Super Bowl LII: Traditional vs. Digital Marketing

Super Bowl LII: Traditional vs. Digital Marketing

January, 24 2018

As the Super Bowl approaches, there is no shortage of talk anticipating this year’s ads. More than 40% of American households are expected to tune in! It’s no secret the market for ad time is extremely competitive during this period of highly engaged viewers. However, with last year’s ads priced at nearly $5 million for a 30-second slot, some companies are beginning to wonder if the benefits are worth the price. Will marketers begin implementing a heavier presence in the digital realm as a result of increased traditional media competition during the Super Bowl hype?

Traditional Media

Our sister agency, The PM Group, has been handling media advertising for decades and has noticed digital trends. However, despite digital’s evolution, traditional media still reigns – for companies willing to pitch in that extra dime. A recent study published by the INFORMS Marketing Science journal finds revenue increases substantially for Super Bowl advertisers. MarketWatch estimates that a full hour of the Super Bowl broadcast is advertisements, meaning they are collectively viewed more than 136 million hours, just by the end of the game. When researchers studied the sales trends for beverage companies over the course of 5 years, researchers found that heavy sports advertisers, like Budweiser, had nearly a 5% increase in sales before and after major sporting events had aired (such as March Madness and the Super Bowl).

Social Media

We know traditional media isn’t going anywhere, but how are new digital practices affecting the playing field? Researchers suggest social media may have a bigger influence when it comes to extending the shelf life of big game ads. Forbes magazine calculated that nearly 5.7 million original posts were made online within 1 hour of last year’s Super Bowl. This produced nearly 40 billion impressions while paid social impressions had a total of 5.4 billion and TV ads had 11 billion. Consecutively, the hashtags #SB, #SB51, and #Superbowl2017 compiled over 86 billion impressions by the end of the game, which consisted of 11.9 million posts. For advertisers, social media is key when top Super Bowl ad lists are generated by companies. Last year consumers spent a record 350,000 combined hours watching Super Bowl 51 ads on YouTube. Oreos is most famously known for this type of marketing campaign, after tweeting about the infamous blackout of Super Bowl XLVII. Social media during major events gives marketers a platform to experiment with while still accomplishing their goals as a brand.

Digital Media  

Although the cost of social media marketing is dramatically different than the price of TV spots, digital advertising brings a different element of value to the plate. The efficiency that digital ads provide when targeting consumers has many marketers turning to the digital playing field. Marketers can now pay to advertise to a specific subgroup within the Super Bowl audience, rather than the game’s entire viewership. Digital ads on a 30-second national spot will cost you $700,000 while the same national spot in broadcast will be around $5 million. Marketers are even able to customize multiple campaigns on various digital platforms, utilizing creative specific to the market, rather than air just one 30 second TV spot. Smaller budgets, audience customization and overall efficiency creates a better experience not only for the user, but the consumer as well.

So while traditional TV spots are booming, for now, expect to see digital presence skyrocket in the following years with brands’ Super Bowl campaigns. The digital space provides an affordable outlet to take advantage of trending campaigns surrounding major events, such as the Super Bowl. Differentiating between traditional and modern marketing strategies is key to realizing the value that lies in each. Especially as our world becomes more connected, integrating newer digital technologies into our tried-and-true marketing tactics will only allow for a more successful, holistic approach.

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