How can marketers take advantage of mobile usage during the Super Bowl?
By Dan Butcher
January 28, 2011
Get in the game
Viewers of Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6 will be using their mobile devices while they watch the game and the much-buzzed-about commercials. How can marketers reach that connected audience?
Consumers will text their friends throughout the game, and users of smartphones and tablets may watch live streaming music and video online and upload comments and content to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The bottom line is that viewers will be connected on Super Bowl Sunday via their mobile devices, which presents a unique opportunity for marketers.
“Based on our research, smartphone usage during the game could more than double PC usage,” said Chris Urinyi, CEO for the Americas at Lightspeed Research, Warren, NJ. “We expect high and consistent smartphone usage on Super Bowl Sunday, and according to our results, people will continue to use their phone throughout the game.
“While the most popular PC activity will be non-Super Bowl-related, the most popular activities for the majority of smartphone users will be game-related,” he said.
“The findings illustrate just how integrated the smartphone has become and proves the enormous opportunity for brands to connect with next-generation consumers.”
Fans watch a mobile video featuring NFL players
Of those with a smartphone, 59 percent will be sending emails or SMS messages about the game, 18 percent will be checking out ads online from their phones and the same number say they will visit advertiser Web sites, per Lightspeed.
Almost a third—32 percent—will be posting comments about the game on a social network, with women more likely to do this than men—37 percent versus 26 percent.
An impressive 45 percent of those with smartphones plan to use them during the actual game—that is more than double the number of those who anticipate using the Internet from their home computer—22 percent.
The Super Bowl represents a golden opportunity for mobile marketers
“With audiences planning to use their smartphones for mobile Web, multimedia and social networking on game day, brands must regard the smartphone as one of the most powerful devices for successful cross-channel marketing,” Mr. Urinyi said.
“For brands and marketers, this could mean serious interaction time with audiences, even when eyes are clearly off of the TV,” he said.
“On Super Bowl Sunday, the smartphone will give advertisers a near-instant platform on which to reach consumers in the moment.”
Mobile call-to-action: springboard to loyalty
Not adding a mobile call-to-action to those pricey Super Bowl television commercials would represent a major missed opportunity.
As much as Super Bowl advertising is a branding vehicle and product introduction launch pad, there is no better place to integrate mobile to build loyalty.
During last year’s telecast, Denny’s offered free Grand Slam breakfasts.
However, instead of providing the giveaway through a mobile offer, consumers came and went without Denny’s having the ability to reengage them.
“Contrast that with Arby’s introduction of the Roastburger,” said Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer at Hipcricket, Kirkland, WA. “Airing first on Jimmy Kimmel Live, it was the springboard to a successful mobile loyalty club that has been embraced by consumers and led to more than 170 local databases for more targeted communications.
“My hope and expectation is that brands will leverage the enormous spend rather than use Super Bowl advertising as a one-off,” he said.
Mobile is social, social is viral
A huge number of consumers will be keeping in touch with friends during the big game via SMS, the mobile Web and applications.
Viewers will be accessing social media using their handsets, buzzing about big plays and rating the TV commercials.
That represents an opportunity for brands to join the conversation.
“For a majority of people, the mobile device has become an essential part of the way they enjoy events, and the Super Bowl is a watershed for this convergence of behavior,” said Webster Lewin, senior vice president and director of digital innovation and strategy at MSLGroup Americas, New York.
“Expect to see a flood of status updates and tweets related to the game, virtually all of which will be originated from mobile,” he said. “Naturally, multitasking and mobile media consumption are at their highest during the Super Bowl, as well as massive spikes in mobile search queries.”
While football enjoys its greatest level of popularity here in the U.S., the Super Bowl is a global event.
Adding a mobile component to a traditional campaign can make the ads or messaging more targeted and actionable.
The recent Lightspeed Research study on Super Bowl mobile phone usage underscores how critically important mobile is to an integrated communications strategy.
“In light of these findings and the tremendous funding that supports traditional media campaigns, Super Bowl marketers should look to create a seamless brand experience for audiences, making sure that mobile-optimized landing sites and media placements are in place," said Mark Wright, vice president of marketing at Adenyo, Toronto.
“More importantly, marketers should look to add a mobile call-to-action to their broader communications strategy, capitalizing on the highly interactive nature of the game and adding additional audience engagement metrics to their campaign key performance indicators,” he said.
“It is clear that Super Bowl audiences will make heavy use of their mobile phones during the game – and it is essential that marketers follow these audiences into the mobile channel.”
Super Bowl XLV
Related content: Media, mobile usage, Super Bowl, Super Bowl XLV, mobile marketing, SMS, mobile social media, mobile social networking, mobile advertising, mobile Web, apps, Chris Urinyi, Lightspeed Research, Jeff Hasen, Hipcricket, Webster Lewin, MSLWorldwide, MSL, Mark Wright
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