You may not have been able to fork out the $5 million to pay for a 30 second TV spot during this year’s Super Bowl, but there are some important advertising lessons you can learn from the companies that decided to craft commercials for the big event.

There are very few events that pull in as many viewers as the Super Bowl and now more than ever, marketers are treating the game as a stage to highlight their brands products or services. However, recent articles are questioning whether or not these businesses are generating enough leads to balance out the cost of purchasing these TV spots.

The marketers for these large companies have to tackle the same question that many small business owners have to ask themselves each time they spend money on advertising, which is “How will my advertising spend generate more leads for my business?”

The advertising during this year’s Super Bowl offer some important insights to this question that business owners, creative agencies, and marketers can’t afford to miss out on.

Creating a Bigger Picture with Digital Advertising

Imagine trying to justify creating one piece of content and asking your marketing director for $5 million to promote it for 30 seconds. This isn’t exactly an easy sell, but today’s marketers looking to capitalize on Super Bowl air time have found a way to make that one piece of content live longer than a 30-second commercial. The solution – digital advertising.

Because of digital advertising, the Super Bowl commercials we know and love no longer act as the only form of content promotion for a business. In a recent article by, it explains that these television advertisements are just one piece in a bigger picture.

“The ads themselves take a backseat of sorts, working as part of a bigger campaign born online that that gathers momentum and awareness in the build-up to the match.”

This strategy was prevalent during the lead up to last year’s Super Bowl with Procter & Gamble’s “Like a Girl” campaign. The company pushed out the advertisement online beforehand and used the air time during the Super Bowl as the campaign’s conclusion. During the advertisement’s life online, it had already gained more than 80 million views worldwide before its debut during the game. It also generated the most social buzz during the game itself.

Other companies looked to Procter & Gamble’s successful strategy and implemented their own advertising campaigns before this year’s game. Honda’s singing sheep video has been online for days, while BMW, Marmot, and Verizon have all adopted similar strategies to promote their content. The Iab article explains:

“It’s no longer enough for advertisers to pay for a slot and strong creative to have a good Super Bowl; there’s more obligation to extend the campaign well beyond the event itself.”

The Future of Big Event Ad Spending

The ad spending for future Super Bowls and other big events are changing. The advertising attraction for these big events used to be their ability to reach a massive audience. While these events still reach a massive audience, the evolution of digital advertising not only offers similar reach, but marketers have realized that blanketing content to a mass audience isn’t always the best form of advertising.

The article points out some interesting statistics that point out the capabilities of digital advertising to reach a similar audience as big event at a fraction of the price. Let’s look at Super Bowl 50 as an example.

Super Bowl 50 Statistics

  • The predicted viewership of Super Bowl 50 was 115 million people.
  • $5 Million – the price of a 30-second Super Bowl ad

Digital Advertising Alternatives

  • It would cost $1.9 million to run an ad programmatically across premium sport sites every Monday night for the duration of the football season.
  • There are 13 million weekly viewers that tune into watch Monday Night Football.
  • In 2015 there were 17 Monday Night Football games. That equals a reach of 221 million views over the course of one season.

The point of these stats is to show that what was once the ultimate stage to reach a huge number of people is now joined by other platforms which have the capability to reach just as many people. According to Facebook, there are 1.04 billion daily active users on the platform. The possibility to reach a huge number of people is now in the hands of businesses of any size.

Because of resources like digital advertising and social media, marketers have shifted their focus from reaching the max amount of people to creating a unique experience for each person. Scott McLean, co-founder of the consultancy The Intelligent Marketing Institute, explains how the shift has occurred.

“As the advertising costs soar, not just for the 30 second slot but for the entire campaign, then there will have to be a rigorous focus on the end-to-end audience engagement journey. How will all the activities, including the ad, be structured to take the audience on a buying journey?”

How Can You Relate?

So why should this matter to you if you don’t have any plans to spend millions of dollars on an advertising campaign with air time during one of the most popular sporting events in the world? Because the trends highlighted on the world’s biggest stage create opportunities to see how the industry is changing.

Let’s sum up this article to hopefully make it a little bit clearer.

  • Content should live longer than a 30-commercial. It should be promoted and gain the attention of a valuable audience leading up to highly viewed event.
  • Once it’s viewed, it should create intention to be shared through social platforms and live on for continued viewing.
  • Don’t focus only on reach. Instead, create a digital advertising campaign that create an easy buyers journey.
  • Define your target audience to effectively manage your advertising budget. Find out who is going to buy your product and spend money talking to those individuals.

As we say goodbye to another season of football, we no longer have to rely on just our memories to recall our favorite commercials or halftime performances. With digital advertising, the content from this year’s Super Bowl will live on as long we continue to like and share our favorite moments.

If you’d like to learn more about digital advertising and how we can help you promote your business to the right customers, make sure and contact us anytime.