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Three Mobile Marketing Takeaways From Super Bowl LI

Think beauty brands don't have a tie-in to the big game? Think again. This year's event brought lessons for everyone.

Over 111 million people watched the Super Bowl — but that doesn’t mean that marketing tied to the big game is the sole province of big brands with the budgets for multi-million dollar TV spots.

Fans and brands generated over 27.6 million tweets related to this year’s Super Bowl, and YouTube views on tailgating and game-day related content surged. In other words, the action unfolded everywhere people were active on their mobile devices. Below, the top mobile marketing takeaways from Super Bowl LI.

Mobile Isn’t The Second Screen

This evolution has been a few years in the making, but the shift is important enough that it bears repeating: With most people on their phones throughout the big game, there’s nothing “second” about mobile.

Even last year, AdWeek reported that 77 percent of Super Bowl social posts were made on mobile. Think about this years 27.6 million #SB51 tweets: That’s a lot of people typing away on their smartphones.

As such, brands should take advantage of both the Super Bowl hashtag and the fact that fans are consuming and creating videos and written content related to the game. For example, T-Mobile, which became the second-most mentioned brand on Twitter (more on this below) put out ads asking watchers to film and tag/submit videos of their best Super Bowl party dance moves.

Smaller brands can get in on this action too with real-time tie-ins to the Super Bowl on social media.

Think Your Brand Doesn’t Have A Super Bowl Tie-In? Think Again.

Brands are smart to use leverage events in real-time on Twitter — it’s been shown to boost sales — but the key is to keep it relevant. The general rule is along these lines: A laundry detergent joking about getting out on-field grass stains can be funny, but a home good store using the #SB51 hashtag for the purpose of boosting views (without having relevant content) feels disingenuous.

But plenty of brands might think they don’t have a natural link to the on-field action — and they actually do.

Here’s an example: Beauty brands. Not a natural companion to gridiron glory, right? Well, Think With Google this year reported 60 percent year-over-year growth in watch time for football-related fashion and beauty videos on YouTube. It turns out that consumers actually have a strong interest in seeing their favorite cosmetic brands show them how to create custom looks featuring their favorite teams colors. They’re watching this content across mobile and desktop — before and during the game — at a higher rate than ever.

In other words, it pays to give extra attention to trends in consumer search behavior, YouTube views, and more leading up to the Super Bowl. Brands can use this to think outside the box — and then leverage real-time mobile and social strategies accordingly.

Keep Thinking Cross-Channel

By now, it’s not news to brands that they need to have a cohesive presence and brand identity across mobile, social, TV, and in-person experiences. But this year’s Super Bowl gave us some good examples of how a well-planned “digital playbook” pays off.

Take T-Mobile, for example: The brand did get some big-budget help from Justin Bieber, who in an ad spot asked viewers to upload videos of their dance moves. This was the only example of a brand leveraging user-generated content during the game, Marketing Dive reported.

But it wasn’t all about the celebrity endorsement. T-Mobile also leveraged mobile and social ads, paid search, and in-stream ads on YouTube — all of which helped it to become the second-most mentioned brand on Twitter, according the platform’s post-Super Bowl measurement.