Advertisers Adopt Cross-Channel Strategies for Super Bowl LVI

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More than 96 million people are expected to watch Super Bowl LVI on February 13, and ad inventory is selling at a premium. The price for a 30-second spot hit a record-breaking $6.5 million this year, according to NBCUniversal, representing a 20% increase from the network’s last game broadcast in 2018 and a 9% jump from CBS’ broadcast last year.

But as major brands put the finishing touches on their Super Bowl LVI strategies, they’re discovering that the biggest plays on game day are happening outside the confines of traditional 30-second spots. Sports fans are increasingly watching live sports on two or more screens at a time, simultaneously engaging with brands and posting on social media while games are going on.

According to a new survey by Advocado, a data-as-a-service platform, nearly half (49%) of viewers now use multiple screens while watching football, and 69% use a second screen — usually a mobile device or laptop — after seeing an ad to find more information about a product or service that piques their interest. That shift in consumer behavior is opening the door for brands to improve consumer engagement and bolster ROI through cross-screen advertising.

To learn more about a product or service they saw advertised on TV, 34% of viewers say they turn to a brand’s website or app. Thirty percent use a search engine, and 19% are visiting e-commerce sites. Advocado found that 30% of consumers are now using two screens—and 19% are using three or more screens—while watching live football, so they can simultaneously use social media, view other games, or check statistics and box scores in real-time. Incredibly, more than half (57%) of people say they post on and monitor social media platforms while watching sports, with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by far the most popular channels. 

“The rise of supplemental viewing activity on smartphones and tablets—especially among younger cohorts—is undeniable,” explains Tim Hanlon, CEO of the media consultancy The Vertere Group. “The ability to augment the sports viewing experience by interacting with consumers is quickly evolving from clever curiosity into [something that is] mandatory.”

The rise in supplemental viewing activity on smartphones is altering the way brands look at game day advertising and presenting new opportunities to access real-time, cross-channel data.

​​“For this year’s Super Bowl, I believe advertisers will be looking for a more holistic, global view of their return on investment,” says Jeff Linihan, co-founder, president, and COO of Advocado. “With Super Bowl ad spots reaching record amounts this year, advertisers and agencies will demand more data around performance to understand how consumers interacted with and reacted to their ads, and not just during the TV spot.” 

Linihan says advertisers are asking for more granular insights into what interactions are happening on other channels than they were in the past, and they want better ways to tie those insights back to the same ad spend.

“Without this type of transparency, advertisers are missing out on the true impact that all channels have on each other and can’t get a truly accurate assessment of their investment,” Linihan says. 

Unfortunately, time is not on the advertiser’s side. With less than a week to go until Super Bowl LVI, Linihan says the window of opportunity to capitalize on consumers’ interest is rapidly shrinking. If brands want any hope of collecting attribution data beyond Nielson’s perspective, they should start working on it now to avoid being left in the dark on game day.

“Consumers’ attention spans are short and purchasing decisions are made instantaneously,” Linihan says. “With access to real-time data and the ability to react to outside stimuli—such as weather, location and more—advertisers can effectively tap into that moment and connect with consumers at just the right time and on the right channel.”

​​Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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