What Marketers Can Learn From The Evolution Of Super Bowl Ads

Tablet computer with handThe Super Bowl is the priciest commercial time on TV. Over the past decade, the average rate for a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl game has increased by 76%, and this year, a 30-second spot will cost almost $ 5 million, according to Kantar Media. 

But the price isn’t the only thing that’s trending upward. Kantar Media’s research has also found that Super Bowl ads are increasingly:

  • Prevalent. The past six Super Bowls have been the most ad-saturated in history. Each has included more than 47 minutes of commercial time. During the big game on February 7, ads will take up nearly 50 minutes of the broadcast.
  • Long-form. Many Super Bowl advertisers now opt for long-form commercials. Kantar Media says that’s part of an effort to tell a deeper story and further engage viewers. In the past two games, 37% (2015) and 40% (2014) of brand ads were 60 seconds or longer, the highest shares since at least 1984. By comparison, the normal proportion of long-form ads on broadcast networks is about 6%.
  • Part of a larger social media engagement strategy. Kantar Media’s research shows that hashtags are now the most popular call-to-action mechanism. Last year, 57% of non-promo ads (34 of 60) contained a hashtag, while less than one-half had a URL. Only 5 percent of ads mentioned Facebook.

What can marketers learn from these trends?

  • Data helps you determine which investments are worthwhile. Super Bowl placement is no guarantee of success, and no one invests $ 5M+ on a whim. Your marketing campaigns need to be guided by data driven solutions. That’s the only way you can tell with certainty what works, and what doesn’t. Some brands have bowed out of Super Bowl 50. For instance, Nissan and Ford are focusing their resources elsewhere. On the other end of the spectrum, LG will be appearing for the first time, and Taco Bell will be returning after an absence of three years.
  • Engagement is key. Today’s consumers are flooded by marketing, and it’s impossible to stand out unless you can make relevant, meaningful connections. Without relevance, relationships are short, attention wanders and marketing campaigns fall flat.
  • Multi-platform use is on the rise. The evidence is mounting that people want to consume media using their own personal digital ecosystems. They’re seeking out an individualized experience. They want to control what they’re seeing, as well as when and how they’re seeing it.

Underlying ALL of this is the undeniable trend toward Individualized Marketing.  In a global survey released around the time of last year’s Super Bowl, Teradata found that nine out of ten marketers see Individualized Marketing as the future.  So it is clear:  To optimize your $ 5 –  $ 10 million television advertising investment, and extend both its real-time and long-tail reach into loyal customers and new prospects alike, your integrated marketing strategy must include digital / social marketing, insightful data management, and sophisticated analytics so you can show the return on this hefty marketing investment.  Doing so will also help you set the stage for confidently discussing your Super Bowl 2017 marketing budget. 

What are you plans for Super Bowl 50?  Share your ideas below!  

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