Design (RWD) website. All of the 14 advertisers closed their spots with a URL, delivered a RWD or dedicated “m.” experience. While microsites used to feature prominently in Super Bowl ad campaigns—sometimes to the peril of the advertiser—only 4 brands drove consumers to marketing sites in 2015, each applying RWD techniques to accommodate mobile customers.
Test in the Real World
Advertisers have increasingly released their spots before the Super Bowl. While this can generate buzz, it also afforded the six companies who pre-released their ads to profile their websites and microsites ahead of the game with real customer traffic. This can be useful understanding likely journeys through the site and how to better prepare it for usage based on real customer behavior. Presuming savvy brands are using technologies like real user monitoring in conjunction with analysis from synthetic monitoring, this “test in production” approach can help avoid performance surprises.
The 2015 Super Bowl was the most watched in history, and advertisers avoided the gaffs we’ve seen previously, engaging the mobile consumer online. Digital has clearly transformed the way advertisers engage with Super Bowl viewers and while performance and quality in the context of your competition and consumer behavior are critical for success, the context of engagement channel and mode have fundamentally changed Super Bowl advertising.