I wrote on this blog and elsewhere about the danger of chasing "pixie dust" at South By Southwest. Here is a video with my thoughts on driving business results through proven mobile strategies and tactics.
Here’s a tale of two moms – my mother-in-law wants a smartphone. My mom needed help over the weekend clearing messages from my old RAZR (I’m not a cheap son - that’s all the phone she wants). The lesson for marketers? One size does not fit all. I used to think that the RAZR was intuitive. Gosh, was I wrong. I had to relearn the basics.
Battery life is the number one issue for consumers, but J.D. Power survey takers still rank the iPhone tops for satisfaction.
I am somehow managing to get by on the "lower-resolutionary" iPad 2. Others might think life is unfair.
What to make of Apple having a good supply of the “new” iPad? Sascha Segan of PC Magazine frames it this way on Twitter - “If the iPad didn't sell out, doesn't that mean Apple planned things properly? Shouldn't everyone who wants one get one?” Good points.
Were you like me bored with the iPad line stories? People camp out from Apple products. News here?
When Apple said it was announcing the use of some of its cash balance, I wondered if it involved branding the new device iPad 3? I would call that better late than never.
It was cool to talk to the Mobile Marketing Association and Direct Marketing Association about mobile certification training and a test around DMA 2012. More to come as we get closer to the fall show.
Is Google accurate when it says, “In a few years, not having a mobile strategy will be just as silly as not having a desktop experience"? Are we still years away?
I can’t argue with the SMS practices that are part of Xbox Mobile marketing. Be worthy, engaging, now and relevant.
In my Digiday column /jeffhasen/my-digiday-column-beware-of-sxsw-pixie-dust, I wrote about the danger in marketers chasing the SXSW pixie dust – shiny objects that caught attention but likely won’t drive business results soon or ever. Since, I’ve seen these numbers – there were 755,373 total tweets with keyword or hashtag SXSW. Plus, there were 3,702 concurrent Foursquare check-ins at the hall. The stats tell us what we already knew - attendees are not representative of Main Street. I doubt that there are 3,702 check-ins in many towns.
Another takeaway from SXSW was the lack of discussion about whether something was mobile or social. Of course, it's both. I’m glad that we finally got there.
Even before the sun came up in Austin, South By Southwest Interactive attendees donned shades to hide bloodshot eyes and the glare from all the shiny new objects.
It’s hardly my place to judge the partygoers’ activity. I was young once, too. I do, however, have something to say about the product launches and business models that stretched our imagination. My message: brand marketers, beware.
I’m not anti-innovation. Quite the contrary, in fact. I’m in tech as much for the unknown as the known. But let’s concentrate on the known for a minute. The nearly 25,000 in attendance are not the norm (in more ways than one). We seemingly all carry iPhones and Macs, and many of us check in on Foursquare. The norm is likely your brand’s target — about two thirds of U.S. mobile subscribers don’t yet carry a smartphone or line up to buy a Mac. Their idea of a check-in involves questions of smoking versus non-smoking, a room away from the elevator, and the time the buffet opens in the morning.
What we saw at the Austin Convention Center and environs were early-adopter models, ones that may cause a ripple on Twitter but not on Main Street. Proof of that? Highlight, Glancee, Banjo, Kismet. All geo-location startups coming into a marketplace that shows only 15 million global users of Foursquare (for perspective, there are well over 300 million mobile subscribers in the United States alone and more than 6 billion worldwide).
So what is a brand manager to do? The smartest ones are relying on a mix of products and services that aren’t necessarily aimed at early adopters. Ford also employs a variety of mobile strategies and tactics, including a text call to action in traditional media that produced a 15.4 percent lead conversion. An influencer on Twitter described the program as “meat and potatoes.” As a CMO who hasn’t touched beef in decades, I’ll dine on “meat and potatoes” all day and all night for such lead success.
It wasn’t surprising that SXSW was overrun by talk of the mobile wallet. Among the vendors was ISIS which demonstrated its latest iteration and even showed an add-on that gives current iPhone models NFC capability. But no, no, no, 2012 isn’t the year to bet the marketing budget on NFC and the wallet promise. Even those chasing the dough are realistic.
