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Super Bowl Viewers Had Smartphones Firmly in Hand

Consumers used smartphones to search for ad info, socialize during the game

February 21, 2012 | Advertising & Marketing | Media Buying | Mobile

Nobody just watches TV anymore. And no event illustrates how ingrained multitasking is better than the biggest TV extravaganza of the year, the Super Bowl.

Some people watch the game with their laptops handy, searching for terms ranging from “hot wings” and “Hail Mary” to the brand name of their favorite Super Bowl advertiser. Other people seem so tethered to their smartphones that they must have watched the game with a beer in one hand and an iPhone in the other.

How ingrained is multitasking using smartphones? In February, Google reported that 25% of searches done about this year's Super Bowl ads the day before the game were performed on mobile devices. During the game, 41% of such searches were made via mobile.

Searches Related to Super Bowl Commercials Before* and During the Game, by Device, Feb 2012 (% of total)

For millennials—multitasking masters—the most popular way to socialize with friends during game time was with a smartphone, according to a February survey by Mr Youth. It found that 62% of millennials used their phones to text, while 57% trawled Facebook from their smartphones as they watched the game. Visiting Twitter was the third most popular smartphone activity, at 22%.

Ways that US Millennials Socialized with Their Friends While Watching the 2012 Super Bowl, by Device, Feb 2012 (% of respondents)

Millennials didn’t neglect brands they like on social networks, either. During the Super Bowl, 28% visited a Facebook page of a brand whose ad they watched. Yet Mr Youth wrote in its blog that millennials in its survey forum had “relatively low awareness of any social or online integration of the commercials they watched during the game, with just a few exceptions.”

The lesson to marketers? Consumers, particularly young adults, tend to snack on other media while watching TV—even for a big event like the Super Bowl. It pays to have a digital presence, especially on social media.

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Check out today’s other articles, “The Challenges of Cross-Channel Data Integration” and “Social Network Users in Brazil, China More Likely to Engage with Brands Online.”


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