The social Super Bowl has traditionally referred to Twitter and Facebook.
This year, Snapchat is in the mix, having had Super Bowl sponsors for the first time.
Last year marked the most social Super Bowl ever, until this year. #SB50 generated nearly 6 million tweets and continued to trend through this morning. And in all likelihood, this will be the second-most social Super Bowl a year from now.
Facebook, and especially Twitter, have traditionally been the platforms most associated with the Big Game. This year, Snapchat threw its hat in, too, selling out its Live Story with the NFL. Since the two partnered up back in September, users have created, on average, about 60 hours of content during each game this season.
There were four official Super Bowl sponsors on Snapchat, each of which reportedly paid in the low seven figures: Amazon, Budweiser, Marriott and Pepsi.
Other brands doing some pre-game snaps include GrubHub; General Electric; Taco Bell, promoting its newly-announced menu item; and Gatorade, which bought a clever new filter that fits in with the football theme.
These marketing moves are something of a gamble for these brands. As Heidi Besik, group product marketing manager for Adobe Social, points out, Snapchat lacks the analytics tools which other social platforms have.
“If you’re looking to reach 13 to 24 year olds, Snapchat is undoubtedly the platform to explore right now. The current reality is that ROI metrics will leave much to be desired,” says Besik.
People were certainly engaged. During the game, the app reached number two in the iOS App Store.
One of the new downloaders was Lady Gaga, who sang “The Star Spangled Banner” and immediately gained a whole bunch of Snapchat followers, if Twitter is any indication.
The sponsors’ ads were sprinkled into NFL’s Live Story. Amazon and Budweiser reprised their commercials with Alec Baldwin and Helen Mirren, while Pepsi promoted its half-time show. If you blinked, you would have missed Marriott’s ad.
However, the sponsors were surprisingly quiet on their own accounts. Amazon was the only one of the four to snap during the game’s first half. In general, brands weren’t on Snapchat much, which was strange.
You’d think that given the engaged audience during what is always the most-watched TV event of the year, brands would have been snapping like crazy.
T-Mobile was very active, but of my friends list, which is pretty much all brands and presidential candidates, the only others to snap during the game were Spotify and Coca-Cola. Even other Super Bowl advertisers, such as Acura and Audi, were silent.
Was advertising on Snapchat during the Super Bowl worthwhile for brands? Coming back to the lack of analytics, it’s impossible to tell.
“The thing with Snapchat that still frustrates me as a marketer is not having enough data, not being able to understand where I am in the landscape and what my competitors are doing,” says Ted Murphy, chief executive (CEO) of IZEA. “Not knowing what kind of engagement things are getting and not being able to follow things in a more public manner, it’s hard to understand what’s happening.”
Murphy points out that for a social platform, Snapchat lacks the interaction of Facebook and Twitter, at least for a brand.
It also has nothing comparable to likes or retweets, so there’s no way to know how the brands’ snaps resonated with people last night.
I looked at Google Trends this morning for Marriott and Gatorade, two brands that advertised on Snapchat but not on TV. Marriott, which was part of the Live Story, searches haven’t changed from January, though Gatorade saw a spike.
Facebook just turned 12; by comparison, Snapchat is only a baby. As the platform matures, it’s to be expected that more data will be available for marketers. But Murphy wonders whether it’s mysterious by design.
“I think there will be more measurement options, but if Snapchat wanted there to be more measurement options today, there would be,” says Murphy. “Maybe they want to have complete control over everything. It gives them more intrigue and interest.”
Murphy adds that without much transparency, Snapchat has more wiggle room to make mistakes and learn how to improve as an advertising platform. And improve, it likely will.
Snapchat has recently proven itself a serious contender to Facebook from an ad revenue point of view.
Will it also become a rival from a data point of view? Only time will tell, but Snapchat will almost certainly be a figure in Super Bowl 51.
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