Superbowl Digital marketing lessons header

With Football season coming in less than 2 weeks, I revisited Superbowl 51 and how the hated  Patriots pulled off the greatest comeback in Superbowl history. While I was rooting for the Falcons (mostly because I want to say that my beloved Seahawks lost to the eventual champions), I can’t take the achievement away from Belichick, GOAT Brady and the rest of the Pats. Rewatching Superbowl 51 though, I noticed several similarities between the comeback and Digital Marketing. So here’s 5 lessons that every Digital Marketing learned during Superbowl 51.

1) Base your decisions on data, instead of your gut.

If there’s one thing to take away from the article this is it. All Digital Marketers should based their decisions on data. Up by double digits in the 4th quarter with a few minutes remaining, the Falcons should have run the ball and killed time. Since the game clock does not stop if you run the ball, they should have stopped passing. Given that the pass game is strong in the first half, they decided to run what worked instead of basing it on what they see on the field. For instance, after the incredible catch by Julio Jones in the Pat’s 22-yard line, they could have ran the clock by running on 3 consecutive plays and have an easy field goal to be up by 11 late in 4th.

So if you’re running an A/B test, make sure to start by creating a hypothesis. Running an A/B test without a hypothesis based on data is the first step to failure.

To add to that, you should never test for the sake of testing. The value of an A/B test comes from the insights that you get from doing it. While it may take time for you to formulate your hypothesis for each outcome, you’ll end up benefiting from it as each experiment is an opportunity to learn about your campaign. More than that, you’ll be able to create a resource for you and your organization to go back to in the future. It’s more work now but it will pay off in the long run.

2) Just because it was working doesn’t mean it will continue to work

Superbowl 51 was set-up as a train wreck for the Pats with how the first half finished. The Atlanta offense was on fire, scoring 3 touchdowns and holding the Pats to just a field goal. Up 21-3, the Falcon thought they had it in the bag. But they didn’t. The Pat’s offense started clicking as they adjusted to the defense of the Falcons.

The Digital Marketing industry changes constantly. When there are big updates to Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other Digital Marketing platforms, we should be prepared for its implications. For instance, several companies got affected when Google took away right side advertisement in desktop searches or when Instagram announced Instagram Stories late last year. The effects from that? Instagram is now surpassing Snapchat in terms of users.

Unlike the Falcons, Digital Marketers should continue to monitor Digital Marketing industry to make sure that we don’t get blindsided by any new changes.

3) Continue to test

Much like how the Falcon’s lost the Superbowl due to their lack of adjustment, you should always make sure to monitor and adjust accordingly. The defensive adjustment by the Pats made it difficult for the Falcon’s offense to get its momentum back. They abandoned their conservative approach and blitz Matt Ryan that promptly disrupted the MVP’s groove in the pocket.

On the offensive side, Bucky Brooks from can’t explain it any better.

The Pats continue to test their game plan. And so should we. We must continue to test our emails, landing pages, PPC campaigns and everything in between to get more data and optimize our digital assets.

4) Learn from PASSt mistakes

Let’s set the stage. It’s Superbowl 49. The Pats scored a TD to go up 28-24 with 2:02 left in 4th. However, the Seahawks managed a magnificent drive and are now on the verge of making a comeback. It’s 2nd down with the ball at the Pat’s one yard mark. Victory was in sight for the Seahawks. It was time for Marshawn ‘Beast Mode’ Lynch to shine. He gained at least a yard in 22 of his 24 runs this game.

Ball is snapped, play starts.

Wilson gets the ball…


And the rest is history. 

Cue Sherman’s reaction.

Dan Quinn, current head coach of the Falcons, was the Seahawk’s defensive coordinator in Superbowl 49. With the Falcons up 16 in 3rd & 1 in the 4th, they passed the ball and it got intercepted by the Pats. Dan Quinn should have remembered that heart wrenching, gut spilling, soul crushing play that gave Brady his 4th Superbowl ring.

So fellow Digital Marketers, better learn from past mistakes. If you’ve forgotten to set a daily budget in your PPC campaign or did not set-up a sitemap for your website, put that down on your list of must-dos and make sure to never make the same mistake twice. That mistake could cost you as much as the Seahawk’s not winning back-to-back titles.

5) Never count Brady out.

Even though it seems that Digital Marketing is not for your organization, don’t count it out. At the very least, explore it and make sure that you evaluate digital marketing and then dismiss it if it’s not the right tactic.

Don’t make the same mistake as the Falcons. Don’t count Digital Marketing Brady out.


I’m a Digital Marketing Specialist from Vancouver, B.C. who helps organizations get leads and be in front of the right people, online.  I write about Digital Marketing, Traveling and life in general on the side. Need help with getting leads or your digital marketing efforts? Shoot me a message!

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