The consumer journey now has many touchpoints — TV commercials are simply not strong enough to convert customers on their own

When consumers consciously engage with commercials, there’s no better broadcast event to take a look at than the Super Bowl. In 2015, 840 million minutes of video watch time was spent watching Super Bowl commercials. It’s important to know that people are seeking this out — top YouTube searches last year include “Super Bowl Commercials 2015,” “Kim Kardashian Super Bowl Commercial” and “Budweiser Puppy Commercial 2015.”

To truly capture viewership in 2016, it’s vital for marketers to diversify their media budgets to include content channels relevant to consumers like YouTube. By tapping into digital video, interest is relevant before the big game, spikes during the broadcast, and continues afterward into March as seen in the graphic below:

super bowl youtube ads

While Super Bowl commercials are only played once during the broadcast, optimized digital video strategies ensure your commercials have a longer lifespan outside the scope of the big game. Gone are the days when a brand could rely on the lift from a mere TV spot. To create an engaging and memorable experience, marketers must think of how fans engage online.

Viewer Habits Are Changing

TV viewers today no longer watch TV passively — they use their phones to actively discuss events in real-time and engage with fellow fans. According to Google, over 70 percent of football content is watched on mobile. In particular, Super Bowl audiences are expected to demand mobile-optimized content now more than ever.

Before, people were likely to wait until the day after to discuss must-see television with fans they knew at work or school. Today, events like the Super Bowl stimulate millions of conversations online before it gets any discussion the next day. As online ad opportunities expand, brands are aggressively growing their presence beyond TV spots with diversified budgets dedicated to a two-pronged TV and digital marketing strategy.

Last year, the most popular Super Bowl ad wasn’t from Budweiser, Volkswagen or Doritos — it was from mobile game Clash of Clans. Using Heartbeat, we see that since its successful 2015 showing, the YouTube video alone earned nearly 100,000 dollars in YouTube ad revenue. It also brought the brand over 100 million views, 475,000 subscribers, at least 1 million shares across digital channels. It’s important to point out that these numbers are in addition to the impact of the Super Bowl’s commercial broadcast. For marketers, these numbers are hard to ignore when planning their next move.

This is why commercials are just one piece of a truly complete marketing campaign. This evolving advertising landscape should be a big red flag for traditional marketers — it’s time to diversify your media budget to include people who watch video online.

Similarly to TV channels, YouTube content spans many different football-related topics limited only to what viewers discover. In fact, by 2025, Forrester predicts half of U.S. viewers under 32 will not subscribe to a pay TV service. Traditional commercials will not reach these people, but in-stream ads on YouTube and other display ads on Google will reach them as they search for digital video content. In order to keep ads effective, it’s important to capture this untapped audience with strengthening online advertising efforts.

The Cost of Commercials Alone

There’s a simple way to recapture a slimmer TV audience without spending more on media. Today, brands benefit from a cross-channel video campaign leveraging traditional and digital media– Google discovered that reach toward Millennials will increase 42 percent compared to TV alone.

With so much data at our fingertips, it’s now easier than ever to match media decisions to consumer influence. The past success of TV advertising’s frequent exposure creates a compelling case to convert that intent into action. Speed up the process by expanding your reach to digital channels.

With a diversified budget and smart investments in YouTube advertising, expect consideration, favorability, and purchase intent to increase by impacting customers later in the consumer journey.

It’s important to remember that football fans are inherently social and like to enjoy the Super Bowl with their friends and family. This is an opportunity to get more bang for your buck with digital advertising by targeting segments proven to capture engaged users.

Fans use visual mediums like YouTube to discover new ways to craft the perfect big game experience. Party ideas, big playmaking moments, and halftime entertainment are enhanced with social interactions and targeted digital engagement.

As traditional marketers explore new and creative ways to engage with consumers during and after a broadcast, it’s critical that they measure and analyze their efforts online. Strive to keep up with the needs of the TV industry to reflect the more complete viewing audience as they respond to content across screens.