Over the last several years, I’ve had a sense that Super Bowl advertisers have been increasingly adopting a strategy of debuting their big Super Bowl TV spots in advance of the big game. And I’m sure I’m not alone here.
This intuition was recently validated in a TechCrunch article revealing that video measurement and analysis company, Visible Measures, reviewed every Super Bowl campaign since 2010 and found that an increasing number of brands are following the strategy of debuting their TV spots ahead of the game in their entirety, or as a teaser online.
Not only has this been an increasingly prevalent trend, but also its adoption rate has been swift;
2010 – 13 brands debuted their Super Bowl spots early.
2011 – 27 brands debuted their Super Bowl spots early.
2012 – 34 brands debuted their Super Bowl spots early.
2013 – 42 brands debuted their Super Bowl spots early.
2014 – 30 brands were tracked to have debuted their spots early, though this was reported well in advance of kickoff, so it is likely that this number will increase when final numbers are reported.
With brands investing an average of $4 million for 30 seconds of media space, and who knows how much on production and talent for their spots, you might think that they’d want to build anticipation and suspense and release their spots during the actual Super Bowl game.
This approach, however, means missing a tremendous opportunity to provide value to brands’ digital and social media audiences.
To capitalize on this opportunity, Super Bowl spots are being treated less like TV commercials, and more like multi-channel video content, which has proven to be effective.
Visible Measures reported that Super Bowl ads saw a total of 370 million online views last year, and ads released ahead of time received between 200-600 percent more impressions than those that didn’t
So, this is all well and good, but what can be learned from this phenomenon and applied to your business?
There is more value for consumers in predicting the future than reflecting on history
By and large, people are information hungry. They want to know things the moment they occur, take pride in knowing things sooner than others, and revel in sharing breaking news and updates with their social media audiences.
Because of these behaviours, consumers are naturally going to see greater value in content before they perceive it to have been widely released and known.
Being aware of shifts in conversation can help build momentum
Leading up to the Super Bowl, anticipation, excitement and speculation builds. Who is going to win? How is the halftime show going to be? Which ad will be the best?
As soon as the game ends, the conversation shifts from a feverish buzz, to a relatively docile recount. It’s over, and therefore there’s less to talk about, and this applies to the ads as much as anything else.
There is clearly huge opportunity to inject your brand into conversations during the upswing of momentum versus at the peek. When you wait until the conversation is at its height, there is no momentum to build, and nowhere to go but down.
ROI can be greatly enhanced with a content promotion plan
Gone are the days of television spots running through the duration of their respective media buys, coming off air, and quickly being forgotten. Television spots now appear as pre-roll advertising, are posted on websites, and are published on any social media network that will host video. This includes YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, DailyMotion and MetaCafe to name a few.
Formerly thought of as being strictly for television, TV spots are now viewed more as video content, and therefore require a more comprehensive content promotion plan to maximize ROI. YouTube alone boasts that more 18-34 year olds watch video on their platform than any cable network, so if you want to get your message in front of a targeted audience of scale, for many marketers, publishing video online and on social is a simple decision.
While debuting hotly anticipated Super Bowl spots in advance of the big game can be a bit of a letdown to those like me that look forward to the ads more than the game itself, it’s clear that the strategy of pre-releasing spots is paying dividends.
There are also a number of key lessons that can be learned here, and applied to your business. Before pushing content out, think about how the timing of publication can affect the value your audience receives from it, consider how broader conversations may or may not play a role in maximizing the contextual relevance of your message, and finally, think long and hard about how to best promote your content by creating a comprehensive content promotion plan.
What do you think about the trend of Super Bowl spots debuting in advance of the game?
Do you think it is a smart decision to do this?
If you think about this strictly from the standpoint of a viewer, does that affect your opinion?
How do you maximize the ROI of your content?
It would be great to hear your thoughts about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
I’ll admit that I’m not a big football fan. I’m into many sports, but football has always seemed a little slow, and the action a little fragmented for my liking.
Despite this, every year I eagerly anticipate the Super Bowl.
Undeniably it’s filled with drama, and is nothing short of a sporting spectacle.
But the real reason I’ve historically been so interested in the Super Bowl really has nothing to do with the competition on the field, but more to do with the competition for consumers’ attention and wallets, the advertising. And I know I’m not alone on this front.
Every year, marketers have been shelling out increasingly ridiculous (or maybe not, depending on returns) sums of money to have the privilege of advertising to the TV audience of the big game. In fact this year, it has been reported that television media space sold for a whopping $4 million for a 30 second spot.
In recent years, however, the landscape of Super Bowl advertising has been changing.
It used to be that Super Bowl ads were kept secret to be revealed on the day of the game. This kept people guessing about who was going to do what to up the ante, and it was fun and exciting to see who was going to win the day.
