5 sports marketing tips for the Big Game

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My work as an analyst for Adobe Digital Index (@adobeindex) gives me the opportunity to do some pretty cool work including analysis on all of the major sports. As I look back on 2014, I put together a list of 5 trends for marketers to keep an eye on for the Big Game. I also have referenced the Adobe report for the stats, so you can see the whole report.

1. Social is becoming a key driver for 2nd screen interaction during a sporting event. With consistent algorithm changes from Facebook to create a good consumer experience, marketers need to understand what is coming in 2015 and be willing to move quickly

  • 2015 is the year of the links post. Share of posts with a link are on the rise up 69% YoY while text posts continue to drop, share of total is down 77% year-over-year
  • Brands who advertiser during the game saw 6.5x more mentions than their top competitors. Using social buzz to predict future trends is the next frontier for social marketing
  • Organic impressions are down 32% YoY and will continue to decline in 2015. Brands will need to increase their posts or pay for impressions to get access to the large Super Bowl audience who interacts with posts 26% higher on Super Bowl Sunday than on an average day.

Social buzz advertisers vs. competitors

2. Digital video growth, led by OTT devices like Xbox and Apple TV, is changing the way people consume sports and will be a key factor to the growth of these leagues into international waters.


3. International waters is the new battlefield for sports advertisers as sports becomes more readily available and popular outside the United States.

  • The NBA is the most international in terms of geo tagged social buzz with 39% coming from outside the United States.
  • The NFL is the #1 social sport in the U.S. with more mentions prior to the season than any other pro league.
  • During the NFL season, 10 of the NFL sponsors had nearly 500k mentions with its brand and the NFL in the same post

4. Mobile strategy is key to anyone looking to reach sports viewers. Larger mobile share of online viewership, purchasing, and visiting advertiser websites is changing the landscape of advertising and user experience.

  • Over 1/3rd of online video viewing of special sporting events in 2014 occurred on mobile devices.
  • Mobile accounted for 16% of all online sales during the two-month holiday shopping period but played a much bigger role on key online shopping days, reaching 28% and 29% of online sales on Black Friday and Thanksgiving, respectively.
  • Nearly 50% of visits to advertisers of the Super Bowl on that day will come from mobile devices.
  • 35% of consumers said their mobile phones let them pay for goods and services via a digital wallet technology, and 47% have actually used their device to make a digital wallet payment.

5. Digital adverstising channels remain the best way to enhance an existing Big Game campaign, or to jump in on the fun without spending $4.5 million for a 30 second spot. The growth of Google Shopping Ads, search advertising in general, and social continue to lead the charge in digital advertising.

  • Marketing continues to move to more visual practices Google shopping ads are on the rise, in Q4 they had 20% share of clicks.
  • Sundays have the largest share of clicks from mobile search, while Mondays rule desktop search , and Friday rules for social.

Facebook post and interaction share by day Global daily share of SEM clicks


Keep an eye on these trends this year and marketers will be able to capitalize on growing digital advertising budgets. Also, with the Big Game crowded with advertising, it doesn’t hurt to be creative and look for the next Oreo or JCPenney opportunity to join in on the fun at a much smaller price tag.

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