“It’s inevitable that we will use this smart gadget that most of us have in our pocket now, and increasingly over time all of us will have it,” Scott Lien, vp of Intuit’s mobile innovation group, says in my upcoming book, Mobilized Marketing . “First it will be a basic replacement for payments, but over time it will gain more and more intelligence. At first there will be early adopters. They do everything on the phone. I think it will be high travelers and people who are in transit a lot.”
In other words, there likely will be a time to spend brand dollars against the concept. Just not in the hours after SXSW.
(first appeared here - http://www.digiday.com/mobile/beware-of-sxsw-pixie-dust/)
I had Catch Me If You Can on my mind in Austin with Leonardo DiCaprio at South By Southwest and approximately 1,000 Interactive panels and hundreds of parties vying for eyeballs, not to mention tweets, blog posts, and check-ins.
Like the rest of the nearly 25,000 attendees, I caught a small piece of the action given the competing sessions, Manhattan-esque traffic, and multiple sites. Also, what I didn’t hear was a debate on the convergence of mobile and social, perhaps signaling a realization that the two were never destined to be in silos. Just follow the consumers who would have none of that.
The most provocative comments came from futurist Ray Kurzweil despite his repeated statements about the neo cortex delivered to a crowd that had lost many brain cells due to the incessant partying.
What most caught my attention from Kurzweil:
-- "You can start world-changing revolution with the power of your ideas and the tools that everyone has. A kid in Africa has access to more information than the president of the United States did 15 years ago."
-- "As we go through this decade, search engines aren't going to wait to be asked. They'll be listening [to humans] in the background. And [the search results] will just pop up."
-- "If we can convince people that computers have complexity of thought and nuance ... we'll come to accept them as human."
The second and third comments can be debated. Will many want behind-the-scenes listening, interpreting, and advice from a machine? I agree with Kurzweil who shrugged off a suggestion that connectivity is a curse. He said that we are all in control and that “time triage” is an individual decision.
A few more things that caught my attention in recent days.
Samsung’s tablet revenue reportedly won’t only come from the sale of its own products. The company supposedly will sell to Apple $11 billion in parts for an iPad mini, according a report that quoted an unnamed Samsung source.
You say that there is no money in apps? Not this time. Draw Something, one of the top selling apps that I wrote about when Apple reached 25 billion downloads, is earning six figure revenues per day.
Clicks on mobile ads are 2X in Italy compared to the United States, according to eMarketer. In my upcoming Mobilized Marketing book, I spend considerable time talking to global marketers about the nuances in their regions.
In 2012, $2.2 trillion or 10 percent of disposable household income will be spent on mobile devices and services, according to Gartner. Do you still think that it’s the early days of mobile?
I don’t want to flaunt the fact that I heard about authentication stacks during a SXSW panel. Tell me you aren't jealous.
Probably the smartest words in Austin – people don't care about your products - they care about solutions to their problems. Amen.
I appreciate the reception to my first Notes on A Mobilized Marketer column. We'll get on a regular cadence, likely twice a week. In the meantime, some new notes:
First up are more thoughts on the new iPad release:
Some expected Siri to be on the new device. I wasn’t one of them. In my opinion, the exclusion is all about the 50 million additional iPads that Apple is projected to sell this year. The Siri voice recognition system was overwhelmed by demand when the iPhone 4S was introduced. My hunch is the backend can’t handle 50 million more asking where is the nearest place to buy a taco.
On a day when clarity was supposed to be the takeaway, Apple blurred the differences in its growing iPad line.
What was clear from the hands-on reviews is that the picture on the newest iPad is a knockout. Forget the retina display mumbo jumbo. What consumers need to know is that the resolution is as good or better than what we’ve come accustomed to with high definition televisions.
What was murky was why Apple called the new product the new iPad rather than iPad 3, iPad HD, or any of the other 6,487 names that appeared in rumors leading up to today. That is especially a question since the company will continue to sell iPad 2s. Are they not new iPads as well?
