Finding Inspiration in Engaging Customers Through Mobile from the Super Bowl

When it comes to engaging customers and shaping mobile consumer behavior in your favor, there’s no better source of inspiration than the advertisers of the Super Bowl. This event has become one of the most anticipated of the year, and not just for the game. The ads shown during the game — which now cost upwards of $5 million for a slot — are entertaining and influential.

In the past few years, mobile trends have changed the strategies of these Super Bowl advertisers for the better, which means millions of mobile users are interacting with brands like never before.

So what can we learn from those who have forged the way when it comes to mobile engagement? Here are a few lessons to glean from brands that have proven that they understand how to deliver an engaging omni-channel experience that includes mobile trends:

They Provide Value and Entertainment to Consumers

Today’s consumers aren’t going to snap a QR code to get self-promotional information on a brand, nor are they interested in tweeting with a hashtag to further a brand’s reach. Instead, they want value. And they want fun.

In the 2016 Super Bowl, Coca-Cola announced a virtual scavenger hunt for its Mini Cans, using Marvel superheroes as the stars. The brand released clues on various social media channels over the course of several weeks after the Super Bowl to help viewers find the cans and win prizes. While the initial Super Bowl commercial introduced viewers to the hunt, it continued to engage them over the course of the campaign, and retained some of them long-term.

And Coca-Cola did one additional thing right: it used the campaign to gauge interest in releasing the Marvel-themed Mini Cans to retail.

The Takeaway: Consider how you can entertain your audience and get them hooked in getting involved with your brand. Move away from self-promotional efforts and toward real value. Consider contests, scavenger hunts, and user-generated content as ways to foster interaction.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Omni-Channel

While mobile use dropped 36% in the hour before the 2016 SuperBowl started, it was back up around 1 pm. Understanding and leveraging the power of the second screen, it seemed, was key for the success of Super Bowl advertisers.

Multi-channel marketing is instrumental to the success of these advertisers, as it is for your brand. And timing, too, is key. Smart advertisers played to the times when viewers were more likely to be on a second screen (not in the middle of an earth-shattering touchdown), and provided reason to divert Super Bowl viewers’ eyes from their televisions.

Mountain Dew, who made a splash with its Kickstart commercials during last year’s Super Bowl, had an extended version of its commercial with interactive features that attracted viewers to further engage with the brand during and after the game.

The Takeaway: Knowing how and when your audience uses multiple devices can help you strategize for how to best integrate omni-channel marketing practices.

Build Anticipation Early

In the past, no one saw a Super Bowl commercial until the game itself. But in recent years, advertisers have experimented with releasing the commercials ahead of time to spur excitement.

In fact, five days before the Super Bowl, more than half of the advertisers tracked by Origami Logic’s Super Bowl Marketing Intelligence Report had released the full-length commercials on YouTube or Facebook. Others released teaser videos. What this did was create anticipation, buzz, shares, and views for the brands.

The Takeaway: If you have an event, consider stoking the fire by releasing limited (or all) details about the campaign ahead of time and encouraging your audience to share it.

Provide Consistent Messaging Across Channels

One way advertisers could have done better with regards to the 2016 Super Bowl is in matching up its promotions across all channels. Only 38% of the 56 commercials during the Super Bowl prominently displayed what the commercials promoted on their mobile sites. And 20% didn’t connect their mobile sites to the Super Bowl ad message at all.

This provides a disconnect for an audience: if one channel — the commercial a brand paid a significant amount of money for — provides one message, and another channel — the mobile site  — doesn’t match up with that messaging, it creates dissonance.

The Takeaway: Always, always line up your messaging across channels. One should lead into another. If you send your audience to your site for more details on a contest, the rules and details should be there.

You might not have the budget for a Super Bowl commercial, but if you’re interested in leveraging mobile trends to engage your audience, you can learn a lot from brands that have bigger budgets than you. Mobile marketing provides significant opportunity to capture your audience’s attention, but you have to know how and when to be there for them.