As the 2018 NFL Conference Championship games are now behind us, the countdown to the Super Bowl kick-off begins. Despite recent controversies surrounding the NFL, from player concussions to player protests, football remains America’s favorite sport. Next month’s ‘Big Game’ is highly anticipated, not just by fans, but also by brands who will invest significantly in their marketing efforts. But as the National Football League enters its 99th year, the ‘football fan’ isn’t who they used to be.
Today’s football fans are digitally savvy and mobile-first. While these characteristics may not be unique to just football fans, what is unique is their individual mobile journeys that lead them to their desired Super Bowl content. Whether your consumers watch the Super Bowl for the football, the commercials, or the halftime show, each journey looks different, and so should your marketing strategies.
Below are three key steps marketers should follow to win the big game.
Step 1: Make data-driven decisions
Data is the real MVP of the Super Bowl. With the NFL viewing experience changing every year, data uncovers shifting viewer behaviors that enable marketers to make game-changing decisions on how they will reach their audience in a meaningful way. Last year’s Super Bowl didn’t have the record-breaking ratings of previous years. In fact, Nielsen reported that television ratings during the game decreased.
Ogury’s first-party mobile journey data reveals that even though there may not be as many people tuning in to their TVs, that doesn’t mean they didn’t catch the game – or the commercials. In fact, based on last year’s game day, data shows that radio station apps were among the top apps used on the same day as the game, suggesting that while consumers may not have watched the game, they may well have listened to it. While radio can feel like an antiquated way to consume Super Bowl content today, it goes to show that consumers rely on their mobile device to unlock content consumption opportunities that go far beyond TV, even for one of the biggest TV spectacles of the year.
In addition to those listening to the game, data also reveals that football fans were active post-game, as the day after the Super Bowl had the highest engagement with Super Bowl content across the entire week. Gone are the days of consumers being fixated on one media channel at a time, and during one specific window of time. Mobile journey data reveals where and when people are most engaged, which informs marketers of the right moment to reach consumers while they’re in the best mindset to receive their messaging.
Step 2: Discover who you should be reaching
So who should you be reaching? Again, data will reveal this, as quality first-party data accurately understands the evolving consumer. A survey conducted by Penn Schoen Berland found that 39% of fans define the big game as ‘an entertainment spectacle’ opposed to a ‘sporting event’, and 58% say the commercials and half-time show make the game better. As ‘football fans’ aren’t who they used to be, Ogury’s mobile journey data can discover the nuances between the different Super Bowl audiences.
Let’s take a look at the Super Bowl party ‘host’ and the football ‘fanatic’ audiences. Both of these groups plan to spend big leading up to and during the game. Hosts, for example, will be spending up to $207 preparing for game day, primarily on food and drinks. And, these hosts are aided by mobile. Reaching for our mobile devices is as instinctive as the snap is for a quarterback. Using mobile journey data will distinguish the different Super Bowl audiences.
In fact, mobile journey data revealed that the ‘host’ was evenly split between men and women, and were heavy mobile streamers actively engaging with food and recipe related apps and sites. In contrast, 72% of ‘fanatics’ were men and they engaged with sports and ticketing apps and sites, and were two times more likely than the national average to own gaming apps. Understanding the mobile behavior of both the hosts and the fanatics will better inform who you should be reaching and how you should be reaching them.
Step 3: Apply a global “first down” strategy
Americans aren’t the only viewers glued to their screens (all their screens). The international NFL fan base continues to grow, with the Super Bowl broadcast in 170 countries and it remains one of the most-watched sporting events in the world. Now is the time for marketers to line up their tactics and apply a “first down” global strategy to their marketing campaigns, focusing on the countries with a growing interest in the game. The UK, for example, is becoming increasingly more invested in the American sport. In fact, more than 100 British Universities have their own American Football teams.
Last year the Super Bowl aired at 11:30 PM on the 4th February in the UK, continuing through to the early hours of the 5th. Maybe not the best time for people to be catching the game – but that didn’t stop them engaging with Super Bowl content. Despite the clear growing interest by the younger generation, many people still question whether the NFL can crack its way through the UK’s crowded sports market to achieve their goal of becoming “everybody’s second favorite sport.”
My opinion is… definitely. Of course, my opinion is driven by data. Oguy data shows that UK users of the official NFL app were 164% more active on the 5th than the average active users across the month, demonstrating a clear interest in Super Bowl content.
UK NFL App Users: Ogury’s Active Insights Platform
It’s time to think beyond the US. Our friends across the pond are also football fans – and I’m not referring to soccer. Also, it doesn’t stop with the UK. Ogury data shows that French users were over three times (and Italian users nearly four times) more active on Super Bowl-related apps the day of the game than the average active users in those respective countries across February. The Super Bowl is innately an American game, but it does have a global audience, and so should your marketing strategies.
With a global strategy comes global compliance. A good coach may keep their strategies close to the chest, but Ogury provides complete transparency to mobile users. Ogury’s technology is purpose-built on consented first-party data, drawn from the entire mobile user journeys of over 400m global profiles, in full compliance with GDPR. When it comes to data, transparency is brought about through explicit, informed and unambiguous user choice. Users have to give their consent for what part of their data is collected, and more importantly, how this data is used. This provides real-time accuracy and scale, resulting in the most precise targeting in the industry, serving the right consumers the most relevant content, and driving maximum engagement at scale.
If you’re interested in revealing your consumer’s Super Bowl journey and discussing how this can inform your marketing strategies, contact me directly: Kevin@ogury.co
Kevin Fitzgerald, Head of Brand Strategy, US