Back to the real story – the resolution.
From the Associated Press story:
“In a hands-on demonstration for an Associated Press reporter, text shown on the screen was noticeably crisper. The higher resolution won't make a difference, however, for most Web images, which are of low resolution. The new screen should be able to show all the detail in high-definition movies, which the iPad 2 does not.”
Other respected reviewers marveled at the screen definition.
Yes, there were other adds like faster speeds and iPhoto. But no new name.
There’s a bright side – we won’t get iPad 4 rumors.
But don’t be too happy about that – here come the rumors about the newer iPad .
Over the weekend, Apple announced that it had reached the 25-billion download mark through its app store, which opened in 2008. Further, the company counted 550,000 apps and has reportedly paid developers more than $4 billion in royalties.
Impressive stats. However, what is missing is data on the return on investment for brand managers, some of whom took the plunge in the very early days in part because of a misguided belief that the mere creation of an app would be newsworthy.
“Companies were making decisions to develop an app and rushing to launch something just so they could point to it in the app store,” Joy Liuzzo, InsightExpress vice president and director, says in my soon-to-be-released book, Mobilized Marketing: Driving Sales, Engagement, and Loyalty Through Mobile Devices.
“The lack of strategy is shocking in hindsight—and even during the time—but it spoke to the still naïve understanding of mobile by most companies. They thought of it as an isolated channel, something fun and fluffy, and that consumers would be willing to engage with anything they put in front of them. I think the realization that the channel and consumer were more sophisticated than they realized was a hard wake-up call for brands and agencies. However, those lessons were necessary to force agencies and brands down a more integrated strategy path, one that included proper planning and multiple mobile channel executions and media.”
Among the lessons learned was the need to drive attention to an app. Many now do so through mobile advertising.
Certainly a number of brands have successfully employed apps. Many winning applications serve utilitarian functions, providing such content as recipes, nutritional information and flight status. Others, such as an app employed by Starbucks, expedite payment at the point of sale.
Savvy marketers are giving consumers a choice by providing multiple ways to engage on a wireless device. That strategy is wise because it is more inclusive than a program that banks on one mobile product being available on an individual handset, then found and used by a brand’s customers and prospects.
What are consumers finding most interesting when it comes to apps?
Draw Something Free (social drawing and guessing game), The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Camera Awesome (that replaces the iPhone’s camera) were the top moving free apps on Saturday. Facebook and Twitter apps are always customer favorites, as is Angry Birds, the top selling iPhone and iPad app in 2011.
The top paid Android apps as of Saturday were Draw Something, Where’s My Water (game to test skills with a cranky alligator) and Beautiful Widgets (to customize such things as time and weather).
(post first appeared here - http://blogs.imediaconnection.com/blog/2012/03/04/are-marketers-seeing-roi-on...
Back when I was a sports writer, I loved writing a column called Notes On A Scorecard. It was a somewhat mad dash around the sports world with some news and a lot of opinion. It’s time to kick that off here with the first in a series called Notes From A Mobilized Marketer.
Apple’s 25 billion app store downloads have brought $4 billion to developers. It’s interesting to know that Apple didn't introduce the app concept -- others did as far back as 10 years ago.
More than the number of downloads, I want to know how many apps are used and how often. Activity is lower than you think. I’ll post further on this and discuss the ramifications for marketers.
Approximately 69 percent of China's one billion mobile subscribers access the Web through their phones on a regular basis. China is the largest mobile market in the world.
Lost in the discussion about smartphone adoption is the fact that more than 150 million in United States still have feature phones. We need to market to them, too.
Judging by the weekend crowd around the iPads in the Apple store, people either don't know about the impending iPad 3 or don't care to wait. Speaking of which, we’re one day closer to the start of iPad 4 rumors. It makes me want to pull the covers over my head.
If Apple was the first to announce 41 megapixels in a smartphone (like Nokia did), do you think folks would stand on chairs and applaud? I do. There is more on Nokia’s accomplishment in my latest MobileGroove column. http://www.mobilegroove.com/mwc-can-facebook-twitter-crack-the-code-on-releva...
