How effective are Super Bowl ads at driving performance?
Global omnichannel communication company Mitto wanted to know, so it surveyed 1,000 U.S. residents ages 18 and older through Pollfish in January and found 52% thought a Super Bowl ad would be a successful use of a brand’s marketing budget, but said the ads do not drive a level of purchasing behavior to warrant the price tag.
Last year a 30-second spot cost about $7 million. Only 23% of those participating in the study said they were likely to make a purchase based on a Super Bowl ad alone.
The survey found a significant discrepancy in the power of a Super Bowl ad to drive purchases compared with the message.
While large campaigns may believe that a Super Bowl ad increases overall brand awareness, 41% reported they were more likely to purchase from a brand that communicates with them in a continuous and personalized way.
The findings suggest that the millions of dollars brands spend for one Super Bowl ad may not be the most effective approach to driving purchasing behavior.
During the past five years, 41% of consumers say they have only made a decision to purchase an item between one and three times based on a Super Bowl ad, while 27% said they have made no purchases at all.
The data also showed that personalized ongoing communications are 17% more likely to drive a purchase than a one-time brand awareness campaign such as a Super Bowl ad.
Some 41% of respondents said personalized ongoing communications drive them to purchase, versus 35% for a large campaign. And 55% preferred being approached in a personal way throughout the year over a one-time campaign such as a Super Bowl ad.
Personalized ads also influence genders differently. Female survey respondents said they were 25% more likely to make a purchase based on personalized communications compared with men, who preferred the one-time brand awareness campaign such as a Super Bowl ad.
Men also found viewing these ads to be more effective, with greater likelihood to make a purchase. Women were 60% more likely to prefer a brand that engaged in personalized communications.
Humor attracts consumers most, the survey found. Some 62% of survey participants cited humor as a factor in driving a purchase. Celebrity appearances followed with 25%, emotional connection about 7%, and relevant brand information at 6%.
The tone of Super Bowl ads most favorably impacted consumers’ views of a brand. Humorous ads led at 70%, followed by thought-provoking ads at 50%, simple ads at 41%, celebrity appearance at 41%, and sentimental ads at 41%.
Relevant information must be included to make a purchase, 71% of the survey respondents said.
John, this study is even worse than yesterday's time spent bomb, so please have at it if you feel moved to. As for me, the idea that you can ask a sample of 1,000 folks in an online survey to evaluate the ROI of a "Super Bowl" commercial is mind boggling.
Thanks for the comment, Ed. I always love your insight, but I've never bought a product based on seeing a Super Bowl ad - at least none that I can remember. I'm entertained by them, but they do not drive me to make a purchase. Yes, the sample in the research is small. Do you recall products you have bought after seeing a Super Bowl ad? Maybe I did a search after seeing a new product, but cannot remember ever making a purchaes.
Laurie, me too. My problem with this kind of survey---like so many others----is simply that you can't expect to get serious or valid indicators of ad impact by just asking folks these kinds of questions. The respondents---even if given the time to think, plus lots of reminder help---simply can't answer in a meaningful way. You need to really bore down ad by ad and product by product and see to what extent you can attribute any later action to specific ad exposures. It's a very difficult task and usually winds up in the inconclusive bin---as do so mny other attempts at "attribution". There are too many varibles at play.
Putting aside the small sample size and the bold extrapolation I'm going to take a different analytical path.
So let's assume the results are kosher. The 'survey' found that 23% "said they were likely to make a purchase based on a Super Bowl ad alone".
The Super Bowl typically gets an audience around 100 million. Remember that is the average audience for any minute. Across the full broadcast the "watched some of it" cohort would be much higher - but let's stick with 100 million.
So accepting the survey finding, it means that 23 million people are "likely to make a purchase based on a Super Bowl ad alone". And remember that ad cost $7million!
But let's also say that over an acceptable period of time (it varies by product category) that the "23% likely cohort" from the survey DID make a purchase. That equates to each purchase costing a mere 30 cents. Pretty good value I'd say. The thing I have found over my years of surveys is that the outcome is best summarised by the equation LIKELIHOOD >> RESULT.
Ah, but John, we need a comprison with TV's norms, For example the average 30-second TV CPM is around $30 for "linear" and streaming and including children and teens. Which means that you pay 3 cents to "potentially"reach a viewer with one commercial. As recall surveys report that only about 5% of the audience changes their minds about the brand in a positive way after seeing a commercial and if we assume that half of this---or 2.5%---- actually makes a purchase that they would not have made otherwise, that means that it costs you $1.20 per new customer. Then again, if we count---or rather, estimate--how many people who already intended to buy your brand did so after seeing your commercial---"attribution"----that number drops significantly--perhaps as low as 25-30 cents. So, maybe the "Super Bowl" isn't such a bad media buy after all?
Of course the only way we will ever know is if a lot of brands run exactly one spot on the "Super Bowl" and nothing else and this is compared with the performance of brands who run only one spot on other forms of TV and nothing else. In that unlikely event, you have a near perfect scenario for determing the outcome, realtive to costs---but, to be fair you should also include the high costs that "Super Bowl" advertisers often incur---aside from the time charges---such as creating very expensive commercial executions and spending heavily to promote their "sponsorship" of this major event. That might tilt the scales against a "Super Bolw" buy---if anyone cared---and as it happens , they don't as the "Super Bowl" for most advertisers is not a standard media buy---it's a special promotional event.