The Super Bowl might have brought us excitement, but the fact that it also deliverered an unprecedented volume of eyeballs - over 114 million pairs this year - explains just why the talk around the event was as much about the game as it was about the exposure for brands.

Which also explains why this was one event worth carefully analysing when it comes to maximising marketing effort. Despite the high spend, a consumer poll by Genesis Media revealed that some 90% of respondents claimed they were not likely to buy something they saw in a Super Bowl ad, and 75% indicated they didn’t recall many Super Bowl spots from last year.

Some of this can be attributed to the fact that about 1 in 3 consumers were browsing the web via their tablet/smartphone during the big game. Thirty-five percent of those polled said they preferred online ads to TV ads, and 32% were more likely to watch an online ad if they deemed it relevant to them.

What that tells us of course, is that TV ads have a great deal of value when it comes to raising brand exposure, but the technology isn't there yet to allow the one-to-one targeting that digital enjoys.

Digital marketing is more measurable, predictable, targeted and cost effective than traditional advertising, when done right. Traditional advertising on the other hand is still the media of choice for most brands at the Super Bowl and it certainly delivers exposure.

So let’s introduce another facet to the digital vs traditional debate.

What if we meshed programmatic with what is happening on TV. The inventory could be calibrated to deliver tailored online ads to coincide with TV ads. Imagine a Budweiser ad on TV triggers an online snack ad (best enjoyed with a beer...), or a more personalised version of the TV ad is delivered online to a specific target group. If, as the survey demonstrates, 1 in 3 consumers are browsing their devises during the game, and if the online ad is scaled to be audience relevant, the impact would be strong.

Programmatic technology in itself is the direct opposite of mass brand exposure, it is all about tailoring the message and delivering it to a carefully calculated set of eye balls optimised in real-time to a specific KPI (key performance indicator). Certainly traditional media at the Super Bowl may deliver one of the most effective ways of reaching a mass audience, but this is only if the audience is the great general American population, otherwise it is akin to a shotgun blast that hits the most general demographics. As a consequence it is unable to target down to the user or sub-group level, and it looses any opportunity to strike up a more personalised customer relationship, or, more importantly hone in on those customers that matter most to the brand.

Furthermore a brand can launch a massive online marketing campaign for less than the cost of a single 30 second Super Bowl TV ad - estimated at $4.5 million. It is worth asking what that amount would buy through RTB? Based on a CPM of roughly $2 that would have delivered 2.25 billion impressions, with approximately 1 billion active views (actually seen). If you’re in retail and apply some industry standard metrics such as a CTR (click through rate) of 0.2% and a conversion rate of 5% that would have delivered 225,000 sales. While the cap on this is the actual number of people who are in the market to buy, it begs the question, how much value did the Super Bowl ad drive and could the money have been better spent?

However, given the increase in people using devices whilst watching the game, we could take this one step further. What if brands could prepare for and even increase the opportunity of jumping on unscheduled events? If a player is injured which triggers a private insurance ad, when a touch down is scored and a champagne ad is delivered, or when an intercept is made and a vitamin supplement ad is served.

Real time marketing for major brands rose at this year’s Super Bowl, and if marketers added programmatic technology into the mix we could have a real game-changer.

Applying programmatic would also mean that the generally thorny issue of blending traditional and digital media could become synergistic, as marketers could more readily target individuals, determine how ads impact purchase behaviour, and turn the media campaigns into more fluid and exciting events, as unpredictable as the game itself and therefore much more memorable and impactful.


By Nick Wild, director of PRGRMTK

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