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Companies Are Betting Big on Social Media For Super Sales

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Another year of Super Bowl advertisements came and went. Clear winners and fan favorites have been chosen, and now the question we must ask is: did these brands’ big money investments actually produce a worthwhile return, or could their massive ad spend have been better spent elsewhere? 

Today, brands small and large are seeking more cost-effective solutions that replicate the success of traditional commercial advertising, while stretching advertising dollars to their limit. It’s not pinching pennies, but maximizing ROI by looking at creative solutions. So, where else can a brand reach an equally large, consolidated audience?

Social media platforms offer brands a dynamic opportunity to tap the audience of the Super Bowl, though without the sky-high costs commonly associated with it. With the right message tailored to the right audience, even a smaller brand can compete with major players. 

Big Wins, Regardless of the Game’s Outcome

Social media platforms, including the channels and influencers that drive them, can help companies large and small score big wins without the $5.5M dollar price tag of a traditional, 30-second ad spot. Given the exponential growth these platforms are continuing to experience, it’s fair to assume social media partnerships offer payouts that last longer than distracted Super Bowl viewers present today. 

For brands, the opportunity is multi-faceted, though the best approaches will focus on multiple pieces of content, each with its own means of distribution, to tap cross-channel and cross-platform visibility potentials. A combination approach that optimizes social media  marketing via partnerships, sponsored posts, and more, could offer the same, or more, engagement and ROI opportunities than a Super Bowl ad, and for a fraction of the price.

While brands with creative ideas could essentially bootstrap their way to success during the Super Bowl, those with the budget to spare could still benefit from an all-encompassing, longer-form social media strategy that lives beyond 30-seconds, and opens the potential for multiple touch points with their target audience. For less than half the cost of a Super Bowl ad, for example, a company could buy a mention on ultra-influencer Kylie Jenner’s Instagram page, and promote both this post and others with a million-dollar ad spend. And that’s one of the most expensive options; there are many other channels that resonate with this audience, and would easily outperform a 30-second spot aired during the Super Bowl for a fraction of the cost. 

Unparalleled Targeting 

There’s a reason Super Bowl ads for trucks and beer do so well: the game’s primary audience is men -- though women are the fastest-growing group of viewers. The audience also skews older and with above-average income, with the median age and income being 47 and $77,000, respectively. If this is your demographic, then a 30-second spot could make sense if you’ve got the budget to spare. 

But if you’re looking to reach millennial women, for example, who just got married and are planning to start a family in the next two-to-three years, social media offers a better opportunity for those with a laser focus on who it is they’re trying to reach. 

These days, Super Bowl ads are really most effective for those looking to reach a massive audience, and most commonly for brand recognition as it strengthens its foothold in a market while appealing to new customers to give them a chance. Companies like Anheuser-Busch treat the game as a loss leader, a massively expensive investment to tempt brand loyalists (of other brands) and ensure it plants a seed meant to influence the next generation of drinkers. 

For most companies, this simply isn’t possible. Instead, they’re looking for ways to plant the same seeds--or drive more immediate sales--through a lower-cost channel. The ability to target specific segments of an audience, instead of a spray-and-pray approach, increase ROI because it doesn’t need to serve ads to everyone: just those most likely to convert. 

Shifting Influence to Influencers

Social media changed everything for marketers, though the biggest shift came in advent of an entirely new economy, the influence economy, as it came to be known. While 20 years ago, a television advertisement during a popular prime time show could have catapulted a brand into the mainstream, these days brands large and small are foregoing traditional channels and instead focusing on the people who drive interest in them: the channels and influencers that are captivating their attention and producing content they value and enjoy on social media.

Smart brands know that reaching an audience where they are starts with entering the conversation. And there’s no better way to enter the conversation in 2021 than a mention by the channels and influencers they trust, and have come to rely on over the past year.

So if you’re still on the fence about whether a major ad buy during an event like the Super Bowl is worth it, in an ROI sense, ask yourself this instead: are we just looking to make a big splash or are we truly trying to move the needle?

[Editor's note: This is a contributed article from TheSoul Publishing. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]

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