Industry Trends

Why Mobile Will Be the MVP of the 2019 Super Bowl

4 Minute Read | January 24th, 2019

Courtney Reich

Courtney Reich
Content Marketing Manager

The Super Bowl is the superstar event of the advertising world. With over 100 million live viewers, it is the most-watched TV event in the US each year. It also attracts some of the highest prices for its coveted commercial spots — but not all viewers’ eyes are glued to the TV during the game (or the memorable commercial breaks).

Super Bowl viewership dropped last year, making it the least-watched Super Bowl since 2009.1 Despite this dip in viewers, the big game impressed marketers with its social footprint and second-screen engagement. This means that even brands that are not advertising on TV can still be a relevant part of the conversation and win over consumers via their favorite digital device: their smartphone.

Key Facts and Figures:

The Second Screen Takes Center Stage

Mobile is dominating US consumers’ media time. While time spent with TV dropped 5% in 2018, mobile usage increased more than 6%.2 Simultaneous usage of TV and internet, most commonly via smartphone, has been increasing year-over-year. By 2020, it is expected that 72% of the US population, or 187 million people, will go online while watching TV content at least once per month.3

According to a July 2018 survey, 46% of advertisers feel that the success of TV ad campaigns are limited in success due to consumers being distracted by their second screens.4 The second-screen should no longer be the second priority for advertisers. The mobile-first lifestyle of most US consumers means that mobile and in-app advertising is an increasingly effective way to reach users efficiently and at scale.

The Winners of the Super Bowl


Super Bowl viewers are in a uniquely receptive mode for advertising. “I’m only watching for the ads” continues to be a common phrase leading up to game day, with 24% of US Super Bowl viewers claiming that the commercials are the most important part of the Super Bowl.5 But with sky-high ad space prices and declining attention from viewers, brands both big and small should turn their focus to the second screen.

Advertisers can take advantage of the second screen to engage a huge and diverse audience during the Super Bowl. According to Fiksu, targeting Super Bowl audiences via mobile costs 77% less per view than the prime time ads. With the right mix of creativity and technology, advertisers can find campaign success on gameday without spending seven figures.

Last year, Super Bowl viewers were active in a wide variety of mobile apps during the big game. The top app categories by the average number of launches per user included social, sports, games, music, health & fitness, and news.6 By using the granular targeting criteria available in-app, advertisers can leverage this second-screen behavior to reach their ideal consumers during the game.


Mobile publishers are also set to win big this Super Bowl. On the Smaato platform, both ad spending and eCPMs in sports apps spiked 120% above the monthly average on the day of Super Bowl LII. And with mobile ad spending forecasted to grow 22% this year, we expect this trend will be even more pronounced for Super Bowl LIII. This includes sports apps as well as other top app categories such as gaming, social, and news.

To attract these increased Super Bowl budgets from top brands, mobile publishers should offer premium placements for highly-creative ad formats such as interactive and rewarded video.

The Game Plan

With the 2019 Super Bowl around the corner, now is the time to get ready for kick-off. Whether you’re a publisher looking to optimize ad spaces and formats in time to profit from rising eCPMs or an advertiser looking to reach a highly-engaged audience, the Super Bowl offers an unparalleled mobile advertising opportunity. Don’t delay and hope for a last-second Hail Mary — get started now to ensure your in-app advertising and monetization campaigns score a touchdown.

Source: 1Variety, February 2018 | 2eMarketer, September 2018 | 3eMarketer, October 2018 | 4Viant, September 2018 | 5National Retail Federation, January 2018 | 6Localytics, February 2018

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