Not Buying a $5 Million Ad? Use Social Media During the Super Bowl Instead

The advertising anticipation is at its height for the Super Bowl 50, with fans and brands speculating which companies will be the winners and losers.

Brands will pay a record $5 million for a 30-second spot in this year’s Super Bowl broadcast, an increase of $500,000 from last year. With that kind of price tag, not every company is scrambling for traditional advertising airtime.

The last few years have demonstrated that what’s happening on viewers’ second screens might be just as important – or even more so – than what’s playing on the big screen. Social media is now an integral part of the Super Bowl viewing experience.

By the Numbers

In last year’s Super Bowl:

  • 65 million people “joined the conversation” on Facebook, engaging with 265 million posts, comments and likes related to the Super Bowl
  • 36 million tweets related to the game, garnering 2.5 billion impressions
  • Super Bowl ads were mentioned 360,000 times on Facebook and 1.5 million times on Twitter

Adweek pointed out that instead of spending $5 million for a broadcast ad, brands could get a lot more bang for their buck advertising on social media. That budget could buy:

  • 5 custom Twitter emojis
  • 5 days of sponsored snaps on Snapchat
  • 5 premium Instagram campaigns
  • 100 to 200 Snapchat influencers
  • 250 million Facebook video views
  • 8 to 10 YouTube masthead ads

Past Super Bowl Social Media Successes

During the 2013 Super Bowl, the power went out in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Oreo took this as an opportunity to post a perfect, lightning-fast tweet:

 

In the 2014 game, Cheerios reacted to a pivotal moment in the game when the Patriots’ Malcolm Butler picked off a pass to score the winning touchdown:

 

And Proctor & Gamble’s #LikeAGirl TV commercial for Always sparked a hashtag flurry that plenty of brands were able to capitalize on:

 

What Brands Should Consider

A well-planned social media strategy sets a good foundation for brands that want to get noticed during the game, but these examples also show the importance of quick thinking and taking advantage of real-time opportunities.

The Oreo moment was arguably the best live Twitter moment in any Super Bowl to date. It was quick and quippy (without being mean), as well as completely relevant and on-brand. A touchdown, in other words (I’m sorry).

These examples are obviously from large, well-known brands with the resources to have marketers and designers keeping up with the game in real time. But brands of any size can keep an eye on relevant hashtags, looking for ways to join those conversations in an authentic way (forcing it won’t do you any favors). Creating fast but good-looking memes is also a lot easier when you have design template tools like Canva on hand. Even one person live-tweeting the Super Bowl can put together a quick, timely graphic in just a few minutes.

Influencer marketing can also have a huge impact during the Super Bowl. Brands can work with influencers – on Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube – to create custom Super Bowl-based content that’s appealing to their audience. For example, a live-streaming video feed could give viewers entertainment on their second screens during slow parts of the game, or specialized events and giveaways could give fans a reason to keep checking their social media feeds.

The Super Bowl is such a widely watched event that there are many opportunities for brands in every niche. We’re looking forward to seeing what happens during the big game this year!

Learn more about MtoM’s social media marketing services

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