The market for this year's Super Bowl ads has once again reached new records. Thirty-second slots are fetching up to $4.5 million and NBC reported that its sales are outpacing those of previous years. Ad spots during this year's Academy Awards are also fetching some of the highest prices ever charged for the event, with 30 seconds going for as much as $1.9 million. These astronomical numbers raise the question of whether brands that are shelling out this kind of money during major TV events should be focused on capturing more than 30 or 60 seconds of our attention.
This undoubtedly becomes even more pronounced when you consider that over 70% of us admit to "second-screening," or using a smartphone, tablet or computer while watching TV. Why would our habits be any different during the Super Bowl or Oscars? In fact, people may be even faster to rush to their phones and tablets during the big game to replay and share favorite moments, chat and trash talk on social media or look up movie information during the Academy Awards.
Longtime Super Bowl advertisers such as Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Doritos and Coca-Cola clearly see value in spending top dollar to reach the massive Super Bowl audience. However, mobile devices have made viewers less attentive, which means it is time for smart marketers to adapt their strategy. To really make an impact during the Super Bowl and Academy Awards, brands need to mount complete cross-device takeover campaigns.
Take Carnival Cruise Lines, which will be running its first Super Bowl spot this year. Its ad will be visible for 60 seconds, with the hope of an afterlife online or in the "best of" lists Monday morning. The company is betting that its ad spend will result in more engagement and ultimately cruise bookings, but that ad only runs for a minuscule portion of the game. What about the rest of the time or even during the ad while people are distracted? What can Carnival do while its commercial is running to get people to pay attention to the brand?
By thinking beyond TV with a synced digital campaign, specifically on mobile devices, Carnival and other advertisers can increase the odds of a strong return on their investment during major televised events. Reaching out to consumers on mobile enables brands to increase their share of the audience's attention, which may be more focused on their phones than the TV. Fortunately, today's cross-device technology solutions can enable truly synchronized screen takeovers. What better opportunity to do so than during the biggest TV events of the year?
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Brands advertising during any big TV event should leverage other channels and hit users' devices at the same time with a related ad. Recently Drawbridge worked with an advertiser to synchronize delivery of its digital campaign across consumers' companion devices while TV ads ran. The combined campaign drove a 43% increase in engagement—something any advertiser can appreciate, especially those spending money to reach and engage audiences during the Super Bowl or Academy Awards.
This strategy would also work for any company that is not airing an ad during this year's Super Bowl or Oscars, but that has a competitor that is. For example, Volkswagen is not running a Super Bowl commercial this year, but why shouldn't the automaker heavy up on mobile advertising during the game, knowing that Toyota, Nissan, Kia, BMW and Mercedes-Benz will have time on the TV waves?
Cross-device digital media campaigns have the added benefit of being able to track and attribute conversions, which TV advertising has long struggled to do. Following a consumer's purchase path in a multidevice environment is challenging, but technology exists that helps marketers understand where consumers see ads vs. where they convert, as well as place true global frequency caps on the number of ads shown—even across devices.
The bottom line is that the brands looking to get exposure during major events such as the Super Bowl and awards shows cannot afford to be making a TV-only play. There are too many devices, too many distractions and not enough opportunities to ensure the ads get in front of the right audience. No matter the team or actor, the big winner this season will be brands that nailed the cross-device experience.
I'd love to hear what other tactics you expect brands to employ. Leave your ideas in the comment section below.
About the Author
Brian Ferrario is VP-marketing at Drawbridge. Prior to joining Drawbridge, Brian was VP-marketing at Sociomantic, a leading programmatic advertising technology company, where he was part of the executive team that helped the company be acquired by dunnhumby, a Tesco company, the world's second largest retailer. He previously joined digital advertising technology company Rocket Fuel in 2008 as employee No. 13 and was instrumental in helping the company achieve record category growth; numerous innovation, cultural and revenue awards; and huge traction in the market that helped lead to a successful initial public offering.
About the Sponsor
Drawbridge is the industry's leading cross-device technology company that enables brands to have seamless conversations with consumers across their connected devices, including desktops, smartphones, tablets and connected TVs. By leveraging its Connected Consumer Graph, which includes more than 1 billion consumers across more than 3 billion devices to date, the company is able to gain insights and a much deeper understanding of consumer behavior to drive better results for advertisers—from creating brand awareness to driving incremental sales. For more information, visit Drawbridge.