The Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event of the year – last year, 111.3 million viewers tuned in, making Super Bowl LI the fifth most-watched TV broadcast in history. But for local franchises and brick-and-mortar businesses in Minneapolis, the Super Bowl is the biggest weekend of the year to potentially increase advertising spending in order to maximize in-store traffic among the big game’s attendees. While the event draws millions of dollars for local businesses of its host city, it also has an economic impact on online and brick-and-mortar businesses across the country, regardless of your proximity to the teams or host location. In 2017, the Super Bowl brought in $347 million for greater Houston’s economy, $107 million more than 2016’s big game. Super Bowl LII is an excuse for franchisees and retailers to launch targeted sales and promotions, utilizing local search strategies, including mobile targeting, website optimization and paid advertising to increase awareness for your brand and business locations. If your brand has goals to capitalize on Super Bowl LII, here are some tips to ensure you’re the real winner.
The first step is to ensure your business is ready for what will likely be spikes in mobile web traffic. Three-quarters of Americans (77%) own a smartphone and 111.9 million Americans watched the Super Bowl last year. Just consider how people are viewing and partaking in Super Bowl activities – through bars, restaurants, parties or at home. Their main connection to the web is often via their mobile devices, so ensuring your siteis mobile-optimized is key, especially for those holy-grail near-me searches.
Mobile searches have been on the rise, with 78% of local-mobile searches (i.e. “best sports bars near me”) resulting in offline purchases. Consumers are increasingly on-the-go, especially during an event like the Super Bowl, and rely on localized mobile searches to get them what they need, when they need it. This rings true especially during the big game, as any franchise that offers delivery services will see an uptick on mobile traffic and orders and need to be prepared. Pizza Hut generated nearly $12 million in sales during the Super Bowl alone, and a big contributor to that revenue gain involved their mobile application and mobile website.
Google reports nearly 33% of mobile searches are location-based queries. If your franchise location isn’t easily discoverable online, chances are you’re losing out on profit and potential customers. A simple fix is to establish consistent, accurate and robust information about your location in key directories like Google My Business, Facebook, Bing Places, Apple Maps and more. Ensure your business information (name, address, phone number, business hours, website link) is up-to-date, and listed across multiple online directories and filled with non-branded keywords related to your business. It’s also important to complement branded content by populating business listings with custom details specific to your location, and potentially relevant to the Super Bowl (products, services, offers, affiliations, certifications, etc.), to maximize exposure around the big game.
If your franchise is planning to cater to the Super Bowl masses, ensure you tested your page load times frequently leading up to the big day. You don’t want to lose out on profit because of a slow-loading site or a poorly designed interface.
Understand the Power of Organic and Paid Search
If there was ever a time to combine paid and organic SEO tactics, that time has come. Creating awareness around your brand and product is key to winning the Super Bowl local search game. For the days and weeks leading up to the event, customers will proactively search for places to stay, things to do and buy, including food, drinks, places to watch the game, flight tickets, etc. Your brand needs to show up in these online searches, and if you’re in Minneapolis – for geo-specific terms and phrases.
On the paid media side, understand how Facebook, Instagram and Google can be used to generate awareness for locals and fans flocking to your city (if applicable). Serving targeted, paid local ads on these channels during the lead up to the Super Bowl, and during/after the game can help you better capitalize on users needs and wants, and place your brand and business front and center for attracting their attention (and spending money).. On the organic side, set up local events on Facebook for your business that relate to the big game. Do you own a sports bar showing the Super Bowl? Create an event and promote it to ensure it’s being seen by fans. Make Facebook work for you, and make sure customers can find you.
Optimize Your Key Phrases
While you might not be paying for Super Bowl ads, the ones running might have a direct impact on your business. If you own a local franchise of a national brand that is advertising during the game, your sales will be directly impacted if your search terms are optimized properly. For example, ads from automotive brands typically lead to a spike in website traffic after airing. And if you own a local dealership that sells the brand mentioned, customers can flock to your site for more information on key products and services.
Research and be aware of the ads being planned for Super Bowl LII – brands start to announce their intent weeks before the big day, meaning you should do the same. Include phrases like “automotive dealers near me” or “pepsi products near me” within your search terms, as applicable to your brand. It’s key to perform keyword buys for products being advertised if you sell them locally.
Let’s Win This Super Bowl
The key to winning Super Bowl LII isn’t just local search tactics, but to ensure you have an active presence across multiple digital channels that are most likely to be frequented by Super Bowl viewers and those in attendance in Minneapolis. Make sure your paid, earned and owned media strategies are properly aligned and best set up to capture customers during the most relevant times. . Much like the teams playing in the NFL’s marquee event, proper preparation and planning can go a long way toward helping your brand, franchisees and business locations come out on top during Super Bowl weekend this year!