Super Bowl, Other Events Drive Digital Ad Prices Down

While the average Super Bowl XLVII commercial cost nearly $4 million for 30 seconds – close to a 10% rise from last year’s price – Paul Dolan, managing director, North America, Xaxis, believes that major events like the Super Bowl actually drive ad prices lower, at least in the digital advertising space.

“It’s something we’ve observed around events, and big traffic days like Cyber Monday,” Dolan said. “The Super Bowl is one of the chief among them.” The company actually started noticing this trend four years ago at the Oscars and Emmys.

Dolan says that publishers have trouble getting all of their ads modified and sold when the buildup to a major event begins. That buildup of traffic eventually leads to more ads being sold on exchanges.

For the Super Bowl, it was sports sites, blogs, and social media that saw the increased traffic. Dolan says, “Realistically, [those sites could see] two to three times the amount of traffic they would see on a typical Sunday.” Of course, that also means two to three times the amount of ads. But the influx of inventory is a double-edged sword. “You could overexpose your audience and blowout frequency [in just one day].” Dolan said, adding that frequency control is key.



On top of the cheaper inventory and swollen consumer base, Dolan believes that real-time media technologies will allow advertisers to take full advantage of the opportunities presented during big events.

“[With] the rise of RTB, we know that we can now react much quicker to trends within minutes,” Dolan said. “Not only do you have the automatic algorithms…but you can get real-time feedback and have people looking at it. Advertisers that want to drive awareness or direct response can take advantage of low priced inventory.”

Dolan's observations call for people to take real-time action, not just computers. Considering an advertiser's small window of opportunity in the case of a single event, whether or not they take advantage of the cost-effective opportunity ultimately comes down to people making smart decisions in real-time.

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