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Why Digital Video is Essential to Smart Super Bowl Ad Campaigns

Super Bowl season is almost here. And for those in the ad industry, that means their focus is on how to get the most “bang for their buck” during this high profile event. It’s no surprise that TV airtime during the big game isn’t cheap. Broadcaster FOX is asking for a cool $5 million per spot in 2017, and that’s having a big impact on how brands approach their creative and media plans. In fact, this year’s high price tag is a reminder of just how critical it is for Super Bowl marketers to have a strong digital strategy.

The truth is that smart advertisers realize digital offers almost as much opportunity to get their message heard during the Super Bowl. Most Super Bowl advertisers these days strategically “leak” their spots online before the TV broadcast to maximize earned media opportunities. It’s a fact that’s not lost on FOX, which is now charging $700,000 for digital-only ad placements. But even though this seems high, there are lots of compelling lower-cost digital opportunities. FOX, for example, will also be offering local advertisers the opportunity make buys within its Super Bowl digital stream. But beyond that, here are some additional opportunities to “think outside the box” and associate your brand with high-profile live events like the Super Bowl.

One opportunity is to create video content with themes connected to the Super Bowl that can live on its own both before, and after, the big game. Pepsi and Papa John’s for example, partnered last year on a football-themed video campaign that launched before the Super Bowl and continued after it ended. Using a series of teasers, “behind-the-scenes” videos and exclusive web content supported by social media, the two brands were able to reach more than 18 million viewers, including 4.5 million views on Facebook alone. On top of this, there’s an increasing range of non-TV opportunities like mobile video to help savvy advertisers can get their message seen.

Social media is another channel seeing much more traction with advertisers in recent years. As most marketers now realize, the “water cooler” conversation about the game can matter more than the game itself. And with nearly all social platforms investing heavily in video ad capabilities, there are a lot of ways to get Super Bowl creative seen through these platforms.

Facebook, for example, plans to scan users’ posts during the game for common keywords, packaging those users into audience segments that ad buyers can target with ad formats like autoplay video. Twitter is expecting big activity as well, with the company planning “war rooms” to generate real-time social content for its 13 advertising partners. Even non-traditional social tools like Snapchat are getting more advertiser attention, with companies like Gatorade buying “sponsored filters” that sports fans can send to their friends during the game.

Expect to see plenty of analysis during the Super Bowl about this year’s most-watched TV commercials as well as plenty of additional activity happening online. Fans will gather on social media to watch and search for video that extends their Super Bowl experience. Smart advertisers know that both TV and video advertising can play a role in this frenzy of football-themed activity.