This year, it seems as though every advertiser has pre-released their big Super Bowl spots. AdAge has already published comprehensive coverage of what many Super Bowl advertisers plans are on television.
Now the game to watch is on social media
While social media marketing isn’t exactly new, last year, Oreo changed the game of Super Bowl advertising with their famous power outage tweet, crafted by agency 360i.
Almost instantly that tweet opened the eyes of marketers about the power of contextually relevant, real-time marketing on social media. And unsurprisingly, this year, many more players will be participating in this game.
The real question for this year’s game then isn’t about whose going to have the most amazing television spot, but who is going to capitalize on what real-time opportunity to capture the attention of their social media audience.
But this is a little underwhelming, don’t you think?
While it’s really exciting to bear witness to this change, and be involved in the world of social media and content marketing during this time, I can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by this.
I should be excited to see who is going to be doing what on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other social media channels, but I’m kind of lacking in the excitement department.
The problem is that we know what’s coming. Numerous marketers and advertisers looking for their unique opportunity, but a large part of the magic for Oreo and 360i was that they caught everyone off guard. The big question at the time was, ‘how the hell did they do that so quickly’, and even though the answer was relatively simple, it was something that virtually nobody was prepared for.
We should be finding ways to capitalize on opportunities in near real-time every day
Opportunities to delight an audience in real-time don’t necessarily need to be limited to big events like the Super Bowl.
What the Oreo tweet should have done is awoken us to this opportunity, and we all should have scrambled to find ways to manage this kind of magic on a daily basis be it by empowering small and nimble social media teams, through the creation of processes that account for the need to be fast and responsive, or some other method.
Despite my being underwhelmed at the thought of a huge number of marketers trying to recreate magic they bore witness to last year, I’m still looking forward to the creative output of those playing this game.
What I am going to be hoping for, however, is for at least one social media team to throw up a proverbial ‘hail Mary’ by doing something completely new, innovative and attention grabbing. The opportunity is there, it’s just a matter of who it’s going to be, whether it will occur this year or in the future, and what they’ll do.
How are you going to be following along with the Super Bowl on social media?
Do you think anyone is going to be able to create similar magic as Oreo did last year?
Also, following the Super Bowl, it would be awesome to know who you thought won the marketing and social media games by hearing about your favourite TV ads and moments on social media.
It would be great to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Listen up agency friends!
I know there are some of you that find the ongoing creation of social media content to be a bit of a drag.
It takes a huge amount of time.
It is a constant and ongoing requirement.
It can seem fleeting and trivial.
It often doesn’t allow for the same level of crafting as other communication platforms.
But, there is huge creative opportunity here that you really should be excited for.
Conceptualizing and creating killer social media content couldn’t be more on-trend and be capturing more attention than it is right now. Businesses are buying into the power of social media marketing, and big name marketers and advertisers are receiving accolades and awards for the amazing quality of their content.
Creative convergence means everything is content
Creative that used to be well defined by its respective (media) channel is no longer so clearly delineated. Let’s face it, with the proliferation of digital, mobile, online, social media, and countless other technologies, there has been a massive creative convergence happening for some time. All advertising, marketing and communication is increasingly becoming content of one variety or another – text, audio, video, and visual – and being on the cutting edge of acknowledging this will lead to better, more focused creative work.
It can be easier to sell a crazy idea
Let’s face it, not many of us are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars producing a single piece of social media content. In fact, most of us are spending next to nothing (nothing being a relative term), save for our time. Because of this, our Clients are much more likely go along for a ride and test an exciting, maybe even crazy, new creative idea on social media (of course it needs to make strategic sense). And why wouldn’t they? If it works, everyone looks like a rock star. If it doesn’t, it can easily be viewed as a test or learning opportunity. No big deal.
You get to do more work
I know this may seem counter intuitive, but doing more work should be a good thing. Versus traditional media, you typically get more opportunities to think about interesting ways to engage a brand’s targeted consumers, and more opportunity to execute your concepts on social media. Thinking of amazingly smart, creative ideas and seeing them in market is a big reason why many of us got into this business, right?
Social media begs for innovation
By it’s nature, social media is a dynamic, ever-changing landscape. Platforms are being updated, new networks are being developed, usage behaviour shifts, technology enables new features, and on and on. This dynamism carries over to the content we can create for each respective platform. The prospect of using tools in new and interesting ways should be exhilarating, and there are countless ways to engage, interact with, and provide value to your targeted audience. What all of this means is that there has never been a better time to produce work that is truly innovative. Exciting stuff!
The creative opportunity that social media content provides is near limitless, and is hugely exciting.
