Digital Media Influences the Traditional Buy of a Super Bowl Ad

Let’s face it, if you’re like me and an ad industry veteran, Super Bowl Sunday is like Christmas morning. I would sit, patiently watching every play of the big game until the real action happened — a commercial would air. 

Super Bowl ads shaped trends and pop culture before memes and hashtags. Don’t remember? One word. “Wassup!” (You said it in the voice too, didn’t you?) This ad technically first aired during the regular season, but the 1999 airing during the Super Bowl propelled it into fame.

This year, spots fetched up to $5.6 million per 30-second commercial. Despite the price of a Super Bowl commercial nearly doubling in just a decade, Fox sold all 77 spots. (Statista)

Some argue the value of the spots are not worth the significant price tag. In fact, for the same cost companies could get;

2 billion display ad impressions

At an average cost of $2.80 per thousand on the Google Display Network (GDN), with a budget of $5.6 million companies would receive approximately 2 billion targeted ad impressions (WordStream)

47 years of media for Google Adwords campaign

You saw that correctly. The average small business spends $10k per month in media. At $5.6 million, this would generate 2,413,793 clicks and roughly 94,627 actions over the course of the campaign (Google).

6 paid social media posts by Kim Kardashian

At a cool $910,000 per post, KK could push your product to her 144 million social media followers – 42 more million people than watched the Super Bowl. (Business Insider)

At that phenomenal cost — $186k per second — why are the commercials so important? Are they really worth their value?

In an age of commercial skipping, people are “tuning-in.”

Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV (54), did not disappoint. With 102 million viewers tuning into to see the San Francisco 49ers facing off against the Kansas City Chiefs, viewership increased 2% from 2019. (Nielsen)

It is arguably harder to find another event that is so centralized and highly buzzed about. When was the last time you watched your favorite show, only to be interrupted by a commercial and got excited about it let alone search for it in Google. In the age of streaming services and digital video recording (DVR) where commercials are scarce or skipped, audiences are tuning in to watch ads during the Super Bowl.

A 2018 survey revealed that over 78 percent of viewers see the commercials as entertainment. (Statista)

How digital advertising fuels success and complements traditional media

This years’ Super Bowl commercials scored big according to iSpot.tv. They analyzed game day digital activity across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and search engines surrounding this year’s Super Bowl ads to see what resonated online/socially. (AdAge)

Super Bowl LIV (54) Commercials Game Day Totals:

  • 6,794,306,243 TV Ad Impressions
  • 63,138,048 Earned Online Views
  • 4,115,084,637 Social Impressions

So, who won the coveted top spot for best Super bowl Commercial? Jeep’s ‘Groundhog Day’ stole the show with a digital shared voice of 14.58%.

Companies aren’t investing in 30 seconds of airtime, they are investing in the potential viral effects in digital channels, intensified by the shares and likes of social media. This combination of mass media and social media is powerful for advertisers. 

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