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Super Bowl LI : Game Plan for Advertisers

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By Malcolm Cox, Marketing Director, Grapeshot

We are less than a week out from one of the largest advertising events of the year – the Super Bowl. We all know the Super Bowl veterans, such as Budweiser and Doritos, are going to bring it, buying slots to air iconic commercials that will resonate with viewers for days. But there might still be some untapped potential that Super Bowl rookies can take advantage of to get some much-wanted playing time.

Over the past few years, television has seen a drastic decline in viewing figures and football has been no exception. “Last week, it was revealed that the NFL's Nielsen ratings were down 8 percent for the 2016 season”

Just like other TV entertainment, the NFL has lost viewers, as they continue to flock to online streams as their primary source of entertainment. Last year, the NFL unveiled Twitter as its exclusive digital streaming partner in a bid to reach a larger global audience across devices.

The trend can be seen beyond tentpole events like ‘The Big Game’, as we see more and more companies moving toward digital streams. Digital media is simply too large to be ignored and the fact is, digital streams allow access to far greater audiences than television. Under its partnership with the NFL, Twitter was able to live stream 10 Thursday Night Football games to over 800 million registered and non-registered users worldwide – a far greater audience than these games would have gotten when broadcast by the NBC and CBS TV networks.

Historically, TV was the primary channel where viewers went for entertainment, but this has been rapidly changing. In the age of social media and internet consumption, users can easily share their views with millions with the click of a button and no longer need to prioritize schedules to coincide with their favorite show because it’ll be online the next day or, at most, the next week.

So what does this mean for advertisers looking for Super Bowl opportunities?

It is important for advertisers to not only understand the tremendous amount of data involved, as users move to online streams and social media channels, but also how to utilize it. In this connected age, monitoring conversations on social media channels is a great way to survey audiences and find out where their interests lie. There is an excess store of information to be accessed online and it comes at little to no cost. Not only are there cost benefits, but it’s a live feed of consumer engagement and reaction that can be acted upon in real-time.

The proof is in the pudding; the evaluation of social media engagements indicated that Donald Trump would win the Presidential race months before election day. This measurement and utilization proved to be far more accurate than the most reputable polls, who predicted Hillary to win by a landslide, right up until votes were being counted.

This social media knowledge, paired with the latest predictive technology, can prove to be one of the most valuable tools for advertisers truly looking to champion this year’s Super Bowl. Advertisers can use predictive technology to track conversation/mentions on some of the biggest social channels such as Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., and have first look at the content that will be trending in the near future. This insight can be used to gain a competitive edge over some of the well-known Super Bowl advertising players without the hefty sponsorship fee. Advertisers who do not have the ability to dominate the game with brute force, can outplay their opponents with knowledge, strategy, accuracy, and finesse.

Tracking social media engagement can be used not only before or during, but also post-Super Bowl. Predictive technology can identify the biggest moment of the Super Bowl and what will be most likely to resonate with viewers in the following days, making post-Super Bowl marketing more efficient… everyone knows that we revisit our favorite Super Bowl commercials online after the game, or quickly log in to view the ones we missed and everyone in the office is talking about.

If we learned anything in 2016 it is that you cannot base understanding of your audience on surveys of minute population percentages, or static data sets. The world is constantly changing, people, their opinions and their interests are changing in an instant. To truly be successful in 2017, advertisers need to “go long" and outrun the defender.