Sunday, February 12, 2017

Super Bowl Ads and Digital Marketing

We all know Super Bowl ads are big business. Last year USA Today released an infographic showing just how big. Since 1967, when a 30-second commercial cost $42,000, the cost for one Super Bowl ad had skyrocketed to $5 million--or, as USA Today noted, $166,666 per second.

This year, according to Variety (reported on SI), FOX charged brands between $5 million and $5.5 million for 30-second ads. "For comparison," SI notes, "the average price of a 30-second ad during Game 7 of this year’s historic World Series was just over $500,000. The price for a similar spot during the 2016 Oscars cost about $2 million."

This is just the cost to run the ads. A splashy ad also requires money for production and and promotion. Yes, increasingly, brands are promoting the promotions:

"In fact, one marketing executive told The New York Times that it's common for advertisers to spend an additional 25% or more of the cost of their commercial slot just on promoting the ad in the lead-up to the Super Bowl" (Source: Fortune).

With so much cash going to production, promotion, and air time, it's no wonder brands attempted to get more mileage this year by releasing ads and teasers early online. As Search Engine Land reports, of the five brands that released early ads, all saw major search traffic lifts before the game, yet only one saw a bigger lift after the game. In other words, according to this one metric, search volume, the online ads and teasers outperformed the Super Bowl ads themselves.

How important is search volume?

Super Bowl ads are expensive for a simple reason: The game attracts the largest television audience each year. 111.3 million people watched the game this year in the United States, slightly down from the two previous years. The only comparable audience is online.

We like how Jenny Servis, a Vice President of Marketing for SnapRetail, answered the question in a Forbes article from 2015: "Consumers have too many choices these days and they have to be constantly reminded that you exist. The best way to reach them is where they spend a good bit of time...online."

Next year, pre-Super Bowl ads and teasers will likely become the norm. The online community is to vast to ignore--and it must be courted, specifically, online.

A still from Snickers Super Bowl teaser starring Adam Driver, which the brand promoted as a "live" commercial [Photo Source]

The Importance of a Viable Online Presence 

Whether you are a small online business or a local brick-and-mortar shop, you need to create a viable online presence. On the Internet, everyday is the Super Bowl--millions and millions of people browsing and shopping, and, let's face it, living their lives, online.

Now, traditional marketing is not dead--not by any means. Search Engine Land noted an interesting fact in its article about the online ads and teasers: "The two advertisers that released teasers online — Mr. Clean and Snickers — saw the greatest post-game lifts in brand search."

So a combination of online advertising and a television presence seems to have worked best for this year's brands.

But the fundamental lesson here is simple: A successful marketing strategy requires an online presence.

Should You Outsource Your Digital Marketing 

In our experience, many smaller businesses neglect online marketing in favor of traditional marketing.

Marketing is not an either/or equation. As brands like Mr. Clean and Snickers show, a solid marketing effort can include both traditional and online marketing.

However, there is a crucial difference between traditional and online marketing: cost. A Super Bowl ad spot costs up to $5.5 million.

Outsourcing your marketing to a digital marketing firm is a relatively inexpensive business cost with a high ROI--a number which should be easily quantified (if not, your digital marketing company is not doing its work).

Outsourcing digital marketing, most businesses ensure their website is visible on Google; optimization attracts more traffic to their site; increased traffic often translates to increased profits.

For many small businesses marketing, online or traditional, is an undisciplined, scattershot effort. Outsourcing marketing to a reputable firm guarantees a calculated effort, which is often the determinant of success. This is evident in this year's Super Bowl ad winners--Mr. Clean and Snickers, two famous brands, leveraged online audiences strategically to boost the performance of their Super Bowl ads.

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