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NASCAR exec: Marketers failed to take advantage of mobile during Super Bowl spots

Please click here to access the archived webinar

A NASCAR executive who spoke during a Mobile Marketer webinar yesterday said that brands missed out during the Super Bowl by not having a clear call-to-action that brought a commercial from being a check in a box to a definitive return on investment.

During Mobile Marketer?s ?Mobile and Advertising Lessons Learned from Super Bowl XLVII? webinar, executives from NASCAR, Zoove/StarStar and a former DDB Chicago executive discussed the potential of second screen and the missed opportunity in the recent Super Bowl commercials. The webinar was moderated by Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Mobile Marketer, New York.

?I think the marketing industry as a whole has evolved over the last several years, not unlike a lot of other industries that were impacted by the economy, you?ve got to be more accountable for the money you?re spending,? said Tim Clark, senior director of optimization and programming at NASCAR, Daytona Beach, FL.

?Certainly in the mobile and social space where those channels are constantly struggling with how to demonstrate value and ROI, there?s got to be something on the other end,? he said. ?When you?re coming up with these campaigns, it?s imperative that there?s an action the advertiser is looking to make happen. There?s got to be something to look at in terms of a tangible ROI.

?From an advertiser perspective, you don?t think it through the way you should, the excitement and novelty of putting together a spot that everyone enjoys building and being able to have the ability to say we?re running a 30-second Super Bowl spot, what gets lost is what?s the other side, or what?s the action or demonstration of success, or what?s the other side of the ROI equation.?

The webinar was sponsored by Zoove/StarStar.

Missed opportunity
During the 2014 Super Bowl, 69 percent of the commercials featured a digital call-to-action such as a Web site URL or hashtag, meaning that 31 percent did not include any form of call-to-action, per data presented during the webinar.

When these brands are spending millions of dollars on 30 to 60-second spots, it would make sense for them to make the most of that valuable time. However, with no call-to-action, it would be very difficult to measure the success of a spot.

Especially with the growing phenomenon of second-screen, marketers can easily tie a television commercial to an action on mobile by including a URL, hashtag or Shazam call-to-action for example. While consumers are watching the games, they tend to be multitasking on their phones, so marketers should have taken advantage of this behavior during the Super Bowl.

?As we have evolved our digital platform over the past two years, we?ve seen that fans are gravitating towards second screen,? Mr. Clark said.

?What we have looked to do is make sure that there?s some perceived value and real value on the second screen that will drive users there and allow us to engage with the right people in the right environment, and I think that?s what our advertising campaigns are geared to do,? he said. ?I don?t think it?s realistic to expect every Nascar fan to sit in their room for four hours watching a game and not multitasking or going on social media.?

As marketers look to roll out second-screen campaigns in the future, Mr. Clark believes that one of the most important factors is consistency. Marketers need to send a consistent message across channels so that the mobile experience meets the expectations set by a TV commercial, for example.

When working with sponsors, NASCAR makes sure to line up its own mobile strategy with the sponsor?s commercials and advertising. There needs to be fluidity between all of the channels.

Additionally, brands need to understand the audience they are reaching with specific commercials, approaching a Super Bowl audience differently than viewers of a midmorning or fringe show.

Extend the conversation
Besides clear ROI, one of the benefits of including a call-to-action in TV spots is extending the conversation beyond those 30-60 seconds.

?Even if it?s for entertainment purposes, you can extend the conversation beyond this spot and have a better one to one relationship with the consumers,? said Marty Siewert, chief revenue officer of Zoove/StarStar, Palo Alto, CA.

?People recognize that mobile is transformative when you can engage that consumer in the moment, and you need to make sure you?re capturing that in a way that?s contextual and also start to look at trends to deliver more insights but it?s easier said than done,? he said.

The other point that Mr. Siewert brought up in the webinar was the need to make any second-screen action as easy as possible. 

If a commercial has a URL in it, that site better be optimized for mobile. Otherwise consumers will not be likely to follow through.

Similarly, there has to be an obvious value for the consumer, whether that be a free download or some exciting piece of content. The marketer needs to convince the viewer to take an extra action.

?What?s the compelling reason why anyone would engage, and make it simple for them to engage,? Mr. Siewert said.

While putting out a Super Bowl ad is exciting and powerful on its own, just throwing out a funny clip is not necessarily going to convince a viewer to go out and buy a six pack of Budweiser. To see an ROI requires more insight and purpose in a commercial.

Dirk Rients, former head of mobile at DDB Chicago, actually predicts that more brands will pull Super Bowl ads from future budgeting and spend that money on digital campaigns.

?Brands are starting to see the value in mobile, they?re starting to see the majority of traffic coming from mobile,? Mr. Rients said.

?We?ve seen a lot of brands sitting out saying, 'we?re going to take this $4M and invest it in digital,'? he said. ?I think the brands that are starting to do that are starting to put dollars to ROI.

?I think there?s going to be a trend of more brands sitting out the Super Bowl and finding ways to invest there $4 million more wisely.?

Please click here to access the archived webinar

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York