Shazam-ing the Super Bowl and the Marketing Value of Audio Tagging

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Location-based marketing isn’t limited to mobile — it’s about how media is integrated into our lives no matter where we are. Nearly 50% of smartphone owners use their mobile device to search for product information after seeing a TV ad, according to a new study from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Nielsen Fast Nationals has revealed that the 46th annual NFL championship game was the most-watched television broadcast in U.S. history, pulling in 111.3 million viewers — up from last year’s 111 million — and mobile marketing was key during the broadcast.

Shazam’s Super Bowl Success
Mobile audio-tagging app Shazam debuted an interactive new campaign during the game via a commercial and half-time performance involvement, and in doing so it allowed a new form of engagement that Super Bowl viewers have never before experienced.

Shazam’s main function is in music tagging — it allows users to hold up their phone when they hear an unfamiliar song and provides them with the track information. This idea was extended to the Super Bowl half time performances, allowing users to tag the music being performed, enabling access to exclusive content as well as links to the artists’ Twitter and Facebook pages.

However, the app extended beyond the musical realm as well, offering exclusive discounts and entry into sweepstakes for audience involvement. Nearly half of the commercials seen during the Super Bowl were Shazam-enabled, encouraging viewers to tag the ad to gain access to these special offers. Companies such as Toyota, Best Buy, Bud Light, Pepsi, and Teleflora offered prizes through the service, ranging from a new car to gift cards and free music videos.

Shazam CEO Andrew Fisher said the company’s expectations for this consumer interaction were exceeded, with millions of users participating.

Television and Mobile Crossover
The idea of audio tagging isn’t exclusive to Shazam. Yahoo app IntoNow has also created a unique viewing experience allowing for television-to-mobile engagement. With the IntoNow app, users simply activate the microphone when watching a television program, and the app will then identify the show as well as any news headlines related to it. Users can also receive cast information and future airing dates, as well as what programs their friends are watching. This app provides more than basic television knowledge however, as it recently ran a contest for Jersey Shore fans by having them tag the show in real time to win a chance to party with cast member Snooki. Advertisers have also noticed the benefits of audio tagging, as Pepsi partnered with the app to provide viewers with a mobile coupon for a free drink if they tagged a Pepsi ad.

Consumers are becoming increasingly attached to their smartphones, and audio tagging capitalizes upon this attachment by offering new possibilities and opportunities when users connect their televisions to their smartphones. Shazam’s Super Bowl (and Grammys) involvement marks the beginning of a new form of marketing, and if the app’s success is any indication of audio tagging’s future, it seems to be headed in the right direction.

Asif R. Khan is a veteran tech start-up, business development and marketing entrepreneur currently serving the community as founder and president of the Location Based Marketing Association (The LBMA). Weekly podcaster at This Week In Location Based Marketing every Monday. Can be found at @AsifRKhan @TheLBMA on Twitter.