How the Web Brought New Economics to Super Bowl Advertising

Advertising during the Super Bowl is expensive. It’s the price you pay for an audience of 100 million, many just as interested in the ads as the game itself.

But would it surprise to know that Super Bowl ads from 2011 have been watched more than 360 million times — on the web? In 2012, we estimate that number will be a half billion.
For decades, the Super Bowl has been the most celebrated event in sports, with much anticipation for US consumers. The media is abuzz with team rankings, talk shows featuring QBs and coaches, stats on every yard of the game, and expert commentators with projections on their favorite picks.

And then there are the Super Bowl advertisers who, for the most part, dole out upwards of $3 million on top of the millions they spend on the creative months before the game. All for a mere 30-second slot in front of approximately 100 million people watching the Super Bowl on TV (who are growing at roughly 3 percent annually).

While advertisers and their agencies are constantly assessing and justifying their commitment for a major marketing investment, one wonders if the recurring debate and the scrutiny from the CMO’s office would somehow subside if buyers could substantially extend the reach and frequency of the creative beyond the scope of the 30-second window during the game. Diligent media buyers need look no further than online, where social sharing of Super Bowl ads, both pre and post-game, could significantly alter the economics of such high-stakes advertising.

The new water-cooler
While Super Bowl advertising on TV hasn’t really changed all that much over the years, a lot has changed about the way people talk about their favorite Super Bowl advertisements after the game. According to Visible Measures’ Super Bowl Ad Syndication Research for the past three years (a study of over 150 Super Bowl ads in 2009, 2010, and 2011, conducted in partnership with YouTube), people watched Super Bowl ads and associated creative executions over a hundred million times in four weeks post game each of the last three years.

Surprisingly, Super Bowl ads passed around on the web now account for about the same level of reach as the actual game. The difference is that the viewing behavior is time-shifted over four weeks post-game. In particular, about 30% of the total viewership across all Super Bowl ads syndicated online comes from social sharing of video ad clips.

What used to be the water cooler conversation on Monday morning after the game has in fact shifted to an equivalent consumer behavior that amounts to sharing (copying and uploading, sharing, commenting, blogging, spoofing) the ad and related social behaviors on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and hundreds of other video-sharing destinations around the Web.

Read More at: AdAge