Super Bowl TV Ads: What Is the Value Of Online Views?

Super Bowl TV measured-like viewing on digital platforms is still a drop in the bucket. But is there underlying, undervalued digital data?

Of the 102 million who watched the Super Bowl, 99.2 million came from the traditional TV airing on the Fox Television Network, according to Nielsen-measured analysis.

That leaves all digital TV viewing platforms with a collective 2.8 million viewers, according to Fox, looking at seemingly like-to-like average minute program ratings.

Logic suggests -- even with the growing interest in digital, especially direct-to-consumer (D2C) platforms -- that old behaviors are difficult to drop. Perhaps one can count on those plentiful Super Bowl parties and the ease of turning one’s TV set to its primary setting for virtually everyone -- that is, a cable, satellite, telco, or direct over-the-air service.

But one might also see what TV marketers had hoped for -- plenty of off-air engagement. While social media and search can grab big attention, speaking to its highly valued engagement measures, one seemingly lesser number to consider is online views and its subset “earned views.”



The difference here comes from analyzing paid online advertising versus those freebies, earned views where consumers seek out and/or viewed non-paid advertising content. On game day, there were a total of 199,643,505 online views (YouTube), with 63.7 million “earned” views, according to

YouTube defines a view as “when someone watches 30 seconds of [an] video ad (or the duration if it is shorter than 30 seconds) or interacts with the ad, whichever comes first.”

Other key viewing data when it comes to Super Bowl commercials: attention.

TVision, a technology company that measures viewers' eye movements on TV screens (with a panel size of 5,000) says "attention" is the percentage of all ad impressions in which the viewer was looking at the TV screen for two or more seconds.

Top individual brands for the Super Bowl were: Tide Pods’ "Finally Later, #LaundryLater" (109.4 Attention Index); Michelob Ultra’s "Jimmy Works It Out" (108.7); Planters’ "Baby Nut" (107.8); Discover's "Yes We're Accepted" (107.3); and "No Time To Die" Bond film promo - "No Time To Die" (106.7).

Brands running in the fourth quarter, helped in no small part by a close game, did the best.

All this means plenty -- especially considering growing digital media extensions, which can amortize the now $5.5 million price tag for a 30-second commercial on TV in the big game.

Echoing what other media executives have said in the past, Gary Vaynerchuk, founder of Vaynerchuk Media, told CNBC that given what the Super Bowl does for advertisers -- on and off the traditional TV platform -- it’s a good deal. “The Super Bowl ad is grossing under-priced,” he says.

“Even without the internet, it’s the one time America sits down and wants to actually watch a commercial. Every other moment of our lives we hate that.”

Preliminary estimates from Kantar Media is that in-game Super Bowl national TV advertising revenue is up nearly 30% over a year ago to $435 million.

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