YouGov BrandIndex surveyed consumers in both early January and for the three days following this year’s Super Bowl and found that, while Super Bowl ad campaigns generated both “Buzz” and some “Word of Mouth” for brands, changes in a “Purchase Consideration” category were largely negligible, as reported in Ad Age.
- In terms of building buzz, brands including the NFL, Avocados From Mexico, Skittles, T-Mobile and Bai lead the pack with statistically significant lift. Word of mouth saw smaller showings with just the NFL, Busch and Bai seeing jumps. No major marketer made noteworthy gains in purchase consideration. YouGov BrandIndex surveys 4,500 U.S. internet users daily from different segments of the population.
- A separate report in Search Engine Land pointed to Quantcast data that suggested Super Bowl ads teased early online saw bigger search lifts than actual game day TV spots. With one exception, no brand saw as significant a lift on game day as they did for digital teaser runs.
It’s established that Super Bowl campaigns are awareness buys as much as anything given the consistently massive audience the big game attracts. But for marketers who put down $5 million for 30-second TV spots this year, low if not completely negligible gains in purchase consideration are still likely to disappoint. While ratings were strong for Super Bowl LI — there was a slight dip from 2016’s championship — the NFL overall had a shakier season in terms of viewers, which, in turn, shook some advertisers’ confidence.
As a trend toward cord-cutting shows few signs of slowing, some brands might start to reconsider spending massive budgets on TV ad campaigns that don’t necessarily translate to new customers or anything beyond next-day chatter.
That’s not to say Super Bowl advertising is going anywhere — it’s almost as much a part of the event as the on-field play itself — but more expensive price tags on TV media placements don’t make much sense if measurable returns remain low. The Search Engine Land report underscores how digital is growing to be just as critical a component to marketing around the big game as the famed TV slots.
Many of the brands that did see strong word of mouth and lift after the game had robust digital components. Mr. Clean, for example, leveraged Twitter to smartly comment on other brands’ spots during the game and even engaged in a bit of crosstalk with other P&G properties. Avocados from Mexico, a highlight in YouGov BrandIndex’s report, built an interactive virtual phone around its secret society-themed ad and #AvoSecrets hashtag.