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."