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03 February

New information is shedding light on the reason why football fanatics are tuning in to video sharing websites for updates and content regarding their favorite teams, schedules, stats and game highlights. As a result, marketing professionals are learning the most effective ways that brands can connect with football fans leading up to the Super Bowl, during the game and throughout the entire season.

The NFL championship game (better known as the Super Bowl) is coming right up, which means that the competitors will soon get suited up and ready to do battle. No, I’m not talking about the football players, but the marketers who are ready to pitch their goods during the most-watched television event throughout the entire year. So watched, in fact, that a whopping 110 million viewers tune in annually to see the battle take place amongst the two best American football teams in the leagues.

But the Super Bowl is not the only place that marketers can advertise. It is a very widely broadcast event, but in reality, it’s only a few hours of entertainment during an entire season of great opportunities for brands to reach out to a target audience.

In light of the fact that football fans now have online video at their disposal, they can satisfy their pigskin urges not only during the big game, but before and after as well. Television is a great medium in which one can watch the action live, while it happens, and when it’s over, it’s on to the next scheduled program. However, with all the various video sharing sites in the picture, the action is stored and can be viewed days, weeks, months or even years later. As a matter of fact, research reveals that consumers would rather watch a video site for their game day ads, because there they can take a look behind the scenes, watch special interviews, catch the highlight reels and enjoy the ability they have to re-watch and share with friends. There is so much football content on video websites, that if you were to total it all up into one clip, it would take you several years to watch it to completion. You could go through a great deal of chips and dip during that viewing session!

After carefully examining and analyzing the viewing behaviors of sports fans, Genius Monkey realized that fans consume a great deal of online video as they encounter their I-want-to-buy, I-want-to-know, I-want-to-do and I-want-to-watch-what-I-want-to-watch moments that happen all throughout the season. Here are a few insights to help marketers reach, and engage, football fans throughout the season.

Don’t Look at the Super Bowl as One Day, Look at It as a Season

While the big game is the main event, it only lasts for about three hours. However, millions of video viewers watch countless hours of Super Bowl related footage before, during and after the game. Researchers found that during the first two weeks of 2015, there were over 16 million views of the Super Bowl ads. While that figure is impressive, the total rose to a whopping 260 million views through February 1. In all, there were 7 million hours of watching previews and ads in the first six weeks of 2015!

An analysis of last year’s Super Bowl commercials revealed that the best way to up the viewership of Super Bowl ads are to post them before game day. In 2015, the brands that aired full versions of their online ads before the big game gleaned more than double the views, and over triple the social shares, than the ads placed by marketers that waited until the game on Sunday to air their ads. A good example would be the “Lost Dog” commercial by Budweiser, which started airing five days before the game, and was viewed 18 million times before the Super Bowl even started.

It’s also important to remember that football season has been extended, so there are many more opportunities for marketers all year round. Viewership of football content on online actually spikes during the NFL draft during the spring, and during the fall startup.

Don’t Leave Out the Culture Surrounding the Game in Your Advertising Strategy

Nobody is shocked to find out that football fans continually fire up online videos for game day highlights and reels, commentator analysis and game clips. However, there are also opportunities that are a bit less directed to football, per se.

There are countless numbers of videos that don’t necessarily deal directly with the game, but that compliment it. For instance, there are recipes that can be prepared for the game, such as hot wings and nachos, with videos that are watched 77% more this year than last. There are also funny clips, such as “Bad Lip Reading” and Football’s Funniest Bloopers. In fact, comedy football videos are watched more than 50% more this year than last. These videos engage the fans by capturing their attention and running with it. There are all kinds of subcategories of football-related videos to draw in the fans, and these ads are only limited by the imagination of the producers.

What are the Fans Watching when They Aren’t Watching Football?

Obviously, football fans watch and enjoy more than just football games or related topics. They share a broad variety of interests, which diversifies their viewing habits.

In order to get a better idea of what the football fans are watching, one must take a close look at the viewership patterns across a variety of content. For instance, apparently those who are interested in football are also interested in automobile and culinary videos. The Millennial fans are more prone to watch comedy and movies, while those fans who are fathers are more likely to follow auto and news content.

Nissan conducted a #withdad Super Bowl campaign in 2015. They took full advantage of the hype leading up to the game, and they created a video campaign that went far beyond the boundaries of the football field. It turns out that they partnered with some of the popular online video creators, asking for their help in creating content that would tap into how fathers make life easier for their families, which is just what the team did. This drew in fans of more than football … it appealed to a much broader demographic than just diehard sports enthusiasts.

To date, these Nissan videos have drawn over 76 million views. In addition, it began the anticipation of an upcoming Super Bowl commercial, which aired for Super Bowl XLIX. It featured an up-and-coming race car driver through his journey to the highest levels of motorsports competition through the eyes of his son. It featured the iconic Harry Chapin song, Cat’s in the Cradle. This video beat out all of the competition to become an award-winning success (Kleenex, please). Within two weeks the ad had drawn over 22 million views.

Now that the Super Bowl game day has evolved into an expanded game month, and now that the season is an all-year event, advertisers have opportunities that allow them to connect with a football crowd that has never been so captive of an audience. And by gaining a comprehension of just what type of video content football fans turn to in their “off season” video viewing, brands can now find all kinds of chances to connect, engage and remain relevant-from the season’s first kickoff, to the ultimate championship in January.

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