BIG Game Video Online Shifts From Teasing To Storytelling To Real-Time Interactions
Teasers are table stakes
The secret of teasing video content before the game day has been out for a while. What started out as a novel play by advertisers like E-Trade in the 2009 season has since then become pretty much a typical move. Over 70% of the advertisers teased some form of content online prior to the game day in the last Super Bowl season. They did so because it works. Advertisers who promoted and teased content before the game day received on average over 200% higher True Reach (a combination of paid and earned) viewership, than those who didn’t for roughly the same amount of paid online promotion and commercial TV time. While this is a substantial performance difference by any measure, the difference is down from an average of 600% for advertisers that participated in the 2011 Super Bowl season.
It seems this pre-game strategy has gotten tired, as more advertisers have crowded the immediate (7-day) pre-game window. After all, it’s not difficult for advertisers to simply syndicate (with paid online promotion) the same content a few days before airing the spot on TV in return for substantial incremental earned media (free viewership from shares, tweets, FB posts, blogs, etc.) exposure and engagement.
In fact, what most advertisers are doing now is no different than what Hollywood film marketers have traditionally done to cultivate fans in advance of a major film release -- except the trailers are just teasers, and not the entire movie with 45 advertisers competing for audience attention in the same short, pre-game window.
This begs the question: Are there additional performance-enhancing moves in the pre-game or even in-game online Super Bowl advertising, besides uploading the TV spot online and hoping it breaks through the noise with some paid promotion?
The Next Move
Long-form storytelling that dovetails with the real-time developments of the post-season “drama” is the next frontier for pre-game advertising online. For example, in the last season one advertiser fully leveraged the endorsement and social equity of a successful NFL Llnebacker, developing content around his journey to the Super Bowl with well-timed, paid online promotional surges at pivotal moments in the playoff season starting almost five weeks in advance of the big game when there is relatively less noise online. The campaign delivered substantially higher earned media than the average benchmark across all pre-game advertiser videos.
If earned media was used as a primary performance indicator for advertiser videos, our data across the entire flight of 55 advertiser campaigns from last season shows that content syndicated roughly four to six weeks in advance of the game performs three times better than content uploaded one week before the game. The best-performing campaigns have compelling storylines that feed off the playoff season to build advocacy and anticipation leading into the Super Bowl. Ninety percent of the time the campaigns that perform well during the pre-game period also end up doing well over the entire pre- and post-game period (with tracking up to 4 weeks after the Super Bowl).
Driving real-time interactions is another approach that has worked quite well for multiple advertisers over the last couple years. It involves engaging directly in the conversation
during the game as events unfold in the moment. One advertiser used a pair of polar bears to do a running commentary on the game and live-streamed the content online to keep the content and the brand
top-of-mind throughout the game.
Another advertiser preplanned its video execution capitalizing on half-time as a metaphor, releasing content exactly during that time, when viewers take a break from TV to go online. And yet, while not a video campaign, it is worth mentioning the now-famous “Oreo Moment,” when the advertiser took advantage of an unforeseen blackout that halted the game and drove viewers to online venues. These are some early examples of truly real-time executions that require new levels of creativity to raise the bar on performance.
Just as Super Bowl hopefuls continually refine their plays beyond the Wildcat and the Wish Bone offenses as others catch up with their innovative plays, the leading online advertisers must continue to seek their own new moves as a defense against crowding, homogeneity and audience fragmentation to enhance the reach, efficiency and effectiveness of their marketing investments.