What Advertisers Can Learn From Super Bowl 2018

The number of Super Bowl LII viewers slipped to 103.4 million viewers, 7% lower than the number of last year’s viewers. Add to this the fact that the average NFL viewer skews older and older as millennials lose interest in the game. So how can brands be so sure they’re actually reaching their target consumers during the Big Game? In this era of ad-free streaming services and ad-skipping DVRs — not to mention budget spends upwards of $5 million for these flashy TV ads — are marketers really putting their money to good use? 

Recent Nielsen data shows that there seems to be an appetite for out-of-home viewing as 12 million additional viewers were watching the Super Bowl, a 12% bump from last year. The big takeaway? Maybe the brands spending big budgets on TV ads could be getting better results from campaigns that are informed by location intelligence.

Why location? Because there’s so much to be learned from analyzing what people are doing, where they are doing it and how that maps against other behavioral indicators. Location-based data reveals valuable insights about consumers’ interests and passions based on the real-world events they attend and the activities in which they participate.



So what were people in different cities doing during the recent Game? Here’s a snapshot from one study:

Stress relief

Those in Boston connected with nature with a visit to a park or outdoor monument. In contrast, folks in Minneapolis were most likely to relax with a massage or to burn off nervous energy with a workout. And — perhaps as evidence of a higher power at work — mobile consumers in Philadelphia were 2.5 times more likely than the average U.S. consumer to visit a church during the game.

Food, glorious food

Restaurants are popular places to celebrate the Super Bowl: pizza was the top choice among residents of Philadelphia, with family-styledining (like TGI Friday’s and Checkers) taking the runner-up spot. In Boston, American and family-style restaurants were also especially popular, but, in Minneapolis, restaurants saw below-average foot traffic across the board.

Strategic shopping 

Clothing and apparel stores saw roughly 50% of the foot traffic that occurred in other cities during the Super Bowl as folks not watching the game went shopping knowing the stores wouldn’t be as busy.

Consumers in Boston had below average foot traffic at almost all venues during the Super Bowl except jewelry stores (were Patriots fans counting their winnings too soon?). And for some reason, Philadelphians chose game time to fuel their intellectual curiosity at bookstores.

How brands can apply these learnings moving forward

Location-based marketing campaigns provide many valuable assets for marketers, helping them understand the broader picture as well as understand target audiences on a deeper level, based off their interests and behaviors related to where they go and what they do.

Before choosing a location-based marketing approach, make sure to carefully consider your brand’s campaign objectives. Who are you trying to reach, and where are they likely to go? What is the total market opportunity for your product or service? Am you trying to acquire new customers, or to engage current ones? These are all important factors to explore.

Maybe during Super Bowl season next year we’ll see more campaigns from family-style dining restaurants, places of worship and clothing — and fewer auto brands?

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