5 Ways Super Bowl Advertisers Are Still Losing The Digital Game

Danxoneil-flikr-5647809356_5610585af0_bSuper Bowl ad season is here. Yes, it’s become its own season as we’ve seen advertisers start their campaigns earlier and earlier to get the most out their enormous investment. Yet, beyond posting ads on YouTube and their websites, true digital integration continues to be an afterthought for too many of these brands.

Super Bowl ad campaigns should be omni-channel operations, and brands that don’t adopt digital strategies are simply losing out.

Social, search, email, video, landing pages — any (and possibly all) of these online channels should be leveraged as part of the campaign.  For digital marketers, it’s hard to imagine how the digital integration piece is not an obvious part of campaign planning. But too often digital teams and agencies are still getting left out of the process altogether, or being brought it at the end to “patch on some social”.

Here are five areas in which a real digital strategy could mean exponential engagement for Super Bowl advertisers.

1. Pre-Gaming

Some advertisers come right out and release the full ad ahead weeks ahead of time. Yet, more and more advertisers understand the power of building up momentum and anticipation for their big day appearance with pre-game campaigning.

Volkswagen, which tops Unruly’s list of most shared Super Bowl ads with 2011′s “The Force”, is teasing its 2014 appearance with a banner on its YouTube channel ads.

Volkswagon Tease For 2014 Super Bowl Ad On YouTube

Jaguar, brand new to the Super Bowl frenzy, is betting big this year. It released a high-production teaser video staring Sir Ben Kingsley, who will also appear in the car maker’s game day 60-second ad. On January 15, that video had just over 29,000 views, as of today it’s received over 87,000 views. Not viral, but not too shabby.

Unfortunately, neither of these brands make it easy to connect with them after watching the videos apart from commenting on YouTube.  Jaguar does have a “Stay Informed” button/form on it’s jaguar.com/british-villians landing page, but why not include that as the call-to-action at the end of the video? Subscribers could receive bonus behind-the-scenes content, for example. There’s a list building opportunity passing them by here.

Jaguar is also using the hashtag #GoodToBeBad when promoting the campaign on social media, but the hashtag doesn’t appear anywhere in the teaser video.

2. Effective Calls-To-Action

When spending a minimum of $4 million, branding for branding’s sake shouldn’t cut it anymore. Every single ad this year should have a strong call-to-action. That doesn’t mean showing a tiny URL at the end, or flashing some social icons. There is too much noise not to be giving consumers a clear signal of what to do next. It doesn’t need to interfere with the beauty or humor of an agency’s creative vision. In fact, it should be baked in to feel like a natural extension of the creative. And this is where digital integration becomes such a key force.

Social media has made consumers more comfortable engaging with brands than ever before. Audiences for top brands grew 20 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, and nearly 60 percent of top brands now have followings of 100,000 or more on Twitter alone. Why, in the age of second-screen viewing, would brands not call viewers to engage with them on social channels?

3. Be Ready To Reach Viewers On Mobile

Millions of viewers will literally be holding their phones or tablets in their hands as they watch the game and the ads. Many of these viewers will actually want (if not downright expect) advertisers to ask them to do something on their mobile devices after watching the TV spot.

The opportunities that come with being mobile-ready extend well beyond having a mobile optimized site. Think of all the ways viewers could interact with the brand via their mobile devices — SMS, app downloads, music downloads, bonus video on your site to build retargeting lists are just a few.

And don’t forget search ads here, too. What do you want users to see if they search for your brand during the game? Should click-to-call be enabled, or do you really want people to go to a custom (mobile optimized) page to play a game, share photos, fill out a contest entry, etc.?

4. Game Time In Real-Time

Jaguar has already said it wants to own real-time. But what that will mean to the brand is yet to be seen. Of course game-day marketing isn’t exclusive to Super Bowl advertisers. They’ll find themselves competing on social channels with dozens of other brands looking to grab attention and possibly newsjack the game.

Beyond newjacking, which can also go horribly wrong (See Matt McGee’s recent article, So You Want To Newsjack The Super Bowl? Here Are 6 Rules Brands Can’t Forget), brands should have a well-crafted plan for how and what they’ll be posting during the game, from the channels they’ll focus on to the assets they’ll have on hand, and be ready to adapt quickly based on real-time monitoring.

5. Nailing The Post-Game

This is just the second half for advertisers. Now is the time for follow-through to make sure all that time and money have an actual impact on brand awareness and sales long after the lights go down. Brands need post-game plans to build lasting rapport with their new and re-engaged audiences.

  • Are people sharing and commenting on the brands’ social channels? Acknowledge and reward users’ enthusiasm and interest.
  • Brands that built proprietary email lists through calls-to-action should have those email campaigns ready to go.
  • Advertisers that drove new visitors to their websites will now have new retargeting lists at the ready to slice and dice.
  • Of course, these follow-on efforts should relate back to the call-to-action used to peak their interest in the first place.

People will be talking about the Super Bowl ads long after they’ve forgotten which team won. (Remember, that most-shared Super Bowl ad is from 2011.) Here’s hoping we see brands start making plenty of fundamental plays along with some innovative hail mary’s to win the digital game this Super Bowl ad season.

<h6><em>(Image by <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/juggernautco/5647809356/” target=”_blank”>Daniel X. O’Neil</a> and used via Creative Commons licensing.)</em></h6>

Related Topics: Channel: Video | Super Bowl | Top News

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About The Author: writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting. Beyond Search Engine Land, Ginny provides search marketing and demand generation advice for ecommerce companies. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter



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  • Amanda Shaw

    Excellent article! It really is surprising that they aren’t using digital marketing to its fullest potential.

  • http://localschoolclosings.blogspot.com/ Local School Closings

    good one

  • http://localschoolclosings.blogspot.com/ Local School Closings

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