(Originally posted in B2C)

This weekend’s big game is well-known for its millions-of-dollars-per-minute advertising time. Big-name brands with big-time audiences, like Bud Light, Dannon, and CarMax, all seem to invest that advertising revenue confidently…but could those marketing agencies be leaving millions on the table?

Unfortunately, yes — prime-time ad agencies tend to focus only on major trending topics, leaving unique interests unrepresented and full of untapped potential.

Unique interests are those surprising insights that take your advertising from “great” to “Grade-A.” A unique interest is a trending topic, celebrity, or TV show that a given segment of users favor over others and is not as obvious as the top five trends being covered. If your business isn’t identifying these unique interests and taking advantage of them, you might be mishandling your marketing budget, too.

Unique Interest, Unique ROI: Making Unique Interests Work for You

Unique interests require you to get to know your audience in a more personal way that will result in better conversions and a better ROI on your marketing investment. This strategy works across all markets and industries, from popular sports teams and television shows to particular actors and celebrities.

Unique Interests Inform Effective Social Content

Social content is a powerful tool for capitalizing on unique interests, whether you’re seeking celebrity endorsements or media outlet attention. Make the most of it by keeping an eye out for unique public figures: celebrities who have a particularly active set of brand fans that overlap with your market.

Take ESPN’s John Clayton, the most popular media celebrity with Seattle Seahawks fans. He has almost a million Twitter followers. But let’s look down the list a bit at Jenni Hogan, an Australian Social TV anchor who has just 65,000 Twitter followers. Here’s the interesting part: She ranks #20 among Seahawks fans and doesn’t even hit the top 1,000 for Denver Broncos fans. If your brand wanted to get the attention of thousands of Seahawks fans, which choice would make more sense: John Clayton or Jenni Hogan?

Using Unique Interests for Media Planning and Buying

Take a quick look at your brand’s under-engaged audience. You know they’re real people and not fake or dormant accounts. They’ve also shown some interest — they’re just not brand advocates yet. This is where unique interests really provide their value.

Instead of concentrating a large chunk of your advertising budget on major media outlets, like industry-leading TV and news broadcasters, a targeted effort to unique interest segments can be very effective.

For example, if you didn’t know Broncos fans loved Deadspin, you might be tempted to go with CNN Breaking News for its 15 million Twitter followers. But you’d be missing out on a huge opportunity. Although Deadspin holds claim to just under 600,000 Twitter followers, the media outlet ranks #16 in media for Broncos fans. For a major brand looking to reach a concentration of brand fans, which is the better bet: 600,000 users you know love the content, or the possibility of 15 million unqualified users from a major outlet?

Digging through your segmented target audience’s unique media interests can reveal high-quality second- and third-tier media outlets with lower investment costs and greater conversion rates.

Identify Your Segmented Audience’s Unique Interests and Reap the Rewards

Ready to cash in on your under-engaged fans? Get connected with a spreadsheet and a computer whiz, and get to work. For our purposes, we’ll use an example of @BudLight’s Twitter account:

#1 Extract a sample set of your followers

Seek a sample set of your followers, generally those with a lot of followers and influence. Look for the last 500 engagements between users and the brand, and include these users in a list or formula.

#2 Find the unique interest common denominators of this list

Twitter calls this list a user’s “friends list,” but every platform has a way to access a user’s group of recent engagements, be it an “interest” or a “circle.” Look into the common interests of the last five users who engaged with your brand.

#3 Calculate the percentage followed for each interest among your sample set

Use the sample set of numbers and the common interest numbers to analyze the sample set. Analyzing the @BudLight account, we calculated 10 percent interest for @BarackObama and 8 percent for @JManziel2 (Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel), meaning 10 percent of @BudLight’s fans follow Barack Obama, and 8 percent follow Johnny Manziel.

#4 Choose your benchmark to compare against

For this example, we’ll use overall number of monthly active Twitter users, which is about 240 million people. @BarackObama is followed by about 17 percent of Twitter’s monthly active users to your fictional 8 percent — a pretty good difference, right? But Johnny Manziel is followed by about .003 percent of all Twitter users and 8 percent of yours. Bingo: That’s a unique and underrepresented interest of @BudLight fans.

The unique interests of your segmented target audience represent an under-engaged market that wants your attention. And the brand that captures that attention (especially during highly publicized events, like the big game’s commercials) will have the reins on a new, active market. Once you determine the unique interests of your brand fans and the unique interests of your under-engaged fans, you can do the two things you’ve been entrusted to do: keep and nurture your brand fans and grow your reach within your under-engaged audience.