Super Bowl Advertising: Who Was This Year's MVP?

After conducting our agency review of how well Super Bowl advertisers integrated search engine marketing with their commercials, one thing stands out.  Big brand advertisers are becoming increasingly Internet-savvy.  The bottom line is that search serves two purposes: research and response. 

Research covers any type of information gathering.  Regardless of the research topic, searchers typically know or have a general idea of what they are seeking. 

Response comes from a stimulus.  Most searchers today see an ad on TV and then search for the product online. Understanding the necessity of offline stimulus to grow online response is exactly why Google has introduced offline advertising platforms in print, radio and television. 

This year's Super Bowl drew an estimated 97.5 million viewers and was the second most-watched TV program ever.  We found that 64% of Super Bowl advertisers included a Web site in their ad; however, just 12% of the ads actually called out the advertisers' Web sites in the voiceover.  The online integration success of advertisers is typically evaluated by external post-Super Bowl analyses.  This year, our agency talked with Super Bowl advertiser GoDaddy directly, providing insight on the ad's success, which demonstrated an impressive online integration strategy as well.



SendTec:  Did you see an influx in Web traffic as soon your commercial aired?

GoDaddy:  Yes, GoDaddy saw an increase in Web traffic as soon as the commercial aired, another surge at halftime, again after the game ended and again Monday morning.  Monday morning we were featured on the "Today" show.

SendTec:  How many unique Web site visitors did your site receive within the first hour?

GoDaddy:  About half-a-million in the first 30 minutes.

SendTec:  What percentageage of traffic came direct to GoDaddy's site and what percentage came from search engines?

GoDaddy:  9.17% of the traffic was search driven.  This is a 22% increase over the previous two Sundays leading up to the Super Bowl, which received 7.8% and 7.25% of total traffic from search respectively.   

SendTec:  What and how many keywords did GoDaddy buy as a part of your SEM campaign to support this year's TV ad?

GoDaddy:  More than 500 keywords were added to GoDaddy's Search Engine Campaign.  Specific terms relative to the commercials included: Danica Patrick Exposure, Rejected GoDaddy Commercial, Dougie Dougie Commercial, Super Bowl Party Commercial and Beaver.  As well as 'generic' Super Bowl terms like: Fox Super Bowl Commercial, Download Commercials, etc. This included all misspellings and combinations of terms, plurals, ad, spot, commercial, etc.

SendTec:  Did the additional phrases GoDaddy bought produce a strong ROI or did you think it was necessary for them to buy as a means of capturing response?

GoDaddy:  GoDaddy's marketing strategy is to be where the viewers and customers are looking.  That means being in the right place at the right time on Super Bowl Sunday (and after). Search is a key part of their strategy.  Super Bowl marketing isn't focused on ROI on event day. GoDaddy will measure the return on this investment throughout the year.

SendTec:  What is the difference in traffic between last year and this year?

GoDaddy:  This year, traffic experienced a 2,434% bump over last year's Super Bowl traffic.

Obviously driving traffic online is critical to the success of any Internet business, but what about Super Bowl advertisers that did not call out their Web site?  Let's take a look at Victoria's Secret, which produced a great commercial, but didn't call out their website.  Many SEM agencies have ridiculed Victoria's Secret for this marketing faux pas, but this is a classic example of where Internet marketers have their eyes so glued to their monitors, they forget that there is still a world outside of search.  In 1999, Victoria's Secret ran a Super Bowl commercial that promoted an online fashion show.  The 1999 spot drew an estimated 1 million visitors, which caused the site to crash.  Since this is the first time the company has advertised in the Super Bowl since 1999, it's entirely possible its strategists were slightly concerned about having too much online response, and even more likely the strategy was to drive retail sales this Valentine's Day. Even though there was not a call to the Web site in this year's ad, Victoria's Secret still experienced an 86% increase in average daily site visits.

While the advertisers of Super Bowl XLII are certainly the most Internet-savvy to date, utilizing the benefits of research and response is still a largely untapped marketing tool. The good news is that integrated advertising strategies are becoming the norm. In past years, the number of winners has been small. Advertisers could make the MVP list simply by adding a URL to their Super Bowl commercial. Times are changing, and advertisers like GoDaddy realize that consumers are doing more online. If you agree with GoDaddy's marketing strategy of "being where the viewers and customers are," marketers must make every effort to utilize online integration and direct viewers online via search.   

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