When you think Sunday Night Football, what comes to mind? Most likely your favorite team, tasty appetizers to share, and the commercials. As millions of Americans pulled their jerseys out of the closet and set their fantasy lineups this past weekend, marketers across the country held their breath.
It makes sense that marketers look to capitalize on the football season. According to the NFL, the average game gets over 20 million viewers, accounting for 46 of the top 50 most-watched fall shows on TV.* And that’s just for the regular season.
With playoff numbers only going up and culminating with America’s most-watched show ever—the Super Bowl—it’s no surprise advertisers are willing to shell out over $625,000 for a 30-second spot on Sunday Night Football.** However, great marketers know these high-priced commercials don’t happen in a vacuum.
Big games aren’t just talked about around the water cooler anymore. People search their smartphones for player stats. They update their fantasy lineup on their tablets. And they text their friends with memes from the biggest plays—all while watching the big game.
As consumers spread their attention across more and more screens and channels during the game, commercials must be interconnected with social media, programmatic display, geotargeting, and many other modern campaign tactics to capture and hold the consumer’s attention. Here’s a look at three campaign strategies that will score big with consumers across all channels:
Make Mobile Your MVP.
With over 90% of millennials and 85% of Generation X using at least two screens while watching television,*** it’s safe to assume that smartphones will play a significant role in your reach. Start by making sure all of your landing pages are small screen-friendly to ensure successful conversion of your ads post-click.
Once you’ve covered the mobile basics, consider other unique approaches. For instance, when video game developer EA Sports fused their video ads with live NFL data, they were able to deliver display ads with different combinations of copy, images, and backgrounds on the fly across sports mobile sites and apps. EA Sports also ensured high fan interaction with GIF highlights of their favorite teams through custom affinity targeting.
Steal the Show with Social.
In 2015, 50% of Super Bowl ads promoted hashtags, and this number is only expected to increase as Twitter partners with the NFL in 2016 to live-stream games throughout the season. But getting the most mileage out of a social campaign requires thoughtful groundwork before kickoff.
Brands who pre-promote their ads through social media contests and events can drive future value by placing tags to retarget users who visited their landing pages with specialty ads during the live event. Taking a page from this playbook, Budweiser enlisted the help of their social media following prior to the 2015 Super Bowl with a #BestBuds sweeps contest. More than just registering strong results for emotional effect, the #BestBuds campaign drove content, engagement, and conversation before the big commercial reveal. What’s more, the company dove into display, creating commercial-related landing pages that were tagged with tracking pixels for retargeting post-event and purchasing numerous display spots on prominent sports websites during the Super Bowl.
Go Deep with Advanced Geotargeting.
Since most fans cheer for their hometown team, advanced programmatic geotargeting can be especially useful for large campaigns with dynamic creative. Utilizing ads that feature the local team creates an opportunity for your brand to become hyper-relevant in the eyes of the consumer. With programmatic geotargeting, brands can combine audience data filters with location signals to deliver customized ads that resonate with individuals.
Last year, Toyota’s “Let’s Go Places” commercials took a unique turn with geotargeted banner and Snapchat ads. Video ads successfully ran inside Snapchat’s localized Live Story feature targeting the Los Angeles area, and banner ads ran in 15,000 U.S. cities incorporating city-specific information in the ads themselves.
In the end, no matter how memorable a television commercial may have been, it needs a digital component in order to survive in today’s complex marketing world. That’s why as the conversion funnel gets more complicated, game-day advertising strategy must begin long before the first Sunday night matchup and continue well after the Super Bowl confetti is cleaned up.
*NFL Communications, 2015 Regular Season Ratings Recap
**Ad Age, Here’s How Much Ad Time in NFL Games Costs Marketers This Season, September 15, 2015
A nearly 10-year veteran at Goodway Group, Chris Palantino brings an unparalleled understanding of the full campaign life cycle for global brands. Chris currently leads a digital ad operations team in developing the creative and ad tags required to ensure expected delivery, ROI, and client satisfaction day after day. But it’s his proven problem-solving ability combined with extensive interactive media experience that has produced consistently strong strategy recommendations within the programmatic space year after year. When it comes to football fandom, some people paint their faces and others bare their chests claiming to be the NFL’s greatest fan. But we know who is #1 at Goodway. As our Fantasy Football Commissioner, Chris brings his A-game and creativity every season to build our league into the stuff of Fantasy folklore.