Super Bowl Ads Call For Big Game Analytics

george-musi-ddt“Data Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by George Musi, Head of Cross-Platform Analytics at DG MediaMind.

The Super Bowl, which will air Feb 3rd, draws the year’s largest TV audience. Last year’s game set a new record for the most-viewed TV program in history, drawing 111.3 million viewers across the U.S. and tens of millions more around the world.

The massive, real-time audience gives brand marketers unparalleled opportunity to reach a broad cross-section of the U.S. population simultaneously, a rare opportunity in light of media fragmentation. Furthermore, a significant part of that audience will tune in for the commercials — in some cases as much as for the game itself. An appealing venue for brand marketers? Indeed.

This year, advertisers are paying an average cost of $4 million (a record high) for 30 seconds of airtime. Companies will pay millions more to film and produce their commercials, increasing total investment. That means the Super Bowl represents perhaps the biggest marketing investment an advertiser may make in a single media property all year.

In an era of greater advertising accountability, where every dollar is under heavy scrutiny (particularly by the CEO), it is critical for brand marketers (even more seasoned TV advertisers) to justify the huge marketing investment.

Ultimately, each marketer will define success of their Super Bowl ads relative to its advertising objectives and role for their brand and business, which might include many data points, from raising awareness to incremental sales, revenue, and profits.

Although there are different lenses (or many different indices) that can be used to evaluate the advertising impact, the key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics that are commonly used are as follows:

Media Measurements

  • Media Metrics
    • TV, Online & Cross-platform Impressions, Reach, Frequency, GRP
  • Brand Metrics
    • Awareness
    • Message Recall & Association
    • AttitudesFavorability
    • Consideration
    • Purchase Intent
    • Trial, Repeat Purchase or Brand Switching
    • Preference
    • Likeability
  • Social Media Metrics
    • Social (Brand, Product & Commercial) Mention Reach, Passion & Frequency
    • Buzz Generation
    • Chatter / Comments
    • Consumer Engagement & Activation
    • Reactions
    • Emotional Response
    • Followers
    • Favorites
    • Social Bookmarks
    • # of Video Downloads
    • YouTube Views & Ratings
    • Facebook Likes/Fans/Friends
    • Twitter Followers & Mentions
    • Tweets (TPS -Tweets Per Second), Including Celebrity Tweets
    • Tweeter Conversations – Reach, Frequency & Velocity
    • Google+
    • Pins
    • Tumblr Posts
    • Tags
    • Shares (Amplification Rate)
    • Stumble
    • Reddit
    • And more KPIs
  • Action Metrics
    • Clicks
    • Web Traffic
    • Brand Searches
    • Lead Generation or Long-Tail
    • Sales, Revenue & Profits
    • Direct Response

We should recognize the potential power (and important role) of social media and online video (which are increasingly becoming an integral part of the Super Bowl marketing mix), and no longer only rely on the historical bias of measuring big game ads mostly by media metrics (reach, GRP’s and Nielsen ratings) and old-school methodologies (panels, surveys and polls) with their associated cognitive biases.

It’s a whole different measurement game, because of the availability of new technology (think Second Screen), big data analytics, and a plethora of metrics that offer the ability for deep dive and quantitative analysis of the Super Bowl ads. Brand marketers (and their agencies) will have to continue to adjust (and extend) their measurement tactics as their Super Bowl campaigns evolve, balancing the relationships between traditional and new/emerging data, analytics and metrics (they are not created equal), to comprehensively evaluate the effectiveness and impact of their Super Bowl ads on target consumers. However, don’t expect it all to get figured out anytime in the near future. Like most other measurement questions, I don’t think that there is going to be one standard way to determine the overall effectiveness and ROI of Super Bowl advertising.

In the end, Super Bowl spots will need to meet two distinct measurement requirements – one measurable based on traditional TV scoring, and another based on unique dynamics (and a far more complicated mix) of cross-platform paid, owned and earned metrics (before, during, and after the game). To make the most out of their Super Bowl commercial videos, brand marketers should look at the whole picture, which means measuring and quantifying the total impact effect (and full return) of the Super Bowl video campaign, not only game-day impact.

Taken together, this multivariate approach provides a comprehensive measure of a Super Bowl ad’s effectiveness, which can be compared against other (proprietary) databases to assess relative, as well as absolute, effectiveness.

Advertisers can leverage these insights to guide strategic and tactical (pre-, in- and post-game) planning decisions toward improving Super Bowl paid, owned and earned marketing performance for years to come and to inform campaigns for other major live events such as the Olympics, Academy Awards, and March Madness.

Follow DG MediaMind (@DGitNetwork) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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1 Comment

  1. George, great article. I work at Convertro, a big data analytics and optimization company that many advertisers use to see the results of their TV advertising, along with all other channels including social. I think that ultimately, no matter how you measure it, it all comes down to results and ROI. Traditional metrics like audience, influence, etc. exist as a proxy to estimate results when there is no other way to do it. If you can track the path customers take as they interact with your advertising across all channels and devices, however, you can directly see their behavior and see the results.

    You are also correct that brand metrics are still used by many. This is mainly because some results take time to manifest. A customer that sees a TV ad for a car, for example, may remember the brand and the emotions, but may not purchase that car for a long period of time. And they will undoubtedly interact with more of the car company’s marketing across many more channels. So advertisers try to use brand metrics to perdict this. But with the right systems in place, you can still see that eventual purchase and you can assign a value or credit to each piece of advertising that eventually led them to it. And the more data we collect, the better we get at perdicting this behavior and these effects directly. The technical muscle exists today to do this, and this is causing a revolution in traditional marketing measurements.

    It is exciting to be at the forefront of the new data-driven world where results are all that matter, and I appreciate your recognition of the changes going on. I perdict that in the superbowls to come we will be talking about results and ROI much more, and using that as the way to know who really had the best superbowl ad.