Sprint reportedly will have 10 handsets with Google Wallet in 2012 bit.ly/xrKoMq. There is significant wallet discussion in my upcoming Mobilized Marketing book.
Google's supposed Siri-like offering is named "assistant" and being positioned as a "do engine" tcrn.ch/yMJDe9. I’m not a big Siri user. It's more of a gimmick. Do you use it?
I think more will buy photoshop tools if the world moves to 41-megapixel smartphones. Tools and eyelash enhancement services.
I feel the idea of the Air Force spending $9 million on iPads to replace flight manuals will be dissed by politicians. It doesn't matter that it makes sense.
Facebook and Twitter will accelerate mobile advertising's growth unless they screw it up – I discuss that as well in my MobileGroove column. http://www.mobilegroove.com/mwc-can-facebook-twitter-crack-the-code-on-releva...
Registration is open for the free webinar I'm doing May 3 with the Mobile Marketing Association on my new Mobilized Marketing book. bit.ly/A7GoXp. The official book launch is two days earlier but electronic versions will likely be available sooner.
Apple is imposing its will to set price and content for its coming TV subscription service, according to a report read.bi/y4jdgD me: Am I shocked? No.
Frustrated by others' efforts, Walmart and Target reportedly are in a new group chasing mobile payments. bit.ly/yJrhrs This will be a long race and there will be more than one winner.
It's early to gauge ROI, but Samsung has sold two million Note smartphone tablet hybrids (please don’t call them phablets) after its $10 million Super Bowl campaign. bit.ly/AtJMiH
Apple was named Fortune's most admired company on the same day that Verizon won the J.D. Power customer service award. I’m curious to know which has more sway with consumers.
Eight percent of cellphone owners don't know if their device is a smartphone, according to Pew. Should we call them dumb users?
Digiday asked me to compare brands that are winning on the mobile Web to those failing.
Here's what I told the publication:
“When it comes to content, the online Web and mobile Web are, pardon the pun, worlds apart. More and more discussions with consumers tell us that they are punishing brands that do not deliver in their mobile executions. Those entities that do are gaining customers and brand loyalty.”
The full story is here http://www.digiday.com/mobile/brand-mobile-ad-misses/
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, how many should be in a blog post about a picture taken with a 41-megapixel cameraphone?
Early today United States time, Nokia showed the world the 808 PureView phone, one that reportedly has been in development for five years. To put the 41 megapixel total into context, the iPhone 4S has 8 megapixels and is considered state of the art – or was considered a breakthrough product until this week.
Is there a market for such an advanced cameraphone? Who knows? This technology was beyond the realm of imagination before it was introduced in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress.
It’s easier to answer the question of whether mobile device owners want to employ their devices for picture taking.
Global mobile guru Tomi Ahonen says that 4.2 billion cameraphones are in use – or three times the number of television sets being watched and 3.5 times the number of PCs of any kind being booted up.
As Ina Fried wrote on allthingsd.com http://allthingsd.com/20120227/the-inside-story-of-nokias-41-megapixel-camera..., “Part of the challenge now will be explaining to the consumer why anyone needs that many megapixels.”
Fried reported that a sharp image remains after a user zooms in three or four times.
No retail price was given by Nokia and the 800 PureView isn’t immediately coming to the United States.
But rather than focus on the unknown, I’m marveling at Nokia for giving us a clear view of what is possible.
Tourists travel to Barcelona to feast on ham. Geeks go there this time of the year to get their fill of what’s next in mobile.
Google’s practice of embedding cookies via Apple’s Safari browser is a violation that should be condemned. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-google-tracking-20120218,0,1621176.stor...>
Not only does it break the “contract” between Apple and its Safari users, it blows to pieces Google’s promises made to the Federal Trade Commission that "bars the company from future privacy misrepresentations."
How might the government entity punish Google? According to the Los Angeles Times, “if Google is found to have violated its agreement with the FTC, the company could face fines of up to $16,000 per day for each violation.”
