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Marketing Brand Strategy Super Bowl

Super Bowl 2023: how brands can score big before the big game

By Allysun Lundy | Vice-president, head of retail media strategy

February 8, 2023 | 8 min read

Making the most of the Super Bowl hype doesn't require that brands shell out for a multimillion-dollar spot. In fact, argues Publicis Commerce‘s Allysun Lundy, a lot of the heavy lifting comes in the weeks leading up to the event, when brands can tap into consumers’ party-planning mindset.

Football with LVII sign

/ Adobe Stock

One theme that emerged in 2022 that seems to be continuing into Super Bowl LVII season is the notion that more strategic spending equals more creativity.

With recessionary fears, organizational shifts and a disruption of loyalty in many sectors, brands have to be smarter about their ad budgets. This year, we’ve seen major flagship brands pull out of sponsorships or shift budgets to support the Super Bowl in new and different ways. And according to Profitero’s 2022 in-game digital shelf tracking, many brands that didn’t go big with a spot in the game last year were still able to win.

While new advertisers get in the game to ensure they build brand awareness and a potential top spot in the ad rankings to amplify that awareness, it is likely that fewer consumers take an action during the game (they’re partying!). Even when they do, it is difficult to tie their actions back to the moment of seeing the ad.

While brands should include shoppable content in their ads to create an instant – and measurable – connection with consumers, the real work needs to be done in the three weeks leading up to the game, which is when research shows that shoppers start searching for “snacks”, “chips” and “Super Bowl party” terms. According to Amazon Retail Analytics (ARA) trends from New Year's Day until the Super Bowl last year, the Amazon search frequency rank for “chips”, “snacks”, and “Super Bowl party supplies” rose by 61%, 173% and 3555% respectively.

Come Sunday, I think we’ll see that the brands who win will be those who employed these three strategies in their pre-game marketing:

Use compelling content to create click-to-cart experiences

According to 2022 data from Roundel, 38% of people turn to social sites for party themes, snack ideas, recipes and more in preparation for the big game. As such, if a brand places content with seamless click-to-cart technology embedded, it‘s already strides ahead of the competition.

Think shoppable Pinterest recipes, shoppable TikTok posts from popular football players showing their game day snacks or a shoppable livestream of an influencer showing off their Super Bowl decorations. For these efforts to be successful, they need to have the right messaging or creator attached to these click-to-cart moments, or they won’t optimally convert.

Video formats are also key to helping marketers understand how consumers interact with each individual social site. Brands should weave in similar messaging across different content to make it feel connected across platforms, pick the right format per platform and understand the social trends for a winning content strategy. Pair this with a click-to-cart feature and conversions will roll in.

Win on page one of search

When shoppers are ready to visit the retailer’s site and make a list or fill their basket, it is critical to do two things: first, it‘s crucial to win share on the first page of search results. According to the latest Profitero research, moving from page two to page one organically increases sales by 37%, on average. Moving from page two to a top 10 spot on page one can increase sales by 70%. But to double sales, don’t stop there – aim for the top five results.

To keep momentum high, brands should benchmark their share of page one and top five spots across high-volume online retailers and identify high priority products that are not placing on page one for key category terms. Adding specific keywords to titles and product descriptions can help boost their relevancy and make them more discoverable to retailers’ search algorithms. Additionally, if retailers offer incentives, this is a good opportunity for brands to offer a custom discount based on shopper data to ensure their brands are chosen over the competition.

To consistently rank in the top five organic spots, brands need to nail all the fundamentals (i.e., high in-stock rates, lots of customer reviews and top sales performance in the category). So it’s important that brands monitor all health aspects of their top products. And make sure to provide inspiration throughout the site with banner ads and brand pages.

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Don’t set it and forget it

As demand continues to remain strong, brands should have a plan in place to drive awareness of gameday solutions in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. They should also monitor search activity the day of to ensure their brand is chosen.

With all of the above, these aren’t ‘set it and forget it’ tactics – they must be monitored for out-of-stocks, increased bids from competition, social chatter and changes in pricing. Many digitally-savvy brands without Super Bowl ads were able to win last year by actively monitoring their retail search activity. Take one key beer brand for instance, which conquested another’s Super Bowl ad by bidding and winning the top spot on Instacart, creating awareness for its own offering without the $7m spent on a TV spot.

Brands must get their digital team together and strategize to ensure they have plans and budgets in place to account for increased competitor conquesting before, during and after the game. There are more ways than ever to reach the consumer, whether budgets are big or small. The brands that spend smarter will be the real winners this year.

Allysun Lundy is vice-president, head of retail media strategy at Publicis Commerce.

Marketing Brand Strategy Super Bowl

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