Hashtag or URL: Super Bowl Ads Point to Social Media Maturation

Hashtag or URL: Super Bowl Ads Point to Social Media Maturation

With the big game officially in the rear-view mirror, the postmortem is well under way. If you’re looking for an analysis of how a Super Bowl team can blow a massive lead in a very short period of time, stop reading now. Instead, we’re going to take a look at data pertaining to this year’s advertisements and make some observations about what it may mean going forward. Of particular interest is the use of hashtags versus URLs within big game advertisements.

As it has for several years, Marketing Land conducted an interesting analysis of various aspects of the 2017 big game advertising line-up. Marketing Land writes:

Hashtags were in 30 percent of Super Bowl 51 ads, down significantly from 45 percent last year. More ads used URLs than hashtags for the first time since Marketing Land has measured them, 41 percent in all. Twitter barely beat Facebook and Instagram as the most-mentioned social network, though neither was explicitly mentioned often.

So, what to make of the significant decline in hashtag use within the ads? What about the notable increase in URL use?

To me, there are two likely causes for such a shift.

One, it’s no secret that Twitter continues to struggle with overall usage and new user acquisition. Before continuing, a bit of history: Chris Messina essentially married the concept of a hashtag with Twitter roughly a decade ago. All that being said, it stands to reason that with user growth seemingly stalled, Super Bowl advertisers would begin to move away from including a hashtag in advertising given how focused hashtags have been on Twitter.

An alternative reason could simply be the slow, steady maturation of social media. Sure, hashtags can make for a great naming convention for a campaign or a simple way to organize conversations around a specific topic. However, as social media matures, many brands are focused on driving conversions vs. sparking conversation. Don’t get me wrong, both are important and have their places within the marketing arsenal. But, if you’re buying advertising in the biggest of forums, it does feel like a logical objective to try to drive people to take action (via clicking on a URL) vs. to talk (via a branded hashtag). The really interesting data, which we’ll likely never get to see in aggregate publicly, is what type of traffic a Super Bowl advertisement can drive to a website. If significant, the re-targeting possibilities are endless.

What do you think – why the rise in URL usage and decline in hashtag use within Super Bowl ads this year?

Top Social Media Trends for 2017

Top Social Media Trends for 2017

The end of the year brings us a few things: the holidays, time to reminisce and reflect on the past 12 months, and the opportunity to look forward to what the next year will bring.  

We recently reviewed our predictions for the consumer trends of 2016, and it got us thinking about how they affect social media consumption. One trend that stood out in particular is the idea of regular people being the new celebs. A trend that is fueling a shift in how you and I use social media platforms to represent ourselves, consume news, review products, and keep up-to-date with friends and family.  

Beyond everyday people being the new celebs, there are several additional trends that are influencing how we consume and use social media. Knowing this, we pulled together a few predictions from our Access Emanate digital experts on the hottest social media trends we expect to see take shape in 2017.


What social media trends are you eager to see come to life in 2017? Tell us using #AEShares.

How Should Brands Think About and Approach Live Video?

How Should Brands Think About and Approach Live Video?

It’s no secret that video is all the rage these days. Despite Blab’s decision to shutdown, live video is exploding thanks to Periscope, Facebook Live and other similar services. While many brands have experimented with live video, only a handful have adapted their overarching strategies to incorporate it more wholly and consistently.

I recently participated in the #getrealchat, which is a weekly Twitter conversation focused on various aspects of social business. This time around the topic was the future of live video–the discussion was lively and insightful. So, how exactly should brands be thinking about and approaching live video? Here are three tangible ways.

1) Start small–no need to build a live-video strategy right out of the gate

Test and learn. Repeat. Test and learn. Repeat. Got it?

Just get started–think about marketing activities and initiatives you’ve already got underway. Bonus points if they’ve already found success. Ask yourself if there’s a way to naturally incorporate live video as an extension of those efforts.

The key here is not to force things–if live video doesn’t naturally make sense for your brand or your existing marketing efforts, then table it until the time is right.

2) Use it to broaden the audience for your next in-person event

One such natural extension is around events. Many brands host multiple events around the country (or event the world) each year. Use live video to bring those events to people not able to attend. Better yet, think through how it can be used to increase attendance in the future.

3) Combine live video with your existing Facebook marketing efforts

Facebook’s live video offering, Facebook Live, offers massive scale and potential reach for each video you produce. With the NewsFeed algorithm favoring live video and the ability to save live video for future playback, the possibilities are endless.

If you’re already advertising on Facebook (who isn’t?) then you can quickly and easily distribute live video content directly to your desired audience without breaking the bank. As always, test and learn what works and what doesn’t for your audience.

Are you using live video? How?

Twitter Audience Insights: three things marketers should do immediately

Twitter Audience Insights: three things marketers should do immediately

Earlier this week Twitter announced a new analytics tool for US users. The feature, audience insights, provides marketers with a dashboard that aggregates information about Follower demographics, interests, purchasing behavior and more.

To access the new dashboard, users can login to ads.twitter.com and select ‘Audience Insights’ from the ‘Followers’ drop down, or login to analytics.twitter.com and choose ‘Followers.’

Here are three things marketers should do immediately with audience insights.

Examine current follower demographics

The demographic tab on the audience insights dashboard is full of rich information. Two items that immediately come to mind for closer examination are the gender of  your followers and their occupations. Does the gender of your Twitter followers map to the predominant gender of your target customer? If so, great. If not, some deeper analysis around the types of content and activities you’ve implemented to-date is in order.

The occupational information should be viewed through the same lens, but can also provide some preliminary insights around the best times to Tweet. If you’ve got an audience that is predominantly made up of students, retired people or homemakers, you’ll want to consider the typical lifestyle of those groups and adjust your Tweeting times accordingly.

Analyze follower lifestyle data

The lifestyle data is limited to top interests and TV genres, but still can prove valuable. Given that Twitter is made for real-time communication, explore the TV genres that most interest your Followers and map those to relevant shows or upcoming TV events that make sense for your brand to engage around. Should you spend hours preparing to do real-time marketing around the Super Bowl, or will your community not care? Use the lifestyle data to develop hypothesis that can be tested in the short-term.

Dig into the mobile footprint

Audience insights also provides details around the top mobile carriers and device types used by your current follower base. Use the predominant device type data to inform your future content strategy. If most of your followers interact with Twitter via mobile, your copy and imagery should be optimized for that platform.


As with any analytics offering it is important to use audience insights to develop and test different hypotheses–not take the data as the end-all, be-all. Given Twitter’s recent advertising revenue issues, expect the company to continue to deliver tools designed to inform marketers and help them better achieve ROI on the platform.

New Report: Top Social Media Trends for 2015

New Report: Top Social Media Trends for 2015

As the new year kicks into high-gear, we’ve collected predictions from several industry experts regarding what to expect from social media in 2015. Video? Data? Anonymity? Advertising? Download a copy of our latest report to get the scoop on what promise to be the hottest trends of the year.

Our vice president of digital strategy, Trevor Jonas, wrote in an op-ed published today in Bulldog Reporter’s Daily ‘Dog:

“With social media beginning to mature, 2015 promises to be the year in which more marketers truly adopt a content mindset. What does that mean? It means focusing on the target audience and identifying specific content that will educate, entertain and inform them. Those who are able to go out and find that content within an organization, or create it from scratch, over and over again will be the ultimate winners.”

What social media trends are you focused on in 2015? Tell us using #AccessShares.