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Twitter got real this super bowl. I’m not talking, “Whoa tons of Super Bowl ads used hashtags!” but a revolution of real time marketing.

And until Sunday’s Super Bowl game and blackout, “real time” was pretty much just another overhyped fad to most, an empty buzzword. But this game was a turning point, a pivotal application of real real time by some of the biggest brands in the world. This year there was way less of the “let’s blow this thing out” or “let’s create the next Budweiser frogs” type of agency BS. For the first time, brands reacted quickly — in a relevant and authentic way.

During the blackout, Audi jokingly Tweeted:

Tide posted a meme-looking image about it’s stain cleaning power. Pepsi led a real time vote on Twitter during the post-game to capture crowd opinion on the highlights (Beyonce clearly won). Volkswagen cleverly drove home the point by telling Twitter fans:

Jim Cooper, the Executive Editor of Adweek, told me yesterday, “The most important marketing associated with Super Bowl XLVII won’t be any of the $3.8 million :30 spots, but rather Oreo’s Twitter play during the game’s unfortunate blackout.”

360i, the agency behind Oreo, shed some light on the viral Tweet. Sarah Hofstetter, President of 360i, commented to me about the event:

Oreo has demonstrated its ability to be a first mover in the digital space – this post shared in real-time was a great example of that. While we may not have anticipated the power outage, we were prepared with a team of social media experts in our ‘command center’ ready to act in a moment’s notice.

Cooper added, “The remarkably nimble real time response, which drew massive social recognition and buzz, cost brands very little, but very likely altered the gyroscope on real time marketing forever.”’

Our marketing gyroscope — or the way we measure and orient ourselves around real time marketing — isn’t totally clear yet. Why? Because many of the concrete success metrics around real time marketing and real time crowd involvement have yet to be discovered.

Gary Vaynerchuck, CEO and founder of Vayner Media, put it like this: “The old, stodgy way of measuring impressions is done. It’s about being nimble and being real. And learning how to the be the brand that breaks the breaking news.”

Darren Rovell of ESPN and ABC’s Sports Business agreed, telling me, “We are at the very beginning of this idea of live, spontaneous audience response, and it’s clear that mining this data will lead to real value one day.” But the potential for value is huge — in providing a new way to conduct market research from social reactions, in creating more useful ad targeting metrics, and in facilitating new R&D for better ideas.

The importance of real time Web experiences is going to grow. Vaynerchuck is calling this our “watershed moment.” CNN and cable news had one of these watershed moments about 21 years ago during the Gulf War. And we marketing and tech people should learn from it. I was too young to remember but one writer from the Arizona Republic said: “[It was the first time that] television had the ability to transmit stories same day — same moment — straight into America’s living rooms, and it was a boom time for broadcast journalism.”

The idea of “same day, same moment” information through television was cool, but that was over two decades ago. Darren Rovell, who is behind one of the most respected sports business Twitter accounts (@darrenrovell) says it best: “We now have the ability to poll or hear from large amounts of people as something is happening.” Crowd reaction to our content is immediate.

The brands and publishers who work closely with their social media teams will be the ones who win. They will win with the best content, the best conversation, and by getting the truest, real time reaction from the crowd.

It took just four minutes for a brand to take out an ad against “power outage” according to the @TwitterAds account. Let’s make it seconds next year. Or better yet, as my team says, let’s make it milliseconds.

[Main Image via Fox59]