Social integral to mobile?s success in Super Bowl XLVII marketing

Last year, marketers incorporated mobile into their Super Bowl marketing via second-screen initiatives and advertising opportunities. This year, marketers can expect to see social play a critical role in how mobile is used for branding and driving sales.

Over the past couple of months, brands have been readying their advertising strategies for their big debut on Feb. 3. With consumers most likely watching the game with their smartphones and tablets in hand, savvy marketers will marry mobile, social and television together to create a seamless experience.

?Last year there were a lot of spots that took the fire-and-forget approach to their Super Bowl investment,? said Dave Martin, senior vice president at agency Ignited, El Segundo, CA

?They ran their 30-second or 60-second spot and didn?t do much more than that,? he said. ?This year you can expect to see most, if not all of the advertisers in the Super Bowl, getting creative with mobile and social strategies that make the most of the huge creative and media investments they?re making. 

"We?ll probably also see a lot more call-outs to social and mobile platforms like Instagram and Pinterest than we did last year.?

Mobile is social
Brands including Budweiser, Pepsi and Coca-Cola are betting big on social to help elevate mobile efforts this year.

For real-time events such as the Super Bowl, consumers take to social media to talk to their friends and families. A significant amount of this takes place on smartphones and tablets when consumers are likely not near a desktop.

As long as the messaging is contextually relevant to the game, mobile gives brands a great opportunity to inject themselves into social media conversations.

Take Coca-Cola?s approach to mobile this year, for example.

The soda giant is enlisting its fans to help pick the ending of its TV commercial in real-time with a mobile-optimized microsite that is fueled by social media. At the end of the game, Coca-Cola will debut a full-length commercial with the winning ending (see story). 

Pepsi is using photo sharing as a way to incorporate mobile and social and get consumers talking about the game (see story).

In particular, marketers can leverage the second screen for more than just branding this year, per Mr. Martin.

?The second screen strategy can turn a 30-second spot into a five-minute engagement if you deliver value to the consumer,? Mr. Martin said.

?That five-minute engagement could have a big impact on attitudinal metrics like awareness and intent,? he said. ?But at the same time, your phone and tablet are great devices for making transactions. 

"We saw an enormous lift in mobile purchases over the holidays, so I expect to see some Super Bowl advertisers trying to take advantage of this new behavior with discounts and offers that might, for example, expire before the end of the game.?

Mobile streaming
Both the National Football League and CBS ? the broadcaster of the game ? have stepped up their mobile efforts this year.

For instance, NFL Mobile From Verizon subscribers can watch up to 100 hours of streaming content leading up to the game. Then on Feb. 3, users are offered exclusive live video content from CBS? broadcast via their mobile devices.

Additionally, sports fans attending the game can download the NFL?s Super Bowl XLVII Mobile Guide app, which is available on iOS and Android devices, which serves as a hub of information around Super Bowl events and locations around New Orleans.

On CBSports.com, a video console will let fans keep tabs on the broadcasted game via PCs, smartphones and tablets. The site will also aggregate social media feeds and conversations and feature a gallery of Super Bowl commercials.

The initiatives from both companies points to consumers increasingly following content on different platforms, meaning there is an significant opportunity for marketers to interact with sports fans on multiple screens.

This year, consumers can also expect to see more new technology make its way into TV commercials. Savvy marketers will find ways to reward consumers for using their mobile devices in conjunction with watching the game.

?With so many brands competing for a consumer?s time and attention during the Super Bowl, the ones that go the extra mile to incorporate a second-screen experience will surely stand out,? said Bill Clifford, chief revenue officer at SessionM, Boston.

?Incorporating a hashtag, QR code or Super Bowl-specific app into the campaign is a way for marketers to get more for their $4 million investment and increase the time that consumers spend with the branded content,? he said.

?Furthermore, today?s consumers know what their time is worth, so they?ll be more motivated to follow through with a second screen action if they?re rewarded for their time,? he said. ?The ads that leverage mobile as a way to deliver exclusive content or deals will likely see higher, longer-term engagement than the ads that don?t.?

Impulse reaction
Last year, Google reported that 41 percent of Super Bowl-related searches came from mobile. This plays an especially important with finding quick information from advertisements.

In fact, during last year?s popular Chrysler commercial with Clint Eastwood, smartphone searches for the actor?s name grew 5500 percent over the course of the game. (see story). 

Given the uptick in mobile adoption over the past year, marketers can expect for mobile-related search numbers to grow this year.

Savvy marketers will not only look for ways to leverage the opportunity during the game but will also use mobile to drive later Web traffic, according to Drew Wilson, senior director at Acquity Group, Chicago.

?More and more consumers have developed impulsive desires for immediate information and engagement, so a growing number will quickly turn to their phones and tablets when a commercial from the game attracts their attention,? Mr. Wilson said.

?Additionally, marketers have an opportunity to realize a follow-up spike in activity from desktops as consumers turn to the traditional Web site at a later point in time when they want to continue to engage or access additional information from the brand,? he said.

?Creating an optimized mobile solution that consumers can directly access helps brands meet consumer expectations, especially when information is quickly and easily accessible, and the functionality provided on the mobile channel is in the context that the consumer wants to interact with the brand.?

Missed opportunity
The coveted TV spot will cost marketers a steep $4 million for a 30-second spot this year.

Therefore, marketers have little wiggle room to mess up their marketing efforts, meaning that some might be hesitant to incorporate digital elements ? including mobile ? without a 100 percent guarantee that the ads will be a success.

Last year mobile was poised to make a splash with Super Bowl advertisers as well. Only a few brands truly integrated the channel though to take their campaigns to the next level.

?I think we will see a few brands innovate with mobile, but overall not a significant change,? said Dirk Rients, vice president of mobile at Draftfcb, Chicago.

?The price tag this year is roughly $4 million so my guess is that a majority of the brands will stick with what they're comfortable with,? he said.

If marketers do decide to include mobile, promoting a branded app could help brands justify their spend more because of the long-term value proposition that is tied to it.

?Historic evidence points to companies utilizing mobile in their Super Bowl spots specifically for branding purposes,? Mr. Rients said.

?Brands usually use the Super Bowl's large audience to launch new products or promote existing products,? he said. ?Ideally an automotive brand could utilize mobile during the Super Bowl to get consumers to sign up to take a test drive.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York