Digital is a great way to help get more out of the money that a brand spends on Super Bowl advertising. I've been posting about Super Bowl ads for a while on this blog. These days, if you’re going to spend that much money on a spot, you might as well get the most out of it by leveraging digital to extend interest. Since Super Bowl 45 is right around the corner, I thought this week was the right time to outline some of the evergreen rules for extending a Super Bowl spot digitally, as well as some new thinking about how we might see smart brands using digital as a part of the ads they’ll air this coming Sunday:
Thou shalt put your ad online
You might think this goes without saying, but even in today’s day and age, many brands don’t put their spots online. Yes, Youtube will have a section that houses ALL the spots, but why would you want a potential customer going to another site, rather than your own. If you disagree, see the point below.
Thou shalt provide a URL to a destination
If you question this, you should probably not be employed in advertising…
Thou shalt take advantage of Super Bowl searches
This one is HUGE… and often overlooked. One of the most common ways that Super Bowl ads create value is that they get people searching for your brand, or searching for the ad. This is particularly important if you haven’t provided a clear way for people to access it. I think all brands should be running paid search engine advertising for brand and campaign related keywords during the super bowl and for a few days following. Take advantage of the peak in search interest created by word of mouth and media coverage during and after the game.
Thou shalt tailor the destination to the ad(s)
If you’re going to spend the money on the spot, put a little time and energy into creating a destination you can send people to, that’s tailored to the campaign. Notice, I didn’t say a website, but a destination. It doesn’t have to be a new site, you could create a new area on your current website, create a microsite, a landing page or heck, even send them to your Facebook Page. I hope we see a brand send someone to their Facebook Page. How many “likes” will your Super Bowl ad get?
Thou shalt monitor the online conversation
Many marketers are faced with questions before and after the Super Bowl about the effectiveness of the spot. Rather than relying on a USA Today poll to determine that, I think any sensible marketer must be using social media monitoring to answer this question. The watercooler, after all, has become a virtual one… there are too many good and cost-effective options out there for this to not be an essential part of measuring the total effectiveness of a brands ad buy on Super Bowl Sunday.
If the above are the golden rules, here are a few new things we might see brands doing this year if they want to go beyond the basics:
Thou might try using mobile
Mobile might make more sense than standard online executions for a Super Bowl ad. There will be plenty of folks using their phones to look up URLs, or texting, Tweeting or updating reactions to ads through Facebook mobile. It’s only right for brands to make sure they have a mobile version of their Super Bowl campaign sites, but they might also consider running mobile search ads, including short codes or QR codes in their Super Bowl ads. I think we just might see a QR code this year.
Thou might try creating an app
Why create a website at all? Why not ask viewers of your ad to download an app in the iTunes store? I realize one of the most challenging hurdles is the timeliness of not wanting the app to launch until the ad airs, but I think there’s a smart way to include an app download as a primary call to action.
Thou might try leveraging social media
I mentioned the simple idea of using a Facebook Page as the destination promoted in your Super Bowl ad, but why not leverage social media in a more interesting way? Why not be active in social media during the bowl? Why not send viewers to a Twitter profile and have live conversations during and after the game?
Thou might try leveraging technology partnerships
We know Groupon is running a Super Bowl ad, but why wouldn’t a brand send people to a Groupon offer rather than to a website they create? I think brands could be much more creative about how they leverage technology partnerships to drive real results.
It will be interesting to see how the ads shake out this year. I know we’ll see some funny ones, but unlike last year, I’d love to see something new and unexpected on the digital front.