The Video Marketer’s Playbook for Winning the Super Bowl on YouTube

The folks at Think with Google have just published a new article, some new data insights, and a new infographic – plus they packaged all this with a recent case study – to help marketers and advertisers get prepared for this Sunday’s Super Bowl.

It may be too late for most brands and marketers, but there’s plenty of tactical advice that online video marketers can glean that will come in handy when planning for Super Bowl 2016.

The Super Bowl Has Become a Month-long Event on YouTube

The new data insights published on Think with Google reveal that YouTube has transformed the Super Bowl from a three-hour night in front of the TV into a month-long extravaganza across multiple screens.

With this year’s game about to kick off, YouTube has just revealed that interest is increasing and coming earlier each year. Commercials released on YouTube before they aired during the game drove approximately 2.5X more views on average than commercials that were released on game day.

In addition, the Super Bowl attracts roughly 110 million people (around 46% of U.S. households) during game time on TV, but this number of viewers has remained roughly the same, year over year, according to Nielsen. However, YouTube sees 5X the growth in worldwide search interest for the Super Bowl in the month of January.

The Video Marketer’s Playbook for Winning the Super Bowl on YouTube

Consumers Turn to YouTube to Watch Super Bowl Advertising

Consumers also see Super Bowl ads as part of the entertainment – and they’re turning to YouTube to find them. According to YouTube Data, in January through December 2014, people watched more than 6 million hours’ worth of Super Bowl 2014 teasers and ads.

Not only do consumers agree that YouTube is one of the top places to search for game ads they want to watch, according to Google consumer surveys, but YouTube sees 14X the growth in worldwide search interest for Super Bowl commercials in the month of January.

The Video Marketer’s Playbook for Winning the Super Bowl on YouTube

People are so eager to see the new commercials as soon as they come out that they’re not waiting for the game. And some brands are leveraging this anticipation. For instance, Newcastle Brown Ale, is not an official advertiser of the event, but has been cleverly using YouTube to get in on the conversation very early for the second year in a row now.

Super Bowl Contents Lift Engagement Across YouTube

For millions of fans, the Super Bowl also means parties, food, and fun. YouTube can see this in a variety of other Super Bowl-related content that’s engaging consumers. Nevertheless, with 400,000 videos posted about game ads, it’s clear that the big-game ads are still what drive the biggest engagement.

The Video Marketer’s Playbook for Winning the Super Bowl on YouTube

Video Advertising: How to Win Before Super Bowl Even Starts 

A few weeks ago, we looked at how the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” contest is designed to increase in sales of Doritos before the first kick-off. In other words, Doritos will already be big winners BEFORE the “Big Game” even if lots of viewers head to the kitchen during a couple of the commercial breaks during this year’s Super Bowl party and miss “The Lemonade Stand,” or the following:

How Budweiser Won Super Bowl 2014 Early with “Puppy Love”

According to a recent case study, the uploading of Budweiser’s cute “Puppy Love” campaign allowed the brand to connect with millions of viewers and consumers on YouTube, well before the big event. Budweiser released the “Puppy Love” on YouTube 6 days before the game to generate as much buzz as possible. It went on to generate more than 50 million views.


« A Bad Lip Reading of the NFL » Wins on Super Bowl YouTube

And the spoof clip-real, “More NFL’ – A Bad Lip Reading of The NFL, shows how peripheral content around the big game can shine on YouTube. Bad Lip Reading’s montage of football footage overdubbed with perfectly synced, perfectly silly dialogue, has already scored a huge 29 million views.

Video Marketer’s Playbook for Winning Super Bowl on YouTube

The accompanying article by Brad Johnsmeyer, Manager of Analytical Insights Marketing at Google, and Allison Mooney, Editor-in-Chief of Think with Google and Head of Trends Insights at Google, contains some additional strategic insights, critical data, tactical advice, and trends that will come in handy when planning for next year’s Super Bowl:

For many Americans, there are two times of year: football season and waiting for football season. And despite football’s rough year in the public eye, this hasn’t changed. In the U.S., the sport’s popularity remains incredibly, unwaveringly high – higher than any other sports league, according to Google Search data.

Super Bowl: A Month-long Series of Moments and Anticipation

According to Google and YouTube data, in the month leading up to the game, fans are wondering:

« What should I bring to the cook-out? »

  • In 2014, searches for recipes were up by 10% year-on-year
  • Playoff Sundays sees an increase in searches for “buffalo wings” and “dips”

The Video Marketer’s Playbook for Winning the Super Bowl on YouTube

« What should I wear to the Super Bowl game? »

  • Searches for clothing and apparel take off when the playoffs start, and peak again once the winner becomes apparent.
  • 2015 is the year of the “ugly NFL sweaters” – the term is trending and is up 700% in the last 3 months

The Video Marketer’s Playbook for Winning the Super Bowl on YouTube

Questions, questions, questions……

  • People ask more questions about football at the beginning of the season in September, and then right before the playoffs start in January
  • People are searching for quick answers like “how many players on a football team,” and “what is a safety in football”

The Video Marketer’s Playbook for Winning the Super Bowl on YouTube

Super Bowl Fans Mobilize on Mobile for the Big Game

According to Google, “We don’t ‘go online’ anymore – we live online ». According to Google data:

  • Mobile queries related to football were up 50 percent year-over-year in December.
  • Top mobile searches include players, teams, schedules, and scores are all growing annually.
  • During games, there’s a big surge in mobile searches. During week 1 of the playoffs, for example, 78 percent of game-related searches came from smartphones.

Super Bowl and Video Marketing: Read the Playbook

Google confirm that the 2015 Super Bowl will be the biggest yet, with much of the audience is online. That means brands and marketers have the opportunity to reach millions of fans on all sorts of devices – desktop, mobile, games console, and Connected TV. So, how can brands get in on the action?

  • Be there with content that answers the viewer’s questions, whether that’s a recipe for a great dip, or a cheat sheet for the game.
  • Make ads for small screens; don’t just downsize your desktop content.
  • In 2014, fans spent 14 million hours watching the top 10 Super Bowl and World Cup ads Use this data to think about ways to engage the community using the help, hub, hero strategy.

Tentpole Video Marketing: A Very Complex Puzzle

Finally, in case you haven’t noticed yet, this latest Super Bowl collection is the final part of a Marketer’s Almanac that is designed to help us prepare our digital campaigns for Valentine’s Day, the Oscars, March Madness, tax season, Mother’s Day, E3, vacation season, summer trends, back to school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the holiday season.

So, I’m willing to forgive the folks at Think with Google for failing to share their latest insights two blocks ago when we could’ve used them to get prepared for this year’s Super Bowl. I’m willing to do this because – to mix metaphors – they’ve just added the last piece to what has been a very complex puzzle.

Now, I realize these puzzle pieces may not be relevant for your brand. And the Marketer’s Almanac may still be missing a couple of additional opportunities. (For example, my Dunkin Donuts calendar says Friday, January 30, is National Croissant Day.) Still, the now completed Marketer’s Almanac can be used to plan digital campaigns around a series of tent-pole events throughout the year.


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