While Twitter will likely remain marketers' go-to platform to build Super Bowl social buzz, Snapchat, Facebook, Google and Instagram are all hustling this year to grab a greater share of ad dollars. In the past two years, marketers have devoted serious effort trying to replicate Oreo's "Dunk in the Dark" 2013 viral hit, but this year could be a game changer—and they may find their Oreo moment elsewhere.
For one, Snapchat is a hot commodity on Madison Avenue, while Google and Facebook have more robust ad offerings. "If you want more bang for your buck, Twitter is a safe place—but if you want to be highlighted for doing something novel and unique, Snapchat's really your opportunity to stand out," said Meghan McCormick, social strategy director at Deutsch New York. Here's a breakdown on what the social giants have in play for Super Bowl 50.
On game day, advertisers such as Butterfinger and Mini USA plan to take advantage of Facebook's massive video platform–users now watch 100 million hours of video per day, noted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in last week's Q4 earnings call. The brands will turn their TV spots into autoplay video ads and full-page mobile ads. "We can target specifically people that we think will be in the market," explained Tom Noble, head of marketing for Mini USA.
For fans, Facebook just launched Sports Stadium, an ad-free hub that pulls together scores, game information and posts from teams and publishers. With 1.59 billion users on Facebook, it's a good bet that an ad play will soon follow.
The social darling scored Pepsi and Budweiser, which will advertise in its NFL Live Stories—a string of photos and videos that's sure to be seen by millions during the game. "Snapchat will essentially curate content from users throughout Super Bowl Sunday, and then at some point, our interstitial [ads] will be included in that Story," said Azania Andrews, senior director of digital connections at Anheuser-Busch InBev.
But Snapchat's lack of data and analytics has kept some advertisers from going all in. "I'd rather use my money to target people who are either interested in the brand or are likely to be in market to shop for a car right now," said Nguyen Duong, director of digital strategy at Innocean USA, which created four Super Bowl spots for Hyundai this year.
This year, Instagram comes into its own as a bona fide advertiser. After opening up the advertising spigot to all brands last summer, expect plenty of Super Bowl advertisers to sync up data-heavy Facebook and Instagram promos that target specific groups of consumers—like football fans—while TV ads run.
But Deutsch's McCormick warned that the flood of Super Bowl ads could dilute the photo-sharing app's creativity. "Brands are really struggling to show up on Instagram in a way that feels authentic," she said. "If I see a car commercial on TV and then see a sponsored car ad in my Instagram feed, that's going to feel pretty intrusive."
After sitting on the sidelines for years, Google hopes to grab a bigger portion of Super Bowl budgets this year with a new ad format called Real-Time Ads. Before kickoff, buyers upload their creative and can then choose to instantly run it as a YouTube or display spot during the game. Website maker Wix is already on board. But Michael Dossett, RPA's supervisor, digital content strategy, questioned how quick the new process will actually be.
"The buying experience is not all that different than what you have today," he said. "In reality, people don't go to YouTube or online [to] look at display banners as a source of content related to a real-time moment."
This story first appeared in the Feb. 1 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.