What brands are doing to get ROI with Super Bowl 51

The Super Bowl is considered the biggest day in advertising, where brands can potentially reach more than 100 million viewers. It’s one of the rare moments when “people really want to see the ads, they’re not skipping over them, they’re watching them in real time and engaged.”

Moreover, Super Bowl commercials are viewed by a growing international audience. 

Source: YouTube
Source: YouTube

But with the climbing prices for TV spots during the Super Bowl, can brands justify their spending?


The challenges

A study found that nearly 8 out of 10 Super Bowl fans watch the ads for entertainment, and another research showed that less than 1% of fans watch to influence any kind of purchasing

Ads keep getting more expensive to buy
Ads keep getting more expensive to buy

The average production cost for a Super Bowl ad in recent years hovered over the $1 million mark, while the average cost of broadcasting it is $5 million. 

Against that backdrop is this year’s NFL TV ratings drop by an average of 8%. Nonetheless, many said this could be due to the US presidential election coverage. 


The “drumbeat” approach

Brands tend to spend an additional budget (extra 25% or more) on promoting the ads, like some sort of pre-ad advertisement.

Social media platforms “have caught on and have monetized all the extensions around the Super Bowl.” Advertisers wishing to build pre-game excitement mean big wins for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and certainly Google, who runs search and display ads. 

Thanks to the trend of releasing TV spots early or teasers on YouTube, the platform reported a 200% growth in the share of Super Bowl ads before game day from 2008 to 2016.

Companies also wish to get earned media through various PR tactics, such as giving exclusive previews to media companies.


Live videos for higher engagement

Wix – a cloud based web development platform – launched their teaser ads on YouTube Live and Facebook Live.

The company wants to get ready for those who watch the game through online channels rather than TV, but insists the live platforms are only small ingredients of the whole meal.

Another advertiser to capitalise on the growth of live platforms is Hyundai, whose Super Bowl objectives are to “win ad meter, and lift brand awareness numbers.”

The automaker will film and air a 90-second live documentary-style ad during the first commercial break.

Teaser ad. Source: Hyundai
Teaser ad. Source: Hyundai

Snickers is also airing a live 30-second ad, supported by streams of live content such as behind-the-scenes footage from social influencers in the lead up to Super Bowl.


Lack of call-to-actions?

Some have pointed out the lack of action-oriented objectives for Super Bowl ads. Advertisers seem to only show ads without asking viewers to do anything. 

Source: Salesforce
Source: Salesforce

Pre-game ads on YouTube tend to drive more conversions. Hence, brands can see a spike in subscriptions during February, often accounting for nearly 30% of the annual new subscriber number.

Turbo Tax, for instance, was adept at keeping the momentum going before, during and beyond their Super Bowl ad:

  • Social media war room on game day to engage in real-time conversations
  • Giveaways to get people excited
  • Showing the ad online post-game to drive website traffic.

Follow her on Twitter: @LinhContent