Are Super Bowl ads worth it?
Previous research has determined that there really isn’t a boost in sales for brands after their Super Bowl ads air. A new university study, however, finds Super Bowl ads bring immediate spikes in online searches and word-of-mouth impressions, although short-lived.
The study from University of Minnesota Carlson School exploring how Super Bowl ads impact word-of-mouth marketing found advertisers should expect to see:
- A 16 percent increase in total word-of-mouth (both online and offline conversations) the month of the game;
- A 22 percent word-of-mouth increase the week after the Super Bowl;
- A 68 percent increase in solely online word-of-mouth on the day of the Super Bowl.
Linli Xu, an assistant professor at the Carlson School, said buying a Super Bowl ad may be worth it for the buzz. “Paying big money for the commercial could help a firm reach its goal of increasing brand awareness or staying connected with its customers,” she said in a statement.
Ad inventory for 2022’s February 13 game has been virtually sold out since September, with the top price for a 30-second spot hitting a record $6.5 million. NBC was seeking $6 million per spot, a 9.1 percent increase over the last two Super Bowls.
The record rates come despite game viewership only reaching 96.4 million last year, the least-watched Super Bowl since 2007. The annual game has seen a steady decline in viewership from a record 114.4 million in 2015.
Dan Lovinger, president of ad sales and partnerships for NBCUniversal, told USA Today that the strong advertising spend reflects the healthy economy, with brands looking to advertise. This year also marks a return to more comedic and lighter creative tones two years into the pandemic, and the popularity of football that’s been helped by spectators returning to stadiums.
He said, “When you think about the NFL relative to other sports or certainly general entertainment programming, it’s really, really strong. If you’re looking to reach 100 million people, there’s only one place you can go, and that’s the Super Bowl.”
The year-over-year gains are also being spurred by the return of Hollywood studios to the list of advertisers, as well as newer categories like sports betting and cryptocurrency.
- The impact of Super Bowl ads – University of Minnesota
- Super Bowl ad sellout: NBC’s top 30-second spots selling for record $6.5 million as ‘NFL’s never been stronger’ – USA Today
- Study: 80% of Super Bowl Ads Don’t Help Sales – Communicus
- Broadcasters Anticipate Biggest NFL Ad Revenue Season Ever Following Covid Upheaval – Adweek
- Do Super Bowl Ads Really Work? – Stanford
- The Return on Investment for 2021 Super Bowl Ads – The Wall Street Journal
- The NFL has an extraordinary grip on America’s media diet – Axios
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What payback should and shouldn’t marketers expect from Super Bowl ads? How should success be measured?