Marketing Briefing: Twitter, TikTok vie for ad dollars, offer incentives as they seek to own second screen for Super Bowl

Ahead of the Super Bowl, Twitter and TikTok are offering marketers incentives to spend ad dollars on their platforms, as they each seek to draw viewers as second screens during the Big Game.

Twitter is offering marketers $250,000 in free ad space; TikTok is offering ad credit incentives between 3 to 5% for advertisers spending between $50,000 and $300,000 on Super Bowl campaigns, according to pitches shared with Digiday.

While Twitter has traditionally been the platform that marketers turn to for real-time marketing during the Super Bowl, the shift in leadership and advertiser exodus last year left its place in this year’s Big Game a question. With that uncertainty lingering, it’s no surprise that TikTok is pitching incentives as well as reminding marketers of its “real time” capabilities, according to an ad exec who received TikTok’s pitch and requested anonymity.

Marketers and agency execs say that they expect organic efforts to continue on Twitter this year. “Twitter is meant to be a news channel, it’s meant to be as real time as possible,” said Shelby Jacobs, senior social strategist at Dentsu. “Meanwhile, a platform like TikTok or Instagram is driven by an algorithm in which content and engagement may not pick up until well after the game has ended. That’s why everyone flocks to Twitter. It’s just the most in-person, real time, accurate feed.” 

In the months since Twitter’s change in leadership, Elon Musk’s leadership has put marketers on edge and dollars have moved elsewhere and Twitter alternatives have cropped up but advertisers haven’t been sold on them. Even so, platforms have made the pitch to advertisers to scoop up those dollars.

Whether the incentives will sway marketers to return to spending ad dollars on the platform is up in the air. Though, sources said it’s unlikely as many advertisers are in wait-and-see mode to watch if Twitter makes changes that could sway them, like new leadership. Others say that the Super Bowl incentives could temporarily attract advertisers, but not retain them.

“Incentives may help bring advertisers back in the short term,” said Brendan Gahan, chief social officer and partner at Mekanism, adding that Twitter’s ad capabilities when it comes to performance need to be expanded to win back advertisers. “But, building a better ad product is needed to bring advertisers back long term.”

As TikTok seeks to sway some marketers with its own Super Bowl incentives and highlighting real time capabilities, agency execs say that while the platform is “way more relevant,” as one ad exec noted, it’s not yet where people turn to for real time events.

“Twitter has owned the second screen experience during major live events, especially the Super Bowl. That won’t change, at least not this year,” said Noel Cottrell, partner, creative chair at Giant Spoon. “TikTok, is however, starting to work into that space. And in two to three years time, it may be the Super Bowl’s next town square.” 

That said, Cottrell added, “There’s no way TikTok is bigger than Twitter this year.” 

3 Questions with Ethan Braden, evp, chief marketing and communications officer Purdue University

Purdue University skipped out on airing a linear television spot during the Big Ten Football Championship Game in favor of a digital strategy. Why?

We decided to not place expensive linear television advertising and instead took the route of specifically targeting groups that we want to make change and reinforce attitudes, beliefs, behaviors with using YouTube, using technology in an innovative fashion.

How did it pay off?

What we saw was essentially a [significant] cost efficiency number in that Big Ten championship in our tentpole, or YouTube campaign versus what we would have seen had we gone the linear television route.

How does this change the university’s broadcast spend going forward?

It means as the marketing and, in particular, the digital marketing and storytelling, maturity and sophistication, continue to improve across higher education the way we’ve seen in so many other industries, you’re seeing higher education skate to where the puck has gone versus holding on to what we’re used to. And as a result, it’s effective, efficient, and it’s wonderfully measurable. In an environment where spend or cost is scrutinized… we want to do right by our dollars and our audiences. — Kimeko McCoy

By the numbers

With a record $7 million price tag, brands with ads in this year’s Super Bowl are placing big bets to get in front of millions of viewers. With the Big Game just days away, new research from marketing communications provider Mitto, looks at just how effective those $7 million spots are for advertisers. Details from the findings below:

  • (52%) of survey respondents believed a Super Bowl ad would be a successful use of a brand’s marketing budget. However, fewer than a quarter of respondents (23%) said they were likely to make a purchase based on a Super Bowl ad alone.
  • Over the past five years, 41% of consumers say they have only made 1-3 purchases from these large, expensive ads while 27% said they have made no purchases at all. 
  • More than half of respondents (55%) preferred these regular touch points throughout the year over a one-time campaign like a Super Bowl ad. — Kimeko McCoy

Quote of the week

“Even within flat to down budgets, we’ve still seen clients have an optimistic outlook and openness to experimenting.”

— Claire Russell, head of media at Fitzco, on experimental budgets being retained despite the current economic headwinds.

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