Across our industry, the Super Bowl is still hailed as the biggest marketing moment of the year. 

Much like an annual visit to the doctor’s office, the Big Game is when brands evaluate the state of their health, determining if and how to show up to this major marketing moment. But does the game still hold the same lustre as the early 2000s?

The Big Game is when brands evaluate the state of their health.

In recent years, social media has increasingly become an avenue in which brands can build an authentic and direct community for their consumers, and more brands than ever are opting for a social-first strategy. Research has even shown that brands which nurture their community and build trusting relationships to drive conversion in the places where they inspire consumers, are seeing a 10.2% jump in revenue

Above: As a major media moment, the Super Bowl still matters. 

In our current era of discoverability, we’re realising social media is no longer about just one moment in time during which you get people to engage with your brand. Social media is about the long-term infrastructure that brands build. It's about the credibility that they gain, with both present and future customers, and about how deeply brands understand their audience. It’s a major shift that we just can’t overlook. 

The Super Bowl now serves more as a reminder for brands to check the hygiene of their social strategy.

Let’s be clear, major media moments like the Super Bowl still matter today. The game remains the pinnacle of every marketer’s dream when they enter the industry. But, instead of the be-all-and-end-all of a brand’s strategy, the Super Bowl now serves more as a reminder for brands to check the hygiene of their social strategy; just like an annual physical. 

As with any physical, the time before and after is just as important as the exam itself. It should ideally be a check-in about your long-term habits. Marketing moments like the Super Bowl are great for one big blast of awareness for your brand but, if you don't pull that through to foster a community and, ultimately, drive conversion, your dollars will not be working as hard as they should be... especially for a $7m investment (and it’s only getting more expensive)! 

Here are three ways to make sure you pass the exam with flying colours. 

Above: The Super Bowl is only getting more expensive, so you need to make your investment work as hard as it can.

Listen carefully

Don’t ignore the doctor’s orders. Social listening boils down to one question: how well do you know and understand your audience? Does the in-game activation that you're executing align with how your consumer engages on social? 

Make it your mission to know how your audience is best going to receive your message (short-form video? Text-based app?). The Super Bowl may not even align with where your audience consumes their media and receives your brand message. So, one piece of advice to clients and other marketers is to do their due diligence in this area. 

Enable decision-making through a robust strategy

You never want to show up underprepared. Have the framework and the guardrails to execute your strategy with a high level of efficiency to drive brand goals. Constantly ask yourselves and reassess. Is your strategy still relevant? Are you still listening to your customers and understanding what they need? Are your goals the same as they were six months ago? 

Make it your mission to know how your audience is best going to receive your message.

Pay attention to - and use - the three cornerstones of social business transformation as your North Star: community, co-creation and conversion. 

Above: Taylor Swift and her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelce, are poised to potentially make this the most-watched Super Bowl yet.

Create room for flexibility

This goes beyond adding daily stretches to your routine. Work those big marketing moments into your strategy based on the audience insights you gleaned from social listening. This is a 365-day-a-year effort to ensure that, when your community moves, you move with it. The biggest, timeliest social media marketing moments we remember that broke through the noise and made a big play on the cultural aspect of the game didn’t happen because of luck. They happened because they were prepared. 

Does the game still have the same effect as it used to? The answer is yes, and no.

Even before this year’s favourite pop star-athlete duo — who are poised to potentially make this the most-watched game yet — the Super Bowl has become a cultural event. Who could forget the dancing sharks? If your social strategy isn't designed to react to the culture wave, and if your business goals aren't aligned with what you could achieve by engaging in this moment, then you must think critically about the return on investment of the game. Not doing so is like showing up at the most expensive nightclub in the world, spending all your money on the cover and not being able to afford a drink. 

The Super Bowl is a time for marketers to reflect on their goals and mission. It's why a lot of us got into this business! So, does the game still have the same effect as it used to? The answer is yes and no. 

To make the most of the moment, you must evolve beyond short-sighted thinking. A strong social strategy will not only better prepare you for those macro-moments, but it’ll also drive higher engagement in the long term. Are you ready for your checkup?

Click on the links to see all of this year's Super Bowl teasers and in-game spots in one place, fully credited and constantly updated.