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The Postgame Analysis of USBank’s Super Bowl Media Presence

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YouGov and Crossmedia share behind the scenes insights from how their client, US Bank, developed and measured their Super Bowl LII campaign.

Despite being a session discussing marketing strategy surrounding a football game, Crossmedia’s Matt Schroeder invoked another sport when talking about a recent campaign’s results: “It wasn’t a hockey stick like curve, but it’s what we like to see.” Schroeder and his colleague Tiffany Wang joined YouGov CEO Ted Marzilli to talk about how analysis of consumer markets and behaviors contributed to a successful and impactful campaign for USBank, the title sponsor for this year’s Super Bowl.

The session was grounded in YouGov’s “Plan and Track” model, which Marzilli described in his opening. The model serves as a useful way to conceptualize what brands and companies should do with all the data that informs their decisions; Schroeder and Wang enthusiastically confirmed that this model guided their much-applauded work.

Plan and Track, Step 1: Select the right audience.

Marzilli opened the session with an example from a different city and a different sport: New York City baseball. YouGov’s 250,000 variables for 2 million users—articulated in what Marzilli told us was “the one plug my team said I could have, and I just used it”—was utilized to drill down the ideal demographic for Citibank. This analysis was essential as they weighed the benefits of a sponsorship with the New York Mets. The insights their data provided taught them key things about the Mets audience—many former athletes, family-oriented, and receptive to inspirational messaging. You might know how this ends: Citibank did pursue a partnership with Major League Baseball, even naming their stadium Citi Field.

Wang and Schroeder joined Marzilli on stage in the second half to talk about how this practice looked in a different city: USBank’s home of Minneapolis, and the Super Bowl’s home for its forty-second iteration this past February. “USBank recognized an opportunity when the host city was announced,” Schroeder shared, a particularly apt partnership since the stadium already bears its name.

However, Wang notes, selecting the right audience was a bit more nuanced than going after fans whose eyes would already be on the game. In addition to pointedly targeting prospective customers, “we also wanted to make sure this campaign can improve favorability and familiarity among future leaders.” And so, Crossmedia and USBank had their marching orders.

Plan and Track, Step 2: Approach the audience with the right message, through the right channel.

As the respective directors of Group Analytics and Analytics, Schroeder and Wang are responsible not just for social media marketing efforts, but marketing across many forms of media. Their job was to ensure that money and labor were distributed thoughtfully and effectively to maximize impact. Data analysis using YouGov tools played a big part in letting social media do some heavy lifting on this campaign. While budget numbers weren’t shared, Schroeder did disclose that it took some convincing to redirect some of the allocated funds to social media—and data played a big part in that pitch.

Wang went on to note that a key piece of audience intel helped guide that decision: the frequency and volume of “second screening.” A large portion of the target audience will watch the game while also engaging in conversation on apps, meaning that TV and social could work in concert to drive engagement. This detail can be of comfort to execs worried that these dollar investments are an either/or proposition; Crossmedia’s analysis reveals they can aid one another!

Schroeder also shared that the tone and stated purpose of each platform helped Crossmedia decide where to engage, and how. A Segment 5 Quintiles chart was shown, followed by an explanation of how people use platforms—and where they’re most receptive to ads. “We want to make sure we’re fitting the contexts [of our placement] to how the audience is using each media channel,” seeking a balance guided by their frequency and affinity of use. Both are important and led to Crossmedia advocating for the use of both Facebook (used frequently) and Snapchat (more highly-rated).

Plan and Track, Step 3: Track your impact to measure your success.

For Citibank, was the investment in a collaboration with the Mets a success? Marzilli can answer with a resounding yes. Data they were able to obtain reveals that brand awareness of Citibank was highest during the baseball season of both 2016 and 2017, with an additional bump during the Mets’ improbable playoff run in ’16. Even in 2017, when the Mets shared a rankings basement with the CEO’s beloved Detroit Tigers, brand awareness was up. Being able to meaningfully and accurately track the impact of these investments has informed Citibank’s continued involvement with the team.

For USBank, the impact of their Super Bowl social strategy was undeniable: net recommendations and reputation scores hit a two year high in the days following the big game in their own backyard—data that Wang was pleased to have so readily available with the help of YouGov’s analytics. Such a considerable payoff on their strategy will undoubtedly inform the conception, composition, and analysis of future campaigns.

Wang said it best later in the panel when asked how data impacts the decisions that creative teams make. “Data brings in additional colors” about customers, he said. In this instance, it illuminated the habits of customers beyond just their financial records and spending habits; the decision to involve data in strategic creative decisions can bring new colors to the picture of your target market as well.

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