Wow, $16,000 should get Google’s attention. It likely pays more than that daily for lunches in its cafeteria.
Now to the question of whether Web users care about their privacy. I use Safari on multiple devices and do feel “violated”. But will I change browsers because of this or operate under the assumption that the next browser I use will invade my space as well?
That decision has yet to be made.
In my upcoming Mobilized Marketing book jeffhasen, Thom Kennon, senior vice president and director of strategy at Y&R, tells me that “privacy is delusional.”
More from Kennon in Mobilized Marketing:
“I don’t think for the last 70 or 80 years of consumerism have we enjoyed this Pollyannaish view of what privacy and data protection we were going to have. I don’t believe even aspirationally that it’s attainable.”
This privacy issue will go on long after you can read Kennon’s full comments May 1 when the book is released.
Just a few days after the official launch of Mobilized Marketing, I'll be discussing the book May 3 on a Mobile Marketing Association webinar. Registration is open and free. https://t.co/MDU3IZ1e
I hope you'll participate with me and Michael Becker, the MMA's Managing Director, North America.
More on the book is here: http://www.amazon.com/Mobilized-Marketing-Driving-Engagement-Loyalty/dp/11182...>
Before we let the Super Bowl pass, there was interest in two more bylines.
In a piece for MarketingProfs, I wrote about five commercials that would've been better with a mobile element. That article is here bit.ly/AFweTf
For Mobile Marketing Watch, I discussed the missed opportunities. http://www.mobilemarketingwatch.com/2012-super-bowl-ads-missedopportunitiesga...
It's now time to put away the cleats for another year.
With the cover final, we're entering the late stages of work before the May 1 publication date of Mobilized Marketing. Of course, I'll post much more on the incredible stories within the book and the interviews with marketers from CNN, Y&R, ESPN, Intuit and dozens of others.
For more on Mobilized Marketing, here's Wiley's description - http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118243269.html
Each year, I write a piece for Mobile Marketer on the use - or lack of use -- of mobile in the Super Bowl telecast.
My new byline follows:
“Please - ad with mobile call to action leading to millions joining database. #superbowl #brandbowl”—Tweet from the author, sometime late in the first half of Super Bowl XLVI
For each of the past three years, I have played Monday-morning quarterback with a day-after column for Mobile Marketer looking at mobile elements of Super Bowl ads.
Despite a huge, captive audience that actually eagerly anticipates these commercials, for mobile marketers, the overarching theme has been “missed opportunities.”
But going into Sunday’s Patriots-Giants tilt, 2012 looked to be the year that Super Bowl viewing went from passive to active:
• Nearly 60 percent of mobile users planned to look at or use their phones or tablets during this year’s Super Bowl, according to a survey from Harris Interactive
• Chevrolet launched a tablet and smartphone application designed to run throughout the game and add interactivity to their ads
• Rumors were flying that more than half of the Super Bowl ads would be Shazamable—which is apparently now a word, “the ability to be identified using the ‘Shazam’ mobile app,” syn. “Shazam-enabled”)
• A more informal bellwether—on Twitter, a colleague predicted the over-under on mobile calls-to-action would be 10
Despite the optimism, just as the New York Giants once again delivered disappointment to Patriot Nation, once again mobile marketers were left feeling a little empty at the end of Super Bowl XXVI. Another year of “anticipointment,” perhaps.
Yes, there were more calls-to-action than ever before – particularly hashtags, which debuted in Audi’s 2011 Super Bowl Spot.
This year, by my count, nearly half the ads included a hashtag – some relevant, many fanciful (Audi’s #solongvampires, JetBlue’s meta humor #hashtagoverload).
I also counted more than a dozen spots featuring “Shazam” – which was useful for engaging customers if they have a smartphone, if they have Shazam downloaded , if they are sitting close enough to the TV, if have the Shazam application open and if they see the small call-to-action on the screen. There’s a lot of if’s there.
Most ads also featured suggestions for viewers to visit Web sites or Facebook pages, too.
Each of these calls-to-action were designed to drive a consumer to interact with a brand—with limitations.
