North America’s biggest annual sporting event – the Super Bowl – has a colossal effect on mobile usage, according to observations by mobile-first agency Fetch.

The group analysed a portion of the 500 million mobile interactions it collects across the US every month on Super Bowl Sunday (February 7), noting a drop in usage by 36% in the hour preceding the game.

This effectively renders the period a ‘dead zone’ for mobile advertisers, who immediately after kick-off saw ‘huge spikes’ in mobile activity, which increased by 47%.

Mobile usage remained high throughout the game, with users making the most of multiscreen opportunities, such as app downloads following TV advertisements, as well as social media interactions.

But that’s not to say that responsiveness to mobile ads also picked up among users.  

In fact, this figure fell by 10% compared to pre-game levels, rising as the game finished to taper off again rapidly an hour after, along with usage which fell 29% in the same timeframe.

The time to strike

Speaking on the decrease in pre-game mobile usage, Fetch’s head of data, Dan Wilson, commented that it’s rare to have such a sudden drop in mobile volume within a short period of time.  

Wilson owes this to the Super Bowl buildup – whether that’s users focusing on warmup entertainment or travelling to their preferred ‘party spot’, and imparts some words of advice for mobile marketers looking to make ground next year, or at similar events.

“Our analysis has shown that if advertisers in mobile are going to invest during the Super Bowl, it is worth focusing on during and post-game rather than the hours before the match or half-time when users are messaging on social media, but not as engaged with advertisements.”

To back up these beliefs, Fetch outlined that users were 51% more likely to be consuming video content during post-game, compared to pre-game hours.