Twitter will look different during this year's Super Bowl, with a new video design and in-game highlights posted live by the NFL. There's also more build-up from brands that now have better video options for teasing their commercials.
The company has been telling marketers how to make the most of the messaging app, which basically started the idea of real-time conversations with fans during live events.
David Pattillo, Twitter's head of sales, says it's about hitting the platform early—12 days early to be exact.
"All that hype, suspense and excitement drives tune-in and engagement to the live window where sponsors like Anheuser-Busch play around the conversation and tap into energy to kind of tell their stories throughout the game," he said.
So brands have escalating strategies that take their messages from the party-planning stage to the post-game press conferences. Advertisers with long road maps for Twitter see more views and clicks on their messages during the game, according to Twitter data.
Last year, there were 25 million Super Bowl-related tweets, so there is no question the conversation is robust. However, the social media competition is more intense this year with YouTube, Facebook and others attempting to drive more activity to their sites and away from Twitter. Tweeting will have one advantage: While the NFL is active on YouTube and Facebook, it shares videos of live highlights to Twitter through the Amplify program, which lets it sell sponsorships for those clips and split the revenue.
Twitter Cards will let brands drive actions within tweets by allowing users to click on websites or view more videos. They're more advanced this year, and brands are relying on them more heavily.
We spoke with Pattillo about what brands are doing this year on Twitter in preparation for the Super Bowl. He and his team will be in the proverbial "war room" to monitor the action and help advertisers make buying decisions on the fly.
"We have a lot of things we're doing [for Super Bowl advertisers] like ads with website- and lead-generating cards and media-forward video players [embedded in tweets]," he said.
Here's what six top brands are doing. Some are in-game advertisers, and others are sniping from the sidelines:
The office supply company is not a Big Game advertiser, so it can't say "Super Bowl" without risking the wrath of the NFL. Here is the brand's way to get around that problem: Call it the Super Concave Serving Vessel. Get it?
— Staples US (@Staples) January 22, 2015
2. Verizon Wireless
Verizon is an official NFL sponsor, but does not have a Super Bowl ad. It can still use "Super Bowl" in its messaging, though. With Twitter, it is hosting a contest to see which team draws the most support, and it's conducting a light show in Phoenix, Ariz., that celebrates the team leading the polls. Twitter is helping drive pageviews to the website for the event.
— Verizon Wireless USA (@VerizonWireless) January 28, 2015
3. Pizza Hut
The pizza wars are big on Twitter this year, with brands like Pizza Hut using the Cards system to take delivery orders.
Do yourself a favor: pre-order your Sunday feast. https://t.co/ndj7aVt63t
— Pizza Hut (@pizzahut) January 26, 2015
Philadelphia cream cheese is trying to get into your Super Bowl party with this custom-built Twitter Card that shares recipes.
— PHILADELPHIA (@LoveMyPhilly) January 16, 2015
Pepsi Mexico used a Twitter Card for polling fans on who's going to win.
— Pepsi Mexico (@PepsiMEX) January 10, 2015
Disney is just one of the sponsors for the NFL's highlights, posted during the playoffs. Draft Kings, Ford and Pizza Hut have been buying ads in these Twitter videos, too.
— NFL (@nfl) January 19, 2015