Twitter hashtags and Facebook pages allow them to comment on a specific ad spot or maybe even a brand, but in a one-to-many sort of way.
Shazam is hampered by the requirements I mentioned above, and even if those are overcome, still require the user to click through from the app to a landing page. And Web sites, well, that would have been cutting edge during the dotcom-heavy Super Bowl of 2000 … maybe.
None of these calls-to-action provided marketers with a key element—an easy means to create and continue a one-on-one conversation between brand and customer, with highly relevant content delivered on their most personal device.
By my count, there were two advertisers who used mobile to create a conversation—with mixed results: the NFL (SMS) and GoDaddy (QR code):
• The NFL’s spots had all the ingredients of a great ad—humor, the chance to win big prizes, and an SMS-based “call to action”—but failed miserably on the execution. I texted in during the first half—and heard nothing back … for more than five hours. Calls-to-action are about the instant gratification of a response, not a text back in the middle of the night.
• GoDaddy included a QR code on the latest in its series of ads to encourage viewers to visit their site for their latest series of racy “too hot for TV” advertisements. Theoretically, a great idea and a good way to capture customers who opt in – if consumers just happen to have their QR scanner fired up and aimed at the TV set during the seconds it appeared on screen.
Just like the past few years, there were so many missed opportunities.
Fiat’s ad had all the ingredients of a great spot: innuendo, twists and a fast car. But it could have built a database of opted-in potential customers willing to exchange their information for access to a longer director’s cut of the ad.
Budweiser’s Facebook call-to-action for aiding rescue dogs was a nice touch for a worthy cause—but an SMS prompt for interested participants to opt-in could have benefited beer sales and animals alike.
As far as my colleague’s prediction on 10 mobile calls to action? Bet the under. For mobile marketers, it was another year of anticipointment.
Like Tom Brady’s heave to the end zone on the game’s final play, my plea for an ad with a mobile call-to-action leading to millions to opt into a marketer’s database came up empty.
MediaPost's Steve Smith asked me what I thought about the mobile components in the Super Bowl spots.
From his article:
"Short-code callouts were few, as many marketers seemed to understand that it is difficult for the fleeting mention of a six-digit number and keyword to register with viewers. Yet a spot advertising the NFL Fantasy game and a $1 million sweepstakes entry had a persistent call to action on screen: send “NFL” to 69635. Unfortunately, as several mobile executives noted, NFL did not respond quickly in acknowledging the entry. In fact, it took hours for our entry to get a 2 a.m reply. Likewise for Jeff Hasen, CMO of Hipcricket, who told us: 'That's unforgivable when viewers are looking for instant gratification.'
"In our spot check among mobile marketing execs paying close attention to the use of the platform this year, most were underwhelmed. Annual mobile Bowl-watcher Hasen says that while marketers didn’t ignore mobile this year, as they have in the past, the execution was uncertain. Audio ID app Shazam allows users to tag about half of the Super Bowl ads, but Hasen says 'how many knew enough to use Shazam remains a question. With about half the ads including the Shazam prompt, no one spot stood out for including it.' He concludes that despite the hashtags and second-screen schemes, 'my takeaway is one of anticipointment.'”
Final questions on my mind in the hours before the Super Bowl telecast:
With reportedly half of the Super Bowl spots including a Shazam call to action, will it be advantageous to have a later ad once the concept is discovered by viewers?
Conversely, will advertisers with later appearances suffer from Shazam fatigue?
How will brand managers judge the results of ads that include a mobile component?
How much activity needs to come from the more than 100 million viewers for mobile to be deemed successful?
Will more use the mobile web or mobile apps?
Will an advertiser unveil a call to action that leads to an opt-in database?
Will mobile finally break through this telecast or will it be another year of anticipointment?
We'll finally have some answers later today.
For several years, Mediapost's Steve Smith and I have shared a disappointment in the lack of mobile calls to action in Super Bowl TV spots.
