How Consumers Use Mobile Devices During the Big Game

Jan 26, 2021
By: Jean Ortiz-Luis

After a holiday season unlike any other, the biggest sports and advertising day of the year is also expected to look very different. With the pandemic still very much present in the United States, many were left wondering if the Super Bowl would even take place this year. It certainly won’t look the same as previous years. The stadium will not be packed with cheering fans and some brands have already announced that they will not run ads during the Big Game.

Despite the changes, Super Bowl LV 2021 is still scheduled to happen on February 7 and expected to draw a big audience. Mobile usage has skyrocketed since last year’s event, so Digital Turbine is looking at how smartphones play a role during the game. Mobile users were surveyed about their plans for the game and how they will use their smartphones while watching. Read on for highlights from the Big Game Survey and scroll down to see the infographic!

Highlights from the Study

Viewers of all ages and genders will be tuning in. — Demographics are close to even across the board when it comes to age and gender. The audience is expected to skew slightly toward females (53%) versus males (47%).

Broadcast TV is still the dominant device used to watch the Big Game but connected TV is rising. — A majority of respondents (70%)  said they will watch the big game on their TV. More people will be watching on Connected TV this year with 25% saying they would use that device. That’s a 12% increase from 2020’s survey. Some respondents said they would be watching on multiple devices.

Viewers seek entertainment and socialization during the game. — During the big game, viewers will also be on their mobile devices texting (36%), browsing social media apps (35%), and playing mobile games (29%). Shares for all of these activities have gone up since last year. Without many Super Bowl parties to attend, viewers might be looking to communicate or stay entertained through their phones.

Multiple devices are becoming a necessity when keeping up with the game. — 43% said they find it moderately or very important to keep up with the game on multiple devices. This is a 12% jump from the previous version of the survey. As people become more dependent on smartphones, it’s likely that users will be on their phones to either keep up or take a break from the big game.

Most respondents will not host parties this year but some will host virtually. — Due to COVID-19, the majority of respondents (69%) said they don’t plan to host a party while some (14%) said they would use video conferencing services like Zoom or Skype to host virtual parties. More than a quarter of respondents expressed doubts of the game even still happening. 27% of participants said they think the game will be cancelled due to COVID-19 affecting regional restrictions or the NFL itself.

Consumers look forward to the laughs while watching ads.  — Respondents were asked what types of ads they are most interested in seeing. A vast majority of consumers (81%) chose funny ads. The second highest choice was emotional/heartwarming (36%) with celebrity cameo ads following (22%). Political/social ads were the least popular with only 11% saying they were most interested in that type.

Don’t forget to click the infographic to see it full screen and download!

About the Study
This survey was distributed globally and garnered over 300 responses from respondents in the United States. It asked consumers ranging from 18 years old to over 75 about their behaviors, viewership frequency, and device usage related to the big game.

By Jean Ortiz-Luis
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