Wednesday, February 01, 2017

What Digital Marketing can learn from Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl Week is upon us, and in addition to the biggest sporting event in American Culture comes the day that the advertising industry showcases it’s best, most amusing, most innovative, and most importantly, deep-pocketed, creative.

Advertisers will shell out on average $5 million for a 30 second spot. Anticipated reach, by ratings is 100,000,000 people, which results in a $50 CPM. By contrast, a digital ad campaign, leveraging video assets in rich-media banners, averages roughly a $10 CPM.

Does this mean that a Super Bowl ad spot is 500% more effective than running the same video spot in a banner, adjacent to digital content?

Marketers, time and time again, answer “yes” to this question, which introduces the fundamental flaw with digital advertising as it currently exists. Engagement is much lower with content adjacent to a reader’s desired content (a banner sitting next to an ESPN article), primarily because a reader is trying to avoid the banner creative in order to consume the article she clicked toward in the first place. By contrast, the Super Bowl holds its audience fully captive to the ad spots played between content presentation, and, uniquely differentiated for the Super Bowl, the audience actually anticipates and absorbs the commercial content. Easy to see why marketers are willing to pay 5x more per view for Super Bowl Commercial than for a video banner ad.

Furthermore, an advertiser in the Super Bowl will generate significant amount of earned media, in the way of Youtube views of the commercial, buzz across social media, coverage (if they’re lucky) in trades and on Good Morning America, as well as the prestige of having run a commercial in the Super Bowl and being associated with other “blue chip” brands with the marketing gusto that a Super Bowl commercial implies.

The main takeaway, for digital marketing, from these observations is that the future of digital marketing is video. While I cited a $10 CPM for views of in-banner video creative, other video executions such as pre-roll and content interstitials, garner a CPM north of $50 and is competitive with a Super Bowl Ad, since these also have a captive audience, and in many instances, secure brand exclusivity which carries a premium. With broadband internet access expanding exponentially, publishers and platforms will look to open up any and all video inventory possible. Banners are on the way out.

The Super Bowl is indeed a unicorn-type advertising environment, with engagement levels unparalleled by any other event or medium, but the rest of the digital media space isn’t too far behind in understanding that deep engagement with video assets is the most valuable virtual interaction a consumer can have with a brand. CPMs are already neck and neck between many digital vide ad formats, and Super Bowl TV spots, and publishers/platforms will continue to grow out this inventory and opportunities for brands to run their video spots.

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