Communications Lessons From the Social Super Bowl


Are the days of chats around the water cooler the Monday after the Super Bowl on their way out? It seems people are flocking to the virtual water cooler on social platforms, sharing their thoughts and feelings in real-time as the game is occurring. Nearly 80% of viewers take to social during the Super Bowl, says a study from Influence Central. In fact, it is estimated that 3.8 million unique authors sent tweets during last year’s game.

It's logical to predict social media will be as big as the winning touchdown during this year’s Super Bowl. That raises the question: will advertisers still feel the need to spend millions of dollars for ad spots during the game, or will they increasingly turn to more budget-friendly social media campaigns? Due to the increase in audiences clutching their phones to post about the Super Bowl, it may in fact become the smarter strategy.

With so many of us on social during the game, brand communicators have altered their strategies around the Super Bowl to leverage this audience. Several brands, for example, will be integrating new and exciting tools into their feeds for fans. For example, for the first time ever, Super Bowl highlights will be delivered in virtual reality at near real-time.

Gather Around the Smartphone

The social migration during the game is recent, but not new. Last year’s Super Bowl was a multi-device event for many viewers – 73% to be exact, according to a Salesforce report. Beginning with Super Bowl 49 in 2015, smartphones have become a vital part of the viewing experience, the same report says. In fact, 82% of viewers used a smartphone during that game. If these statistics aren’t enough to convince you of the power of the smartphone, get this: only 11% of 18-24 year olds didn’t use their smartphone during the 2015 Super Bowl. You can imagine how high the numbers will be this year.

You Can Find Your Friends On Facebook

Out of the millions planning to sound off on social media nearly half plan to post to Facebook. And if you’re wondering why all of the women in the room are on their smartphones, it’s probably because they are 1.3 times more likely to use Facebook during the game than male viewers, Salesforce says.

Advertising Adds Up On Social Media

Only 32% of viewers plan to use social media to react to what's happening on the field during the game, the Influence Central study says. On the other hand, it found 38% will use it to discuss the advertising, which is the main topic that people are talking about during the Super Bowl. Even during Lady Gaga’s halftime show, advertisers will have a unique opportunity to spur the conversation about their advertisements.

The implications for PR pros and advertisers alike seem apparent. Brands that take note of our society’s growing reliance on mobile devices will win the game of public opinion. Having an active presence on traditional and social media platforms prior to and during the game will ensure that brands are reaching all of their potential customers. As campaigns only seem to be modifying their efforts toward social media, it will be interesting to see if any notoriety will be taken away from the esteemed 30-second Super Bowl TV ads.

David Gorodetski is co-founder, COO and executive creative director, Sage Communications.

Tommy Morgan is with the public relations group of Sage Communications.

This piece originally appeared on PRNews. View it here.

X-SageJim McIntyre