The Social Bowl: How Social Media Will Take Center Stage At This Year’s Biggest Game

By Adam Lichtenstein The biggest event in American television is only a few weeks away. And if last year is any indicator - Super Bowl 46 broke records with over 111 million people tuning in - we could already be seeing the biggest TV event of 2013. But a big chunk of those viewers couldn’t care less about the game; their show happens in between the plays. This is the time of year, besides advertising annuals, when big brands take center stage to show off their latest and greatest achievements in commercial advertising. With ad space selling for upwards of $2 million per 30 seconds, here is my prediction for February 3rd:

Every commercial you see will have some mention of a company Facebook, Twitter, or both. Whether it is actual posts read by celebrities, games to play online, or just a URL tucked neatly in the corner of your screen - there will be social no matter what. Social media is now such a huge part of advertising that brands have to bid for what hashtags they get to use. More than just owning keywords, the idea of having an ad in the big game and NOT connecting it to your social accounts almost feels sinful.

‘But social media isn’t scalable. We aren’t seeing a direct ROI.’

Oh hush up! You know exactly what the return is. You get to keep talking. Social media lets companies continue the conversation past the initial viewing. That is how sales are made today; you find ways to affect people and create deeper connections. The kind of connections that can’t always be made in 30 second spots alone. There’s your stinkin’ ROI - you get to continue the sales pitch or ad campaign well after the millions of dollars have been spent.

Consider how it would look if a major corporation didn’t incorporate a social media angle into their advertising for this year’s game. No matter how small the mention (hashtag, web address, etc). What if a Ford Motors or Virgin Airlines neglected to list ways to connect? It would look stupid. Or ignorant. Or oblivious. Take your pick.

Now, more than ever, we are seeing that social media is not just for a small niche of businesses. Every company can and will benefit from being active on social media. These platforms, in a sense, humanize a business in ways traditional advertising cannot.

It is important to realize is even if you don’t want to be online, your company and it’s advertising are already there. Whether you like it or not, those ads will be making the rounds. Discussions will be had, gossip will be spread, and there’s nothing you can do about it besides join the conversation. Just think of things like Facebook as the world’s biggest water coolers. Or gatorade jugs for this instance. Getting thirsty, anyone?

Do you think social media will take center stage at the Super Bowl this year? Share your thoughts in the comments!