Overload blitz? There are more Super Bowl stories, but engagement is down

It looks like some publishers may have overdone it on their Super Bowl coverage this year. Whether it’s because of Trump mania, a less-than-compelling matchup or something else entirely, social engagement with Super Bowl content is way down, even though the amount of editorial content about the game is way up.

There was a 31 percent increase in the total number of Super Bowl-related stories shared on social media in January versus the year-ago month, according to NewsWhip. But the number of engagements with those stories fell more than 30 percent.

That could be because they’re clicking on other stuff. Data from Keywee found that the click-through rate on Super Bowl content published to Facebook in January was 48 percent lower than the CTR for other kinds of content. Last year, though, the gap was even wider, with the click-through rate on Super Bowl content nearly 80 percent lower than everything else.

A third data provider, the marketing technology firm Amobee, found that this year’s Super Bowl content has gotten just 77 percent of the engagement that Super Bowl content got last year.

There are a lot of factors that could be in play. For starters, the big game is two days earlier this year, which could be why more stories have been produced this year during the month of January. This year’s Super Bowl also features just one big market team, the New England Patriots, who are not exactly beloved by NFL fans as a whole. And then there’s the fascination with the first 100 days of the Trump administration (though data suggests non-Trump content hasn’t taken a hit yet).

If engagement in Super Bowl stories is weak, it isn’t for publishers’ lack of trying. In recent years, the Super Bowl has been used as a peg for content about everything from broadband connectivity to homeowners insurance to institutionalized racism.

Millennial women’s site Bustle has used the Super Bowl as an entry point to write about everything from social justice to female identity to, most recently, which kinds of lipstick work best when eating chicken wings. Julie Alvin, the executive editor, said ,“We’re really aware of what our readers care about.” She continued, “I don’t think we would be in a position where we would create some tenuous link between the Super Bowl and a random topic.”

But no matter how omnipresent Super Bowl content can seem at times, others such as Electus Digital, home to College Humor and Dorkly, are sitting the big game out.

“If every publisher is putting out content on a similar topic, it gets real homogeneous, really quickly,” said Shane Rahmani, evp of Electus. “And when you’re not doing it organically, and as a fit to your brand perspective, you eventually say, ‘What’s the point?'”

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


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