We get all excited about Super Bowl ads this time of the year. The creativity! The engagement! The millions and millions of dollars each one of those commercials represent! And the big fat flops! Every commercial a huge risk!
What’s not to like?
Nothing much. For the online video world though, game day is hardly the most interesting time at all.
Before the game maybe. After, certainly.
Unruly, the global platform provider for social video advertising with U.S. offices in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles (and also San Francisco, whose team may actually be involved in the Super Bowl) released its Super Bowl Social Video Playbook that demonstrates how online video is an extraordinary message extender. That’s a good thing to know if you’re plunking down $4 million for a commercial in the game.
The Playbook is a fun document and a mini-debunker. Based on stats from Unruly’s Viral Video Chart, it that points out that:
-- 75% of the last year’s top 20 shared Super Bowl ads actually launched before the game day. (Wow! That many?)
-- 55% of the shares of Super Bowl ads happened a month or more after the game.
--92% of the total shares of Super Bowl 2012 ads came from the top 20 ads. (While this says it’s a great thing to make a share-worthy ad, it seems to suggest to me that most advertisers kind of waste a great, expensive opportunity.)
--And as proof of the explosive popularity of online video, the number of shares rose 129% from 2011 to 2012.
--The most shared ad of all time was 2011’s “The Force” for the VW Passat in 2011. It was shared 5.57 million times.
Unruly also points out that the top four shared Super Bowl commercials, and seven of the top ten also had pre-game online teasers. The VW teaser in 2012—the shaggy dog that goes on a diet to be able to chase the new VW Bug-- had 1.1 million shares; the Super Bowl ad itself had only 396,000. (Good dog. Great making-of-the-ad video. I saw it online, then went to test drive a Bug. That’s nearly an all-true story.)
Unruly has some advice for advertisers, now deep in the fourth quarter , as it were.
Basically, it gets down to this: Throw the bomb. If you’re in the game, go for it. Unruly touts its proprietary algorithm that predicts the “shareability” and ROI of an ad before it’s produced.
In short this is no time to be subtle. You’re spending 4 million clams! So Unruly suggests you go for a “laugh-til-you-cry” response rather than just a chuckle. If laughing isn’t what the commercial is about then it at least has to trigger “intense positive emotional responses.” Chevrolet’s connection with OK GO to create “Needing/Getting made it the most shared ad from the 2012 game. Viewers called it “exhilarating” and “astonishing.” It’s had more than 1.15 million shares so far.
The Twitter-size version of the above paragraph: Music videos always score big on the viral chart.
Unruly also suggests a few other things: Release your ad early on the Internet, but not too early --maybe the week of the game. Spend the money on an online teaser ad, which you should be unveiling just about…now.
And lastly, make longer commercials. The average length of the top ten shared Super Bowl ads in 2012 was 83 seconds—31 seconds longer than the year before.