This Sunday, 3 February, around a third of the US population will tune into the 47th Super Bowl, as the San Francisco 49ers play the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans. Understandably, the annual event is a very big deal for TV advertising, with up to $4m being spent on a 30-second spot, as a whole host of big brands debut their latest campaigns – to the extent that, according to a Nielsen report, 51 per cent of viewers are more interested in the ads than the game itself. 

But, as second-screening continues to grow in popularity, how has mobile marketing muscled in on this traditionally TV-centric event?

According to mobile ad network Mojiva, 82 per cent of viewers will use their smartphone device during the game – and 35 per cent will use their tablet. The most common activity  for these second-screeners is discussing the game via text, email or IM (26 per cent), followed by posting to social networks (21 per cent). 

“With the Super Bowl, advertising takes the spotlight just as much as the actual game,” Sephi Shapira, CEO of mobile ad platform MassiveImpact, told Mobile Marketing. “While the Super Bowl is traditionally known from bringing in a mass amount of consumers, now with mobile advertising there is finally a unique opportunity to personalize ads in real-time, targeting individual interests and geo-location.

“Ad relevancy is of course crucial for mobile advertising to be effective, and with the Super Bowl being a time when users are actively engaged with advertisements, relevant ads have a higher chance of leading to a sale or conversion for the advertiser.”

*Interactive ads*

With one of mobile's strength being how well it can tue into other media, there's a clear opportunity for the industry to cash in on the Super Bowl. Take Shazam, which used the 2012 Super Bowl to push its Shazam for TV platform into the spotlight. 

“Last year, we showcased a wide range of Shazam for TV experiences, across many TV ads and for the game and half-time show, and it was wildly successful,” David Jones, EVP marketing at Shazam, told us. “Since you only launch a new offering once, this year – while Super Bowl ads are very important to Shazam – they are not our singular focus. 

“We continue to work with many clients and their agencies around their upcoming campaigns, including their Super Bowl spots, but we also have a host of brands as clients with large campaigns that do not involve a Super Bowl spot. We also have brands that will be sponsoring the Shazam second-screen experience we're building for the entire game and broadcast, which has also been significantly enhanced compared to last year's experience.”

*On the second screen*

Meanwhile, second-screening service Zeebox will be throwing a 'virtual viewing party', hosted by TV personality NeNe Leakes, in its TV companion app. Users will be able to access stats from the game, chat with other fans, participate in live polls, and answer American football-related trivia questions for a chance to win NFL season tickets. Real-time's the name of the game here, with everything updating live as the game progresses – including the newly-introduced 'Buzz Bubbler' feature, a social meter that shows which ads are gathering most 'buzz' through a voting mechanism.

Taking a slightly different approach to a similar idea is Banjo's location-based social media service. The app displays social media content, including images, from a specific location – which lends itself well to the Super Bowl, giving the fans at home the opportunity to get a taster of the experience of being in the stadium.

“Watching the game on the TV gives you one experience, through the lens of whoever is operating the camera – and it's mostly focused on the field,” said Jennifer Peck, director of engagement at Banjo. “Banjo takes you into the stadium and shows you the game through the eyes of the fans, and provides a complete immersive experience for fans around the world.”

*Reaching visitors*

Looking a little further afield, the Super Bowl also offers opportunities for marketers trying to reach the influx of tourists arriving in New Orleans due to the event. One example of this is iSIGN, which installed its Smart Antennas to push out ads and offers to the 6,000 guests at the official pre-Super Bowl NFL Media Party.

“Using iSIGN technology, media attendees will be prompted to use their smartphones to receive notifications promoting different elements throughout the party, based on their location,” said Sam Joffray, associate executive director of the New Orleans Super Bowl Host Committee, which organised the party.

“Strategically placed iSIGN devices, with near-range broadcast capability, will not only enhance the guests' experience, as they learn about dishes being served or musical talent performing on specific stages, but the Host Committee will be able to provide additional promotional content for our vendors by providing enhanced data to the attendee. The Host Committee is excited to provide this enhanced data experience for both the attendee and for our participating restaurants and artists, as the iSIGN device will deliver rich content and interactivity that traditional or digital signage could never accomplish.”