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Super Bowl mobile marketing evolves to be more organic, less integrated

Major brands continued a trend on Sunday that was also apparent during last year?s Super Bowl game, with little integration between television and mobile marketing efforts. 

Despite growing numbers of consumers engaging with a second screen while watching TV, many advertisers paid little more than lip service to this behavior by including a hashtag in their Super Bowl ads while the rest ignored it completely. At the same time, standalone mobile social marketing continues to become more sophisticated, with marketers targeting these viewers with experiences relevant to how they are engaging on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. 

?Last year we saw a lot of, for lack of a better term, ?knee-jerk reactions? from marketers and brands built off the insight that consumers digest content on multiple screens,? said Michael Berelian, director of ecommerce and digital shopper for North America at Geometry Global, New York. ?The idea was to engage shoppers through the TV commercials and drive them to alternate screens. 

?On paper, this theory makes sense,? he said. ?However, it does not account for how consumers actually engage with multiple screens, particularly for this type of event.  

?This year, we saw marketers use a bit more behavioral science to engage and make an effort to build custom content for each screen.? 

Digital augmentation
The Super Bowl is a unique advertising opportunity, with enthusiasm for the ads and halftime show almost as strong as for the game itself. 

It is also a social occasion, with many viewing the game at a party or bar. 

When the game is close, as it was on Sunday night, viewers may be glued to the TV screen more than with other programming. 

For these reasons, marketers may not want to distract from the excitement by encouraging viewers to engage on their mobile device. 

?It makes sense to spend big to make their coveted Super Bowl spots the best they can be, rather than trying to distract from the engaging, non-stop spectacle of the game itself,? said Jordan Gray, manager of Creative Labs at Organic, San Francisco. 

?Mountain Dew did a great job on digital augmentation with their ?Kickstart? slot: knowing that they would be part of the conversation and top ad lists, they had an extended version of their video complete with an interactive end frame ready and waiting on YouTube for an audience eager to review and share, in order to drive further brand engagement in the wake of the game,? he said. 

Organic engagement
None of this is to say that second-screen experiences are becoming less important. 

Rather, marketers are becoming more sophisticated in their understanding of how consumers are engaging across screens. 

?Ignoring second-screen experiences would be a mistake and, fortunately, we didn't really see that happening,? said Geometry Global?s Mr. Berelian. ?The key is to drive engagement organically through a carefully considered approach, not just to tick the boxes by including a token nod to social media.?

While brands may not want to direct viewers to download their app or engage with the brand on a second-screen app, they are also failing to optimize their mobile content for those viewers who do want to engage with the brand online. 

Cross-screen advertising and real-time TV-ad tracking company wywy found that only 38 percent of the 56 TV commercials from the Super Bowl that it studied prominently displayed the product being advertised on the mobile version of their homepage. 

Additionally, 20 percent did not connect their mobile Web site to the Super Bowl ad message and 42 percent showed the product with compromised visibility. 

Social surge
The performance was better from a social perspective, with 48 percent connecting their TV ads with social media through the use of hashtag. 

The social media conversation about Super Bowl ads was active, with 1.9 million mentions across Twitter and Facebook, according to Engagor. Mobile dominated, accounting for 77 percent of the interactions. 

In one example, McDonald?s tweeted about Paramount Pictures? preview ad for the latest Terminator movie, offering viewers an opportunity to win movie tickets for a year among other prizes by retweeting a post. 

The strategy paid off, with McDonald?s the most discussed advertiser on social media, according to Engagor. 

Brands that did not advertise on TV also got in on the social fun. 

After the halftime show, Equador?s tourism board tweeted a message offering to plan Missy Elliott?s next vacation after what the message said was an amazing, but exhausting show. 

Victoria?s Secret tweeted during the third quarter about a flash sale that took place from 9 pm to 12 pm ET on Sunday, encouraging fans to multitask. A free shipping offer was redeemable by using one of two Super Bowl themed promo codes at checkout. 

?Throwing around hashtags to ride the wave of trending topics is the least a brand can do in the social space,? Organic?s Mr. Gray said. ?But if the messaging isn?t in line with the brand or spokesperson?s voice and isn?t relevant to the core audience engaged with a hashtag, what could have been a quick and easy touch point can turn into twitter/tag backlash.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York