Last year, there were 28.4 million tweets and 265 million Facebook posts, comments and likes related to the Super Bowl. As Mercury News put it: “For social media companies, it’s game on.” Twitter has traditionally been the King of Live Event Marketing, but Facebook has taken steps to bridge the gap in recent weeks.
Facebook’s Sports Stadium
Facebook views their platform as a place where people “celebrate, commiserate, and talk trash with their friends and other fans,” according to the WSJ. Now Facebook has launched a new marketing opportunity just in time for the Super Bowl.
“Sports Stadium” is a hub where users can talk about specific plays, tap expert opinions and view comprehensive game stats and commentary, according to Marketing Land. Users reach the hub through a top-of-the-screen navigation tab where they can also view friends and experts who are talking about the game.
Facebook product manager Steve Kafka explained: “We think [Sports Stadium] can really enhance awareness. Maybe you weren’t paying attention and then you see your friends are having this discussion and that can pull you into the game.”
According to Cathleen Ryan, director of marketing and advertising at Intuit, the allure of Facebook’s Sports Stadium is the platform’s sheer size — with its 650 million sports fans. “There are very few places you can go other than Facebook to reach that many people … quickly, roughly at the same time,” she told the International Business Times.
“A platform like the Super Bowl is about entertaining and creating conversation,” Ryan adds. “Our Super Bowl campaign includes a whole heck of a lot of touch-points … hopefully it’s going to feel like everywhere.”
Yahoo! Finance explains, “For many sports fans, Twitter is the platform they rely on for real-time, instant commentary and analysis about games as they watch, checking to see what former NFL referee Mike Pereira has to say about an iffy call, or, say, if LeBron James will comment on another player’s trash-talk.”
They go on to say that Twitter executives aren’t worried about Facebook’s new platform because they believe “Twitter is the real-time platform, whereas everything else is not.”
The Moments feature will let users follow the live game via a designated Super Bowl 50 Moment tab. Twitter will also be featuring curated behind-the-scenes content from NFL players, celebrities and the two teams. Celebrities will be answering fan questions and sharing selfies, according to Silicon Beat.
“You’ll definitely want to get in on the conversation by using the official #SB50 hashtag and special emoji hashtags,” Mod Girl Founder Mandy McEwen advises, “but don’t be afraid to come up with your own Super Bowl themed hashtag as well to get more targeted traffic and have a little fun with your followers.” Marketing Land reveals more of the brand campaigns you can expect to see on Twitter and other social platforms this year.
— NFL (@NFL) January 15, 2016
Some key advertisers have already purchased Promoted Moments to use with custom emojis on Twitter. For instance: “Pepsi will run a Promoted Moment during the Super Bowl in conjunction with a custom emoji of music notes floating out of a can of soda that automatically pop up whenever someone tweets #PepsiHalftime. The effort is part of PepsiCo’s strategy to put 40 percent of its Super Bowl campaign toward digital,” reports AdWeek. They add that “combining branded emojis with big ad buys could be one way for Twitter to show brands the power of the platform in terms of visuals and real-time conversations.”
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For Brands, Social Media Super Bowl Advertising Is All About Engagement
Companies should invest in Game Day social media spending for much the same reason Facebook and Twitter are doubling down on sports-related spending: “more engagement and a chance to put advertisements in front of those engaged users,” says the Wall Street Journal.
“The idea of being there in real time shows consumers that brands are on top of things, engaged and know what their consumer is interested in,” said eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “They’re not just throwing advertising at them, but they’re actually being a part of the story.”
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Social Media Super Bowl Ad Spending
How will advertisers spend their dollars for the Super Bowl, one of the biggest media events of the year?
According to DigiDay, 82 percent of the top agencies and brands said they would include Facebook in their Super Bowl plans. YouTube came in second at 69 percent, followed by Twitter at 68 percent. Instagram and Snapchat ranked much lower. Media planners were interested in these platforms, but demonstrated a weak commitment to allocating portions of their budgets there.
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