This year’s Super Bowl TV time cost an average of $5.6 million per 30 second spot. Do these expenditures justify the result? My answer: absolutely not.
$5.6 million spent on one of the heaviest ad days of the year just doesn’t make sense. Seriously, how are you going to stand out from the crowd with another 80 ads playing? $5.6 million shelled out on this platform was more like a Super Waste.
Basic economic theory dictates that this over-hyped and saturated market place allows networks to charge millions more than normal during this brief period, but there's negligible pay-off for those buying into this sham.
When you're involved in these sort of shenanigans, you're not looking for return on investment but validation for your brand and that, quite frankly, is sad.
This is further evident in the fact that we rarely see brands' agencies touting case study results from campaigns that run during the Super Bowl. This is because the kind of results that any self-respecting business would proudly want to promote simply aren’t there.
Some watch the ads because they are more entertaining than the game (depending on who’s competing). But, again, was it worth it?
When we look at the numbers objectively, the average Super Bowl reaches around 100 million viewers. Let's assume all 100 million people are watching your ad at the same time. Congratulations! You just spent $50 on your CPM. The average CPM in the United States on Facebook is $7.77, Instagram, $7.91, Google AdWords, $2.32, and for social media influencers it's $6.81.
To put matters in perspective, standard cable ads have an average CPM of $16.50 which is well below the Super Bowl.
As a comparison, if you were to spend the same $5 million on social media - 50% on Facebook and 50% Instagram - you'd reach 321,750,321 people on the former and 316,055,625 people on the latter. This is in excess of six times the audience reach your equivalent TV spot is going to achieve at best.
Despite what you say about the ad worth, the numbers don’t warrant the pitiful results from this type of spend. For all intents and purposes what we are seeing is an exercise in self-congratulatory brand affirmation. And I get it. When you see your ads running during the Super Bowl it feels like you’ve made it. You’re right up there, waving your flag and sharing the stage with one of the largest sporting events of the year.
It looks great. It feels great. But it doesn’t actually do much for your brand.
Of course, there are tiny exceptions. Take Mr. Peanut for example. He was plastered all over the trades. The monocle wearing goober even made it to Saturday Night Live! But my question remains how many other ads can you recall right now? Personally, I can think of 3 more. That’s a paltry 3 out of 86 and the only reason I’m aware of them is because of the massive PR and marketing push they’ve enjoyed.
It helps that I'm also a self-confessed ad freak who obsesses about this stuff. So, imagine how this all feels to the general consumer. Crowded and difficult to remember, I'll wager.
Super Bowl ads produce a touchdown for a very select few. For the rest of us, the numbers will never point to running a commercial during the game unless the prices are slashed dramatically. That’s the stark reality but the likelihood of this happening any time soon is up there with Joe Montana being called out of retirement.