The results are in: people love Super Bowl commercials. Even 77 of them. That’s how many spots were sold during Super Bowl LIV earlier this month, but are these advertising dollars being spent wisely?
With more ways to access content than ever before, consumers have a lot of options, but they’re also being pulled in many directions. Like a rubber doll whose arms are being pulled ten times the length of its body, consumers are tugged from all sides. After experiencing print media, as well as TV, radio, social media, and traditional media like billboards, consumer’s heads can be left spinning.
Super Bowl ads are a classic example of mass media marketing: a sophisticated, stylized piece of creative that casts a wide net across the nation (and the world). Because nearly everyone is watching the game, Super Bowl ads are aimed at a broad audience, as opposed to segmented marketing that you’d find in a media mix marketing campaign or a targeted campaign on social media, for example.
Which doesn’t mean Super Bowl ads are not effective. It simply means they require a broader appeal, and will inevitably be judged less on sales and more on brand recognition. This year we saw an increase in the number of advertisers during the Super Bowl, a sign that the game is still an attractive property for brands.
Shorter Super Bowl ads are proving effective
Many people who watched Super Bowl LIV came away with a feeling that there had been fewer ad spots, but actually the number of advertisers increased. Why didn’t it seem like it? It may have been an increase in short ads, which have proven effective. According to Hubspot, ads under 30 seconds have been more effective at increasing brand awareness. Plus they apparently don’t feel as much like an ad. For Super Bowl LIV, one quarter of all ad slots were filled with commercials that ran between five and 20 seconds. One media expert believes shorter Super Bowl ads have an impact on brand growth long-term.
“The shorter ad spot is not just cheaper, but done right it can be more memorable and extend brand awareness long-term, beyond just the Sunday and Monday morning bump,” says Alex Peterson of the Marketing Institute.
With the growth of shorter ads during the Super Bowl, it’s clear that more advertisers are choosing to take part in the spectacle, even if it’s for a shorter time.
What’s the Goal? Brand Awareness
As we’ve pointed out in a previous analysis of Super Bowl ads, the only real measure of the effectiveness of a Super Bowl advertisement is brand awareness. Studies vary, showing some brands achieving 40 or even 50 percent increases in brand awareness after an ad on Super Bowl Sunday, and others getting a modest nudge of less than seven percent, according to Neilsen.
But for national and regional brands, and even some emerging brands, a massively popular event like the Super Bowl is an opportunity to step out onto the stage. A well-conceived ad can keep your brand in the minds and on the tongues of consumers for days and weeks, even months.
Four Facts About Super Bowl Advertising vs. Digital Marketing
- For Super Bowl LIV, the top 30-second spot was sold for $5.6 million. For that same price, an advertiser could get two million paid clicks in Amazon search results, get one million Instagram impressions, or achieve one million impressions on Google Ads for a typical keyword.
- Advertising inventory was sold out for Super Bowl LIV by Thanksgiving 2019, the second-earliest all Super Bowl ads have been snatched up. This exclusivity drives the price high, making it more difficult to assess the real value of the ad placements.
- More than fifty minutes of the Super Bowl broadcast is commercials, which means your ads are being served next to many other advertisers, even your competitors.
- According to Unruly, one in five Super Bowl watchers do not typically view TV. This large segment of the audience is unlikely to be swayed by TV advertising.
PAID SEARCH ADVERTISING
One of the most affordable methods of advertising are paid search ads, which run at the top of search results pages on websites like Google and Bing. These ads are delivered when a user searches for a phrase that your campaign is targetting. That means the leads that come through paid search ads are qualified. A well-executed search campaign can attract significant traffic to your website or ecommerce store.