The Big Game (aka the Super Bowl) is coming … again. As sports fans tune in to cheer on the New England Patriots or Seattle Seahawks, plenty of viewers – including lots of search engine marketers – will be waiting to see the always-popular unveiling of new ads on YouTube as well as on NBC. A survey last year by Venables Bell & Partners found that 78 percent of US Super Bowl viewers looked forward to the commercials. According to recent data from Kantar Media, advertisers are likely spending more dollars than ever to reach this audience.
Last week, Kantar reported that total ad revenues from Super Bowl 2014 reached $331.8 million – up nearly 14 percent from $292.0 million the year before. This was higher than ad revenues for other major 2014 sporting events including the baseball World Series ($257.0 million over seven games) and the NCAA’s men’s basketball Final Four games ($182.1 million over three games). The average cost per 30-second spot also increased from $4 million to $4.2 million between Super Bowl 2013 and 2014. It is expected to hit $4.5 million in 2015.
Despite the rise in rates, advertisers still paid more to run longer ads – which are ideal for telling a compelling story. During last year’s Super Bowl, 60-second-plus placements accounted for a massive 40 percent of all paid ads during the game. This was up from 29 percent in 2013 and 27 percent in 2012. Looking at the trend over a longer timeframe, ads over 60 seconds represented just 18 percent of paid Super Bowl placements back in 2010.
More advertisers have joined the Super Bowl action over the past few years. First-time parent company advertisers rose from six to nine between 2013 and 2014 to represent 23% of advertisers during last year’s Super Bowl, and Kantar said that NBC had reported selling time to 15 first-time participants this year.
However, overall TV ad spending growth isn’t in line with Super Bowl dollars. eMarketer expects US TV ad spending to total $70.59 billion this year, representing 37.3 percent of total media ad spending. By comparison, eMarketer expects US Digital Video ad spending to total $6.99 billion in 2015, which represents just 3.7 percent of the $189.25 billion total media ad spending. While spending on television will continue to increase, growth has plateaued, and the TV channel will lose share of paid media ad spending throughout eMarketer’s forecast period to digital placements.
I’m sure that search engine marketers would love to see ad spending on the digital channel grow even faster than eMarketer’s forecast. So, they may want to read the latest YouTube case study from TriVu Media for VW’s “Wings” ad at Super Bowl 2014.
As one of the largest buyers of YouTube advertising, TriVu’s opportunity was to generate verifiable YouTube views at scale and create social media buzz for Volkswagen in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl XLVII. The campaign targeted sports, entertainment and viral videos with a message that focused on Volkswagen’s engineering core strengths.
The campaign targeted sports, entertainment and viral videos with a message that focused on Volkswagen’s engineering core strengths.
- The program produced needed scale and also uncovered a better buy strategy that greatly reduced cost-per-view.
- Premium placements on music videos on the official Bruno Mars YouTube channel were effective in drawing an audience. His existing popularity, in addition to his appearance on the Super Bowl halftime show, earned a great number of views for the campaign.
- Gaming (as a lean-forward content area) was a top-performing segment. When paired with secondary interest targeting, it appears that users who watched this content were directly aligned with VW’s core messaging and demographic targeting.
What VW Learned
TriVu over-achieved on YouTube with Volkswagen’s Super Bowl ad last year. The immediacy of the Super Bowl drew viewers away from content relatedto the upcoming Olympic Games. As a result, “Winter Sports” did notperform as well as “Red Zone”. Viral videos were reliable in terms of havinga high view-through rate, but available trending video inventory is limited.
Areas to Explore
TriVu and VW also discovered some new areas to explore. For example, “lean forward” videos, typified by “how to topic” videos performed exceptionally well. Addressing the underlying instructional or tutorial messages within these videos and applying them to other interests and topics will likely yield success in generating efficient views.
It’s worth noting that Volkswagen, which made a huge splash with its “The Force” Super Bowl spot in 2011, will be sitting out the Big Game this year. According to Advertising Age, a company spokeswoman said in an email, “Volkswagen is a great fan of the Super Bowl, and it has been a strong platform for our brand and our campaigns. However, for 2015 we have opted not to participate due to other priorities and initiatives.”
It’s also worth noting that Audi, which has been a majority owned (99.55%) subsidiary of Volkswagen Group since 1966, will be sitting out this year’s Super Bowl for the first time since 2008. According to Advertising Age, a company spokesman said via email, “While the NFL remains an important platform for reaching our consumers, we won’t be investing in the game this year.”
General Motors, Lincoln, Ford, Jaguar, Honda and Acura have also decided to hit the brakes on Super Bowl TV advertising. With the economy picking up, do you think they are all planning to spend a greater percentage of their ad budgets on the digital channel in 2015?
Latest posts by Greg Jarboe (see all)
- Recreating Viral Video Success: Squatty Potty - October 20, 2017
- Baby Boomers are the Audience Most Advertisers are Missing on YouTube - September 19, 2017
- KnowledgeVision’s Knovio 3.0 is Not Your Old School Online Video Platform - June 30, 2017
- Top 10 Super Bowl Ads for 2017 Depend on Which Metrics You Use - February 7, 2017
- Only 10% of Viewers Thought Last Year’s Super Bowl Ads Were Funny - January 17, 2017