I talked to Steve this week - a portion of his new story follows:
Longtime critic of mobile marketing (or the lack thereof) during Super Bowls past Jeff Hasen, CMO, Hipcricket says, “we will look back at this as the year of the Super Bowl Mobile. But I don’t know if this will be the way brands will use it going forward.” It will be interesting to see if the various audio recognition apps synchronize accurately amidst the uniquely noisy Super Bowl viewing environment, he says.
And in the end it is important that mobile marketing plays well in this first widespread mobilization of the biggest ad day of the year. “We need the agency and the brand folks to say that we finally did use mobile well and had a great experience,” says Hasen.
Hasen argues that marketers need to give viewers multiple entryways for activating what they see on the first screen, whether it is an audio recognition app or a text prompt. But more to the point, the device needs to be used to get beyond the big branding bang of a Super Bowl TV spot and do what mobile does best, initiate relationships. “I am looking for that remarkable opportunity to build a database,” he says. “It is un-sexy and meat and potatoes, but the opportunity is to build those hundreds of thousands into an opt-in database.”
Last year, Denny’s generated 2 million diners after offering Super Bowl viewers a free breakfast in a famous game spot in 2009. “I want to see a case study of work that sends people to have their eggs and show how they used mobile to get two or three million of those people in a database,” he says. “Otherwise we are looking at the viewer in the same way we did in Super Bowl I.”
Andrew Berg from Wireless Week talked to me about mobile and the Super Bowl telecast.
From his story that ran today:
While you'd be forgiven for thinking that football is the name of the game on Super Bowl Sunday, you'd also be wrong. It's actually advertising. Advertisers will pay almost $3.5 million for a 30 second spot during their year's big game. Is it worth it? That's debatable. But consider that last year's game saw $10.2 billion dollars in consumer spend, according to research from iProspect. For some comparison, Cyber Monday drove $1.25 billion in consumer spend last year.
While it's taken some time to integrate mobile with those flashy Super Bowl ads, every year more advertisers supplement their pricey air time with short codes and calls to action. Admittedly, success for mobile has varied, but there's no denying that viewers have their devices on them during the game. iProspect discovered that 85 percent of search queries during Super Bowl XVLV came from mobile, and Super Bowl searches increased 122 percent from 2009 to 2010 and additional 33 percent increase from 2010 to 2011.
Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer for Hipcricket, is upbeat in his expectations for mobile during this year's Super Bowl.
"I think we're likely to look back and say that this was the year that Super Bowl viewing went from being passive to being interactive," Hasen said, adding that it should have happened years ago.
Hasen comes to the Super Bowl with a cautious optimism, which is then tempered with a gentle bit of skepticism. He'll be looking for the effectiveness of the mobile campaigns, which he says need to be designed with one key fact in mind: It's a party.
For instance, Hasen has heard that over half of the TV spots during the game will be "Shazamable," meaning there will be a call to action for viewers to use their phones to "Shazam" an ad and get additional content or offers. "That's a good thing because you're interacting with consumers," Hasen says (this is the cautious optimism), "but I do have some questions about whether that's the right environment to do Shazam." You can guess that the last bit is the gentle skepticism.
Hasen says in the past, advertisers have been reluctant to include calls to action during the party atmosphere of a Super Bowl. Who wants to grab their phone and dial a short code or Shazam something, while they're dashing back and forth between the TV, the bathroom and the snack table?
It's not that calls to action can't be successful, it's just a matter of when, and Hasen hopes it's this year. "We've got a lot of buildup and a lot of buzz that this is going to be the year of mobile with the Super Bowl, and I just want to it to be the year that it succeeds, where mobile proves to those who might not be believers that it really is the right way to go."
The ways that a company can integrate mobile with their traditional TV spots are growing. GoDaddy will feature a QR code in their steamy new Super Bowl ad (preview below) that will take viewers to another version of the spot on their mobiles. And yet, Hasen says traditional SMS and short codes remain among the most effective ways to use mobile as a compliment to other channels.
"With a QR code, you might have a lot of people that don't have the right scanner. We're big believers at Hipcricket of giving people multiple ways to engage," Hasen said, "so you might give them an SMS, a QR, or you might drive them to a mobile website."