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The Big Game is Sunday – What Brands Should Know

Posted Jan 31, 2020

While millions of people are getting ready for their annual NFL championship parties this Sunday, brands are eagerly waiting to see how their advertising efforts and spends will pan out. It’s been the biggest annual event in both television and advertising for decades, but living in the digital era has changed the way we experience it. Viewers don’t have to watch ads air live on TV anymore and can catch them before and after the game online. Brands have also had to innovate their marketing strategies to include more digital components, especially for mobile devices. Here’s what brands should know before Sunday.

Broadcast Viewership Will Most Likely Drop Again
Last year, Nielsen data said that broadcast viewership totaled 98.2 million, hitting an 11-year-low. This coincided with the streaming audience growing 20% to 7.5 million unique devices, according to CBS Sports. Viewers are becoming less dependent on broadcast and cable networks and relying on streaming services to watch TV. Brands should consider this shift when planning for next year’s ad budget.

Don’t Count on Viewers to Rewatch Commercials
A huge part of the experience is seeing the splashy TV commercials. With Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, viewers can easily rewatch ads they saw during the game. Despite the convenience, only 13% of survey respondents said they were likely to rewatch ads they saw during the game, while 3% find it somewhat unlikely, very unlikely, or absolutely not likely to look up an ad aired. If brands want to get the most out of their expensive commercial spots, they could repurpose the content for social channels or in-app ads.

Viewers Will Be on Their Phones During the Game
Our research has indicated that 65% of people who plan to watch this Sunday also plan to use their mobile device throughout the game. With a large portion of the audience on their phones, advertisers should consider the many cost-effective channels on mobile. 

Gabriella Stano Aversa, our Manager, Strategy & Planning gave her suggestions to brands on BizReport. “Brands can keep mobile users engaged by launching campaigns or special deals on their mobile sites or apps, keeping up with social media chats and advertising in mobile games that people will play during the event,” Gabriella said.

5G Will Step into the Spotlight
As we mentioned, viewers will be on their phones throughout the big game. Verizon has recognized the need for smartphone usage so they announced their deal with the NFL to bring 5G to the game itself. Their 5G network will be accessible in parts of Downtown Miami and the Hard Rock Stadium where the game will be held. Additionally, users will be able to watch the big game on the Yahoo Sports mobile app, with live streaming technology from Verizon’s Media Platform. 

Verizon will also be targeting mobile gamers by giving them a chance to play 5G-powered games created by the winners of their 5G Mobile Gaming Challenge. This lines up with our survey findings that 28% of viewers will be playing mobile games while watching the game. Brands should take a page from Verizon in the way they engage mobile users during landmark sports events.

About AdColony’s The Big Game Study
This survey was distributed globally and garnered over 400 responses, with a large portion of participants in North America. It asked consumers ranging from 18 years old to over 75 about their behaviors, viewership frequency, and device usage related to the big game.

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