For those who have come up through advertising, marketing and communications working primarily on more traditional channels, the conceptualization and creation of content for social media can be a shock. It’s a never-ending creative assignment. But it’s also one of the most opportunity rich assignments one can have, and those who are truly innovative on these platforms are getting recognized as being leaders in creativity.
Where do you see the biggest opportunities for creativity on social media?
What work have you done, or see, that is absolutely killer?
It would be awesome to chat with you about this more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
I love testing on social media, particularly when running ads.
When running Facebook ad buys, I will create a huge number of ads, allocate a certain percentage of the overall spend to testing, review analytics, optimize, and repeat.
Testing is the best way to maximize the efficiency of your spend, achieve the best possible results, and learn what copy and visuals users find to be most motivating.
Recently, when setting up a relatively small Facebook ad buy for one of my Clients, I was pleasantly surprised by a new feature that allows you to test up to 6 visuals for each ad that you set up.
Historically, while you’ve been able to do something like this, you’ve had to go through the setup process as many times as visuals you’ve wanted to test. Now you can simply upload up to 6 visuals, and presto, Facebook will run a mix of all 6 ads that you can easily monitor and track effectiveness.
The next time you’re running a Facebook ad buy, be sure to try out this new feature. I’m sure you’ll appreciate the ability to more easily test visuals to get the best possible ROI from your advertising budget.
How do you test and optimize your Facebook ad buys?
Let me know what you think of this new feature in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
During conversations I have with small business owners about social media marketing, I’m frequently asked about how they can acquire more Facebook fans.
As a matter of fact, I continue to find that Facebook fan acquisition is a huge focus of not only small business owners, but also brand managers, marketers and advertisers as well.
For some, it’s as though fan acquisition is the sole measure by which they measure success.
Lots of Facebook fans… success.
Not so many Facebook fans… failure.
I’m not going to spend time in this post to discuss all of the measures by which success on social media can be measured; instead I’ll cut to the chase.
The real reason you’re probably reading this article is because of what’s promised in the title, so here we go.
The silver bullet for acquiring Facebook fans is… pay for Facebook’s ‘like’ ad products.
Well, is it really any surprise? Facebook is a publicly traded company, and as such, their number one priority is to their shareholders.
How do they reward their shareholders? Make money.
How do they make money? Sell advertising space.
In Q1 2013, Facebook’s revenue was $1.46 billion, 85 percent of which was accounted for from advertising sales.
Facebook wants – check that – needs you to pay for their advertising products.
What about creating killer content, organic impressions, virality, and fairy dust?
Okay, I might have got a bit silly with the fairy dust, but no matter how amazing your content is, I’m telling you that the fastest way to acquire new Facebook fans is to cough up some of your marketing budget and put it toward a well-run Facebook ad buy.
This isn’t to undermine the value of amazing content – if you have ever read another article on this blog you’ll know that I can’t shut up about killer content – but as a fan acquisition tool on Facebook, it’s really not the most efficient method.
A peek behind the curtain of big brands
Through my career, I’ve worked on some big brands with healthy marketing and advertising budgets. These brands have also had very healthy followings on social media.
Their secret? You guessed it, big money into Facebook ads.
Absolutely they create great content, but they’re also spending healthily to drive traffic to their Pages to get eyeballs on that content. If you get enough eyeballs on your Page, some of them will convert to ‘likes’, though having great content certainly helps this conversion rate.
For a bit of context as to what some brands spend on Facebook ads, you may remember from about a year ago (not one of my clients), that GM pulled $10 million from their Facebook ad budget… $10 million!
All of this isn’t meant to be discouraging. In fact, it should be the opposite.
It can be very difficult to acquire Facebook fans, particularly for small businesses. Once you’ve asked all of your personal friends to ‘like’ your Page, encouraged them to get their friends to ‘like’ your Page, asked your regular customers to ‘like’ your Page, and tried running a Facebook promotion that is against their guidelines in hopes of stirring up some ‘likes’, your fan acquisition can plateau quickly.
Don’t immediately think that your content isn’t great, or that your social media presence is all for not, just remember that it is in Facebook’s best interest to get you to spend a few bucks on ads.
So, if a strong Facebook presence is important to your business, and more importantly to your current and prospective customers, why not try spending a few dollars?
It doesn’t need to be $10 million, but experiment with small increments, whatever you feel comfortable with. Keep a close eye on the ads you’re running, learn and optimize as you go. Finally, when you get a sense for what your cost per fan acquisition is, consider setting up longer-term buys so that you can see a steady stream of new fans joining your community.
What methods do you find most effective for acquiring fans on Facebook?
Have you had success running Facebook ads?
How do you convert a click on a Facebook ad to a ‘like’?
It would be awesome for you to share your tips in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial