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Super Bowl Digital Marketing Trends

Football and remote

The Super Bowl is regarded as the most prominent and expensive marketing event of the year ($5MM for a 30 second spot in 2017), placing a massive amount of pressure on brands to not only create a winning advertisement but to maximize their investments with digital support that allows their content to live on after the game.

This necessity of doing so has changed the game. With brands being forced to consider campaign elements from all angles – TV spot, social support, talent, live components, on-site activations, etc. – the conversation has evolved from just judging the funniest commercial to the best overall strategy. With the high cost of entry naturally raising the bar of competition for share of voice each year, in their efforts to “win the Super Bowl,” brands are providing the industry with new insights and trends to learn from.

Super Bowl LI was no different, and Zeno was proud to support multiple Super Bowl sponsors this year including Anheuser-Busch, Intel and Kia. It was an epic event on and off the field, featuring a variety of digital marketing trends we need to be aware of. Integrated communications professionals should be mindful of these trends when brainstorming for their clients:

  • Brands Move up the Start Line: Each year brands continue to release their Super Bowl campaigns in advance of the big game, but 2017 saw the most yet. According to Visible Measures, received the most views before the game (22.6MM) for its “Disruptive World” spot featuring Jason Statham and Gal Gadot.
  • Brands Expand Experiment With Live Video: Brands such as Snickersand Hyundai aired commercials with live components while Avocados from Mexico and utilized Facebook Live. These types of one-offs may not become the new normal but are a new and exciting way to captivate an audience.
  • Instagram Continues to Rise: According to Visible Measuresbrands released more than 31 Instagram videos which received more than 13MM views for Super Bowl campaigns. This was the highest view count to date for the Super Bowl on Instagram.
  • Intel (full disclosure a Zeno client): Intel was everywhere at the Super Bowl. From enhancing the in-game experience with 360 replay and ‘Be The Player’ to stealing the halftime show from Lady Gaga, Intel put its stamp on the night.
  • Mobile Continues to Dominate: Most of those 13MM Instagram views came from mobile devices. According to, 90 percent of interactions on Facebook and Instagram came via mobile, as well as 70 percent of YouTube’s Super Bowl-related watch time.
  • Humor > Celebs: Be careful when thinking a big name is the cure to all your problems. According to Visible Measures, brands paying for nationally aired in-game ads focused more on humorous content (57 percent, 337MM+ views) as opposed to celebs/icons (42 percent, 183MM+ views). Heartwarming/Inspirational was a distant third (3 percent, 68MM+ views).
  • The Anatomy of an Ad: Brands are taking chances like never before and the audience wants to know how. Not only did Tide produce a big spotfor the Super Bowl, they brought the viewer behind the scenes.
  • #EndOfAnEra: According to Marketing Land, hashtags in Super Bowl ads continue to drop, slipping from 57 percent in 2014 to just 30 percent in 2017. Meanwhile, URL’s overtook hashtags for the first time, being featured in 39 percent of ads.

Congrats to everyone at Zeno who supported our clients at Super Bowl LI!