5 Lessons March Madness Mobile Marketers Can Learn From The Super Bowl
With the Super Bowl over, time to focus on the next widely televised and advertised event: March Madness. For mobile marketers, the Super Bowl ads’ use of mobile displayed five takeaways essential for success:
1. Use mobile to extend engagement beyond the TV spot
Building on 2011’s momentum, this year's Super Bowl commercials demonstrated increasing an ad’s value beyond 30 seconds of screen time. Brands employed multiple engagement tactics, including Twitter hashtags (Anheuser-Busch Platinum), Shazam (Pepsi King’s Court), SMS (NFL Million Dollar Fan) and QR codes (Go Daddy Internet Cloud).
The benefit of extending engagement to mobile is twofold. First, today’s consumers consume television with mobile. According to InMobi, 39% of 2012 Super Bowl viewers used mobile devices in response to TV ads and 45% estimated they would spend 30+ minutes on their mobile during the game. More importantly, extending engagement increases ROI, whether driving purchases, increasing awareness or eliciting referrals.
2. Optimize for a mobile-specific experience
Given the personal nature of mobile phones, effective mobile engagement requires a seamless user experience. From a technology perspective, three ads used mobile-initiated calls to action to drive Web site traffic (Pepsi, NFL and Go Daddy). On the positive side, all three linked to mobile-optimized sites (crucial since mobile devices have different viewing and download capacities).
On the negative side, Pepsi’s Web site directed consumers to a YouTube page, which consumers could have found without Shazam.
From a strategy perspective, mobile marketers need to provide incentives and relevance. The NFL’s Million Dollar Fan campaign is self-explanatory with regards to incentives. Another campaign, sent to subscribers on Barak Obama’s SMS list, arrived midway through the game commenting on “commercials not being that good this year.” I received this message literally as my family discussed that exact topic.
3. Broadcast calls to action for a sufficient amount of time
A tricky aspect of mobile calls to action is that they require several consumer steps, and thus time. The NFL’s Million Dollar campaign demonstrated the best example of providing sufficient time for engagement. Not only was the call to action posted throughout the ad, but in a way that didn’t distract viewers from content and could easily be referenced after the commercial ended.
4. Test calls to action for scalability
That said, the NFL Million Dollar campaign did commit one mobile marketing error. Many consumers that texted in failed to receive a response for several hours.
In order to run effective mobile marketing campaigns, brand and brands’ providers have to make sure that calls to action can handle the real time requests consumers expect when using their mobile. Test to ensure that mobile campaigns reflect the interactive and immediate nature of the medium.
5. Make a compelling first impression
According to a study from Harris Interactive, 97% of people planned on watching the Super Bowl with another person, with 47% saying that multiple people would be on their mobiles simultaneously. Events like the Super Bowl and March Madness are communal.
Thus, in addition to satisfying people’s need for instant gratification, brands should take advantage of the viral effects available to those campaigns that engage consumers to the point that they refer others. Brands scratched the surface of a dynamite first impression on Sunday, with exclusive content available to app or QR code users, but March Madness marketers can and should look to make a bigger splash.