Why do companies buy the most expensive ads on earth during the Super Bowl?
The answer is simple, it's word of mouth.
Ads last less than a minute, but getting people talking can keep your brand in the conversation for a long time. But you have to have a plan. You are investing way too much in an ad just hope it stands out above Clydesdales, explosive movie trailers and shock and awe from companies like GoDaddy.
So if you are a Super Bowl advertiser, how do you ensure people talk about you?
1. Focus on the Conversation
People use Facebook to get involved in conversation. It may be easy to get people to visit your page and comment on the ad, but that type of conversation isn’t meaningful and it doesn’t last long. Jokes about the actor in the ad may be funny for a couple days but they do nothing to convince others to buy your product. Prepare for your ad by encouraging customers to talk about your product on Facebook and across the social web. When your ad drives people to the web, they will find posts from peers that will get them interested about trying your product. You need to drive sales and you aren’t spending $3 million in 30 seconds to get people to make cracks about the actor in your ad are you?
2. Cultivate Your Advocates
There is a big difference between all your followers and your true brand advocates. How you cultivate those advocates can be the difference that makes your campaign grow in social media. Advocates are influential and they want to share meaningful experiences with your brand. Give them exclusive access to something of value to share with their followers. Things like product trials, unpublished content and special offers will generate the quality word of mouth that turns buzzing into buying.
3. Start Now
Quality conversation takes a little time to build momentum, and you don’t have a lot of time. The social measurement firm Cymfony conducted a study on the media coverage and social media discussions surrounding Super Bowl advertisers a couple years ago. (Disclosure: I was at Cymfony working on this project at the time) The study found that most of the discussion companies receive about their Super Bowl ad occurs before the game.
Staying quiet now and relying on massive word of mouth after the game isn’t a good idea. Conversation and media coverage increases throughout January, it spikes the day after the game, and it drops off quickly over the next three days. By Thursday, the only ads with any discussion are the ones that had created some controversy that the company had to apologize for. Your window for creating valuable buzz is opening right now. Use every social media channel available to get people talking about your product.
An Opportunity for Everyone Else
Even if you are not advertising in the Super Bowl, you can still benefit from the Facebook gold rush. Get there first. If all these ads are going to be promoting Facebook on February 5th, there will be a lot of people logging on to the site that night and the next day. If their friends are already talking about your company and sharing their experiences here, you’ll be part of the conversation. Your brand may get more exposure in social media than it ever could in a single day.
You have to start now.
Brian Cavoli is the Director of Marketing for BzzAgent, a division of the global shopper marketing leader dunnhumby. Brian has a deep background in social media and interactive marketing. Prior to BzzAgent, Brian led marketing and lead generation for the social media measurement firm Cymfony. Brian started the search engine marketing group in the U.S. for MPG Media Contacts and he created the Innovation Engine, an emerging technologies initiative at Carat. He has also held marketing management positions at Monster.com and Instant Information. Brian’s teams have won the Grand Prix Award for Innovation by the Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communications (AMEC) and MediaWeek’s Media Plan of the Year for "Best Use of Internet".