Tips for Marketers to Connect with Fans During the Big Game

Insights from David Iudica of Yahoo

Earlier today, we reviewed how brands can “win” the Super Bowl without spending too much money.

But what about that crucial engagement before, during, and even after the big game?

Volvo, for example, will follow up on its “Greatest Interception Ever” campaign with a social CTA in which users can tweet #VolvoContest when any car ad comes on and tell the brand who they thing deserves a brand new XC60 (Jimmy Kimmel promoted it on his show last night by giving a car to an audience member).

We spoke to David Iudica, Director of Strategic Insights and Research at Yahoo, to learn more about the search giant’s recent research on consumer habits with a focus on Millennials.

Have we moved on from the Oreo real-time marketing “moment?” What will a brand have to do to be remembered after the game?

Participating in the conversation on digital is a great way for a brand to ensure that they drive a higher impact and extend their narrative across a longer period of time. Fans who consume Super Bowl content online are brand influencers: 89 percent recommend brands they enjoy to others and 52 percent reported they’re constantly discovering new brands and products, which indicates an openness to new brands.

With a large share of advertisers being new to the Super Bowl audience this year, this openness to new brands is an important characteristic.

What surprised you about your consumer research?

In our study on Millennial sports fans, we discovered some key differences among the audience themselves.

Older Millennials — 25-34 year olds — are more likely to be more avid fans and overall consumers of sports. We found that women are hungry for sports content, but tend to look for the lighter side of sports. They desire content that is personalized to them and keeps them in-the-know with their friends. They also want in-depth athlete profiles that make them feel inspired.

What combination of advertising, social marketing and audience engagement will translate into measurable wins for brands?

The most successful brands are creating and telling a cohesive brand message and story across all platforms.

This is especially true with Millennials, as 67 percent say they want to be able to consume sports across all their devices. Personalization is also important as we saw 78 percent look for personalized content online to meet their needs around the Super Bowl.

The trick is satisfying their thirst for content in a thoughtful, authentic and personalized way.

What has your data told you about how and WHERE to reach Millennial viewers?

Millennials are the multitasking generation: 33 percent search for sports headlines and content during a game.

They are searching and discovering new content on various websites, and are turning to apps for additional stats and scores. The web plays a big role in their content consumption; 59 percent of respondents watch videos and read in-depth articles from the internet.

How much can a paid placement benefit a brand in terms of perception?

We’ve seen great results for advertisers: During last year’s Super Bowl, a major automotive company who purchased a Yahoo homepage takeover saw 15 percent increases in brand favorability and a 31 percent increase in purchase intent.

Gary Vaynerchuk eschews the “brand war room” model in favor of direct, personalized engagement. What’s your take on related trends?

Marketing and PR teams do need to strike a delicate balance.

Marketing teams need to know that digital delivers on the ability to extend the conversation in a thoughtful and meaningful way — and there are a number of ways to achieve these connections.

It terms of working with Yahoo, it’s about finding the right mix. Whether through engagements on social media sites like Tumblr, deep dives into coverage on Yahoo Sports, or personalized advertising on Yahoo Fantasy, the right mix of engagement along the funnel can allow brands to create authentic connections that reach a very selective and impatient Millennial consumer.

How will post-game analysis determine the “winner?”

Brands like NBC will be running their ads on their Tumblr page after they air during the Super Bowl. The brands that will come out as “winners” this year will be the brands that create the opportunities for engagement beyond the immediate event.