How to Use That Super Bowl Ad Budget to Engage More People

Yossi Tarablus
Marketing Director
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Super Bowl 50 was surely a night to remember for the Broncos, Beyoncé fans, and CBS – the network sold each 30-second commercial spot for as much as $5 million, up 11% from last year’s game. But viewership actually dropped from 114.4 million to 111.9 million this year.

More Viewers Fewer Eyeballs

Fact: Between 2005 and 2015, the price of a 30-second spot ad increased by 75% as viewership jumped 33% from 86 million to 114 million. Ten years ago, if you wanted to reach as many football fans (predominantly men) at once, a Super Bowl ad was the best way to do it. Today, spending $5M on a TV ad is basically flushing your money down the toilet, which is actually, where a large number of fans are during commercial breaks.

Why? Because The Consumers Aren’t There

Well, they’re there but they’re not really there. An Accenture report from last April shows that not only traditional viewing has experienced a rapid decline, but also the people who are “watching” are not really watching the big screen – they’re watching the small screen. Approximately 87% of consumers are using their mobile devices while watching TV. And that’s exactly why you should be targeting them on mobile during the game. Media buyers often do this by targeting WiFi traffic.

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How to Target the Ones You Want

If you actually wanted to engage football fans who were watching the game, you should’ve targeted them online, which just happens to be a fraction of the price. You can do this via interest targeting on Facebook or similarly on the Google Display Network. You can also buy a specific audience programmatically through a network that uses a Data Management Platform (or DMP) to segment traffic. Matomy recently partnered with Quantcast to enable advertisers to reach very specific audiences in real time. How specific? Let’s just say that they can now target 45-year-old, New Jersey vegan football fans who are interested in yoga and knitting.

Buy the Entire Internet Instead

For online marketers who are focused on measuring every click and impression for performance, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to invest so heavily in a TV spot when you consider the alternative. An analysis presented last year showed that for the price of a 30-second spot, advertisers could have bought the entire ad space available on the digital ad exchanges for the whole game (approximately 2.5B impressions), all the Sponsored Trending on Twitter for one month or an 11-day takeover of YouTube’s homepage.

Engage Consumers on Facebook

This year, for $5 million you could’ve acquired 71 million views (users who have viewed at least 75% of the entire ad) from Facebook video ads. Yes, 71 million is less than the nearly 112 million that tuned into this year’s Super Bowl, but as an advertiser, you would’ve had the assurance that these 71 million actually watched the ad and didn’t go to the kitchen while your TV spot aired.

Today, advertisers can also add Instagram and Snapchat ads, which have surged in popularity since last year’s Super Bowl, to complete a more up-to-date media mix for reaching engaged consumers on their mobile.

Take Advantage of In-App Traffic

Just like last year, one of the commercials in 2016 advertised a mobile game app. Last year’s was Clash of Clans with Liam Neeson and this year’s mobile game ad featured megastar Arnold Schwarzenegger.

For a mobile game developer interested in acquiring engaged users at scale, $5 million can go a long way, even ending with your app on the top of the app store – and you don’t need a Super Bowl ad to achieve that.

According to Matomy’s internal mobile media team, on average in-app traffic ads will cost between $2-4 for each new install depending on the game, the OS, and the genre. So if we evaluate each install at $2.50 we can expect an estimated crowd of 2 million new downloads. It’s important to mention that when you acquire 2 million downloads in a short period of time, chances are your app will reach the top of the app stores, where you can benefit from thousands of organic downloads, just because your app is ranking so high.

Now that you know how to better spend your Super Bowl ad budget, there’s only one thing left to do: plan for next year! And in the meantime, refocus your budget towards online and mobile advertising.

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