How to approach Super Bowl LVI marketing on Twitter

Headshot of Twitter Next's Ryan Oliver
Ryan Oliver, senior director for Twitter Next, shares tips.

Having a strong brand voice is key, said Twitter Next’s Ryan Oliver.

Super Bowl LVI is approaching fast and brands are rolling out spots and social media campaigns ahead of the big game. While in-game advertisers dropped a whopping $7 million for 30-seconds of airtime, for many brands, the conversation continues online before and after the game.  

Many brands have already chosen to substitute an in-game ad with a social campaign, while others have decided to chime in on social in addition to their spot. 

Ryan Oliver, senior director for Twitter Next -- which provides insights and advice to business partners -- shared his predictions and advice for brands participating on Twitter during the big game with PRWeek.

Tell me about Twitter Next’s conversations with brands for this year’s Super Bowl. What are marketers thinking about this year? 
Overall we're starting to get out of the woods [with the pandemic] and marketers realize that there’s an opportunity [to reflect that]. For instance, the pandemic has made people reassess aspects of their lives and we certainly see that through the great resignation and other interesting evaluations of the effects of the pandemic on people's desires. So we’re seeing that with some of the marketing trends with the Super Bowl with brands willing to take risks and put the old playbook on the shelf for this year to try something new. 

What trends are you seeing ahead of this year’s game?
At Twitter, the results that we're seeing around NFL activity so far in the playoffs has been off the charts. In terms of volume, Tweets [about championship rounds] are up 45% year over year. I think that [will continue] into Super Bowl Sunday. 

From an advertising perspective, the Super Bowl can feel crowded. So we have a few brands taking Twitter-only approaches. For instance, Walmart and Procter & Gamble are going to do a 45-minute live stream hosted by Deion Sanders and Troy Polamalu. 

What themes do you expect to dominate? 
We've seen, in our day-to-day business working with brands, a desire to do work in the crypto and sports betting space. 

The interesting thing that I see around crypto is that while there are established brands that people recognize, there's still a significant education component to sports betting in the crypto space [that’s missing].

What is your advice to Super Bowl sponsors and non sponsors that want to activate on Twitter before, during or after the game?
Brands have continued to get more and more sophisticated and comfortable about their Twitter presence or strategy. First and foremost, it's all about authenticity. Consumers love having connections with brands and we want brands to realize that’s an opportunity. However, consumers also don't want a sea of sameness where brands sound the same and they have the same tone or similar messages. It needs to be something that's unique for the brand, that really makes that connection or starts a conversation. People feel more connected in the real world and in sports when they identify with brands that affiliate themselves with people's interests on Twitter.

What recommendations do you have for striking an authentic brand voice for the Super Bowl?
The Super Bowl is not a time to discover your brand voice or try something completely new and different, because it needs to be authentic. We want brands to feel like they're taking advantage of the real-time nature of Twitter and pay attention and interact where it makes sense. Don't feel the need to respond to everything. People are going to have opinions on what [brands] are doing on Twitter and that's just the nature of it. 

What creative formats work best on social platforms like Twitter if you're not running a spot in the game? 
It’s not a one size fits all recommendation because it depends on whatever [the brand] is trying to accomplish. That being said, I do think that innovation is usually a really good way to [stand out] when you match it with the right content and messaging. For instance, Twitter Spaces is a place that we've continued to see progress and traction on and that certainly applies to brands as well. It's an opportunity to [continue] the conversation and we’ve seen things like in-game Spaces where brands host to have conversations with experts and people that are really interested in the game and halftime show. 

And then there’s certainly post-game Spaces. We've also started to test out some different live shopping experiences and that is an innovative new space for Twitter that we'll see play out on Sunday. 

Tell me about the plans for this year’s Twitter #BrandBowl competition? 
Brand Bowl continues to be a great program and platform for us to recognize the outstanding work that a lot of brands are doing on Twitter. We've created different categories that we think recognize the activities whether it's total volume of mentions or which brand is getting the most retweets. So this year it's going to be back and improved. We've added new categories to that list, [including the most creative play, the audible and the MVP] and we just want a way for brands to feel like there's recognition for those doing extremely well on Twitter.

This story first appeared on PRWeek US.

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