Is Super Bowl Advertising Money Wisely Spent?
By Tamara Gaffney, senior marketing manager, Adobe Digital Index -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/30/2013 2:28:44 PM
Marketers, however, think of it as the Oscars of advertising. We run into the room when the commercials start and admittedly, some of us even tune out when the football action resumes.
For marketers, it's our opportunity to be inspired by the world's best creative talent. Most importantly, it's our moment to truly entertain, inspire and emotionally touch consumers on one of the biggest TV events of the year.
In the back of our minds, however, a huge question looms.
Is this the best we can do as marketers? Should we still be spending that much money on a seemingly untargeted and untrackable sports event?
Digital marketers are held to a higher standard nowadays. Measurement, targeting and the ability to deliver relevant advertising through digital media channels have changed the game. Simply tracking marketing budget ROI via focus groups and awareness studies is insufficient for today's CMO.
Interaction between online and offline media is still complex, but it's imperative to analyze and optimize multiple media in order to build effective advertising campaigns.
The Adobe Digital Index team performed two types of analysis to understand: (1) the consumption patterns of sports-related content across devices; and (2) how Web traffic is impacted by television advertising around the Super Bowl.
Mobile Video Viewing Will Double on Super Bowl Sunday
The Digital Index team analyzed 1.4 billion video starts during 10 large sporting events in 2012 and compared them to typical, non-event days. Viewers demonstrated an increasing propensity to check video from their mobile phones and an even larger desire to watch video from tablets during these special sporting events.
These data points are compelling, but most striking is the percentage of online videos accessed by tablet and mobile phones, reaching 16% on a day with a major sporting event -- a 100% increase compared to a typical day in sports.
Viewership levels of this magnitude are significant and demonstrate the need for media websites to continue to invest in usability, design and optimization of mobile content.
For advertisers, it begs a question: Should I supplement my Super Bowl ad spend with online video to reach a more affluent and targeted audience with more measurable results? Or if I can't afford America's most expensive 30 seconds of airtime ($3.8 billion in 2013), can I take advantage of the event in other ways online? Digital Index data suggests that marketers should be answering yes, and yes.
Super Bowl advertisers should consider the mobile video consumption trend to supplement their television expenditure with incremental online video advertising. Advertisers looking for more targeted vehicles, or who cannot afford the Super Bowl premium, can tap into this marketing moment online and capitalize on the digital channel's great targeting, low CPMs and affluent audience.
We know that mobile advertising is still complex, but the prices remain relatively low while the audience is growing and is proven to spend more.
U.S. advertisers spent $180 billion in 2012, but directed only 2% of that spend into mobile advertising, according to the eMarketer Worldwide Ad Spending Forecast.
In 2012, more and more brands launched Super Bowl videos online before the game. The data shows that traffic for advertisers peaked much earlier in the cycle prior to last year's game. The week following the Super Bowl, however, saw a lower lift of page views -- 12% in 2012 vs. 15% in 2011 -- and only 12% more visits in 2012 vs. 23% in 2011. These findings indicate that the previews were more likely to pull traffic forward than increase the overall impact.
Clearly, optimizing the digital returns from Super Bowl advertising is still a work in progress.
Many advertising conversations revolve around the tradeoffs between digital and traditional advertising, when in fact, the most powerful formula comes from the combination of them. As media companies expand their digital content and ad insertion capabilities, especially in the areas of video and mobile, and as advertisers dial in the magic formula between online and offline media spend, it becomes increasingly clear that we can no longer think in terms of one versus the other. The marriage of digital and traditional media will become the ultimate solution and will drive unprecedented results.
Will Super Bowl advertisers be able to dial in the previews and extend the post-Super Bowl bump this year? Will they incorporate online and offline campaigns more effectively and improve the effectiveness of their Super Bowl ad spend? Will advertisers get their money's worth?
A lot of these questions will be topics of discussion after Feb. 3.
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