For football fans and marketers alike, the stakes are never higher than during the Super Bowl. Sensationalistic ads abound, hoping to capture the attention of a massive viewing audience, during a brief, expensive window. Here’s how to use social media analytics to make sure yours doesn’t go viral for the wrong reasons. And be sure to watch our Live Pulse to see what’s trending in real-time!

Social media analytics – your starting lineup

The competing teams may flip a coin to see who will kick and receive, but you’d never want to approach your marketing campaign that way. Just as there’s a playbook to apply throughout the game, marketers need social insights to guide their Super Bowl strategies.

By the same token, NFL teams practice regularly to ensure they’re ready for game day – and social marketers must as well.

As you prep for the Super Bowl, consider last year’s ad performance – did you attain your objectives? If so, don’t rely on a repeat performance. Consumer attitudes are always changing, so you have to continue analyzing all channels to understand how to approach this year’s campaign.

If you didn’t hit your marks last year, why didn’t you? Did you not have clear goals in mind? Did you get caught up in assumptions about your audience? Did you jump on a trend that wasn’t applicable to your brand’s customers?

Be sure you mine consumer data for all relevant topics and trends before throwing all your energy into a campaign that may not succeed.

Sentiment analysis – your quarterback

Once you apply social listening tools to identify topics worth exploring, turn your focus to sentiment. Look for the most passionate positive and negative consumer emotions for ideas and influencers to put into play.

It might sound counterintuitive to use negative emotions in an ad, but is there a greater unifier than shared pet peeves? Consider football itself – fans of each team both love their team, while hating the other. Both sentiments can be exploited depending on the nature of your campaign.

And both sentiments can be indicators of success, if what you want is brand awareness. Example: Budweiser’s immigrant story from the 2017 Super Bowl. As MarketWatch noted, “love it or hate it, people were talking about it.”

Of course, you want to be careful you don’t go too far and have people only talking negatively. Use sentiment to weigh the value of current trends before jumping on the bandwagon. Sensationalism for the sake of it is never a smart move. Sometimes you’re better to stick with something more tried and true – like nostalgia.

Honda’s CR-V commercial tapped into the love people feel for celebrities – especially when peeking behind the curtain at their former lives. Their yearbook ad crosses racial, gender and generation lines, brilliantly offering something for everyone to enjoy – and remember.

Conversely, what was Yellowtail’s commercial about? Who was it meant to appeal to? Hailed as one of the worst is never what you want for your $5 million.

A final word on sentiment – it’s not just about emotion/love, it’s about properly targeting your campaign to meet your goals. People absolutely loved Budweiser’s best buds commercials in 2015 and 2016, but the puppy/Clydesdale spots didn’t sell beer. That’s why they changed things up in 2017. What will they do in 2018? It will be interesting to see.

Don’t learn the hard way

What brands and marketers have now is unfettered access to competitor data. How audiences feel about your brand matters, but you also have the advantage of analyzing social data to understand sentiment about your competitors. Use it!

Consumers don’t hold back on social media, so let their opinions guide your away from mistakes other brands have already made. If they pan an influencer chosen by another brand, take that information and use it to find the perfect one for yours. If they hate a campaign for being too cutesy, political, silly, etc., take that information seriously and find out what they do want.

And remember to monitor reactions in real-time. If your first commercial doesn’t go over as planned, and your next spot is similar, find a way to throw a Hail Mary pass and save yourself.

The Super Bowl is just one day – but it’s a big one. Be sure you have all the insights you need to deem Marketing your MVP.

Want to see how we use our social analytics tools to find insights for events like the Super Bowl? Reach out for a customized demo!

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