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Author: Jeff Navach

The One Super Bowl Advertising Mistake That Could Cost Millions

Posted February 9, 2017

Brands spend $5 million or more on Super Bowl ads to reach one of the largest television audiences of the year. But how many of these brands remember the whole marketing funnel? How many think that showing the ad on game day is sufficient to accomplish their goals?

Marketers and advertisers create Super Bowl ads to attract eyeballs. And they are seeking eyeballs for one primary reason: to raise awareness of their brand and acquire more customers. It’s hard to argue that the Super Bowl is one of the best vehicles for a marketer to put a brand top of mind with the largest possible audience.

However, when you consider that most Super Bowl ads are offering products and services that people are probably not buying at that moment (unless of course the game is a blowout by halftime), then brands are expecting consumers to remember the ad at a later time when they are ready to buy. So brands create better top of mind awareness than any other time of the year. But at the bottom of the funnel, where consumers are actively shopping and deciding to buy, these same brands may not be present with their messages. Many of these brands are leaving to chance whether consumers will remember the brand and the ad when they are ready to buy.

In competitive and high-intent markets like auto insurance, for example, brands should be present while consumers are comparison shopping. Being top of mind is one thing, but being present when consumers are comparing brands before purchasing is entirely another.

If brands do not actively close the deal on this heightened awareness using targeted advertising at the point of purchase, they are not at all taking advantage of the $5 million worth of eyeballs collected.

Let’s consider Coca-Cola. They spent roughly $4 billion in advertising last year. They also buy spots during the Super Bowl. But what’s more, they also put bottles of Coca-Cola at the checkout of every grocery store in the country. So when you are in line and are aware of Coca-Cola you buy when you are at the point of purchase. They’ve brought you through the marketing funnel from awareness to conversion.

With programmatic technology, the entire Internet is essentially one big point of purchase. The technology exists to target advertising to the right person and at the right time, in the right vertical—specifically at the time they are ready to buy. Placing ads in vertical search keeps brands present throughout the entire buying cycle. How many Super Bowl advertisers are also putting out ads designed for conversions while their brand awareness is the highest it will be all year?

Our programmatic technology platform enables advertisers to buy vertical search media across the Internet (think of an auto insurance quote page, or travel comparison listings). When looking at data around the Super Bowl, we’ve found that brands that do not amplify their bottom-of-the-funnel advertising are missing out on dramatically increased shopping activity and conversions. It’s like throwing bait into a lake, but not attaching it to a fishing pole.

We’ve seen Super Bowl advertisers more than double their conversion rates simply by increasing their vertical search media in the week after the Super Bowl.

The best time to focus on conversions is when your brand is top of mind. Some brands may forget that just because you’ve increased awareness, it does not necessarily mean that those people will remember to buy from you. Your Super Bowl ad is shown on your schedule. But consumers shop on theirs. To capture the full benefits of your advertising spend, you must also be present at the moment they have their credit card in hand.

The creation of a successful Super Bowl ad is an amazing thing. Distributing a brand message across one of the largest television audiences of the year can forever change a brand and elevate it to an elite group of well-regarded marketers.

Wouldn’t it be a shame if, after all of that preparation, planning, production, and huge reveal on the big day, the opportunity for an outstanding ROI was missed because that same brand wasn’t present when the buying consumer was?

Jeff Navach is the Vice President of Marketing for programmatic vertical search platform MediaAlpha.