(Read in entirety at Search Engine Land. Published 2012)
By now, you may have already put Super Bowl XLVI in the history books. But let’s remember: this was the first to occur in the post-PC mobile era. (It was supposed to feature my Green Bay Packers, but that’s another story.) This was Mobile Super Bowl I: a record TV audience. Half with a smartphone. All watching brands spend $116,000 per second to reach them.
During the game, mobile consumers stepped up, delivering record mobile search, social, andvideo activity. Yet most advertisers looked unprepared, seemingly without a mobile game plan. Many enabled Shazam users to tag commercials, but only a few ads targeted or even recognized mobile consumers.
Every advertiser had the same prime-time opportunities to connect with mobile consumers. Brands that did won big, during and after the game. Here are seven most missed out on:
Mobile users are action-oriented. Altimeter reported after the game that 32% of Super Bowl ads lacked a URL, and only 16% integrated Twitter hashtags. The first spot to integrate SMS call-to-action was at halftime by the NFL (hailed an overwhelming success). The 2-minute warning came before viewers saw the first and only integrated QR code from GoDaddy (which drove new sales records).
These two both targeted mobile viewers by providing mobile shortcuts to help viewers take action instantly. Most missed this. Hulu, for example, promoted watching TV programming from the Hulu Plus mobile app. Great mobile innovation, but the ad failed to provide mobile links or QR codes to help mobile users find and download the app.
Google announced after the game a record 41% of ad-related smartphone searches were conducted. The most popular mobile searches were for advertisers like M&Ms and Acura – likely people wanting to replay the commercials.
This is mobile prime time! Mobile searchers should be seeing your mobile site links, Local listings, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube profiles and iOS/Android App pages on Page 1 of the organic SERPs.
H&M did better than most advertisers here, getting nearly all their assets on Page 1 of Google’s tablet and smartphone SERPs: Mobile brand pages, Local links, Facebook profile, Google Plus page, iOS, Android apps. Given their racy, hashtagged ad, it is a bit ironic that H&M’s two “MIA” profiles would be Twitter and YouTube.
Twitter hit record levels of tweet volumes during the game. It’s likely that 60% or more were from mobile devices. Contrast that to just 16% of advertisers actively targeting mobile social users with integrated hashtags or Facebook pages (none promoted Google Plus pages).
Audi’s integration of the #SoLongVampires hashtag was so successful, it drove millions of incremental post-game ad views on YouTube. That’s prime time! MetLife and GE Appliancespointed viewers at Facebook pages to encourage likes and relationships. Make sure your Facebook profile can be easily accessed and engaged from smartphones and tablets. They may be forced to login first.
What about when mobile viewers requested brand sites directly?
Mobile formatted content can reduce 80% of mobile site abandonment. Nearly all the retail and auto brands delivered here: Best Buy, Teleflora, Chevy, Chrysler, and Coke are just a few that made sure smartphone users were greeted by mobile formatted content.
Deeper site pages were another story. These pages get displayed as sitelinks in mobile search results and are shared more often on social networks. In my own analysis, mobile viewers had about a 50/50 chance of seeing mobile versions of deep pages. Kia, Met Life, and Coke are a few that missed this opportunity.
M&M’s and Doritos may had two of the most loved Super Bowl commercials, but Flash made both their websites anything but “sexy” for iOS users. With iPhone and iPad users now driving over 50% of mobile web traffic, this is a prime time fumble.
Coke’s “Polar Bowl” app was also great entertainment; fun, popular, worth socializing, perfect for dedicating a third device to – just not the iPad or iPhone. That’s probably due to cutting edge HTML5 streaming limitations. Still, with both bears updating faux-iPads or smartphones, mobile seemed more like a prop than an enabler for consuming and sharing the ad.
Even broadcast network NBC fumbled here, making the game’s commercials available for immediate replay online, just not for half the mobile world that uses iOS.
Nearly 90% of Super Bowl advertisers have iOS and/or Android apps. Only 3% promoted their app. Like Hulu, none integrated active links, SMS, or QR to help viewers download the apps. But, GoDaddy, eTrade, and Cars.com at least made their apps easily accessible from their mobile home page.
Many missed the opportunity completely to let ad media indirectly drive app downloads, usage, popularity, and ROI.
Finally, 40% of mobile consumers responded to commercials. For weeks after the game, millions will view the spots at YouTube on multiple devices – desktop, smartphone, tablet, connected TV. The easier it is to consume these spots on mobile devices, the more likely consumers are to share across their networks, driving more search and social visibility, and more video views.
This highlights the real opportunity of integrating mobile calls-to-action, search, social, web, apps and video media: the football game can be over, yet the $3.5 million spend can continue paying dividends with more engagement, and more traffic to brand sites, apps, and social profiles, at no extra cost.
In football, no team is guaranteed a spot in the big game. Defending champions? Best record in the league? Doesn’t matter. It’s earned. Mobile is like that. Take those opportunities for granted, and your competitors will take them from you. (Just ask the Green Bay Packers.)
Here’s to the brands who were ready to deliver in prime time to win Mobile Bowl I.