Over the last several years, I’ve had a sense that Super Bowl advertisers have been increasingly adopting a strategy of debuting their big Super Bowl TV spots in advance of the big game. And I’m sure I’m not alone here.
This intuition was recently validated in a TechCrunch article revealing that video measurement and analysis company, Visible Measures, reviewed every Super Bowl campaign since 2010 and found that an increasing number of brands are following the strategy of debuting their TV spots ahead of the game in their entirety, or as a teaser online.
Not only has this been an increasingly prevalent trend, but also its adoption rate has been swift;
2010 – 13 brands debuted their Super Bowl spots early.
2011 – 27 brands debuted their Super Bowl spots early.
2012 – 34 brands debuted their Super Bowl spots early.
2013 – 42 brands debuted their Super Bowl spots early.
2014 – 30 brands were tracked to have debuted their spots early, though this was reported well in advance of kickoff, so it is likely that this number will increase when final numbers are reported.
With brands investing an average of $4 million for 30 seconds of media space, and who knows how much on production and talent for their spots, you might think that they’d want to build anticipation and suspense and release their spots during the actual Super Bowl game.
This approach, however, means missing a tremendous opportunity to provide value to brands’ digital and social media audiences.
To capitalize on this opportunity, Super Bowl spots are being treated less like TV commercials, and more like multi-channel video content, which has proven to be effective.
Visible Measures reported that Super Bowl ads saw a total of 370 million online views last year, and ads released ahead of time received between 200-600 percent more impressions than those that didn’t
So, this is all well and good, but what can be learned from this phenomenon and applied to your business?
There is more value for consumers in predicting the future than reflecting on history
By and large, people are information hungry. They want to know things the moment they occur, take pride in knowing things sooner than others, and revel in sharing breaking news and updates with their social media audiences.
Because of these behaviours, consumers are naturally going to see greater value in content before they perceive it to have been widely released and known.
Being aware of shifts in conversation can help build momentum
Leading up to the Super Bowl, anticipation, excitement and speculation builds. Who is going to win? How is the halftime show going to be? Which ad will be the best?
As soon as the game ends, the conversation shifts from a feverish buzz, to a relatively docile recount. It’s over, and therefore there’s less to talk about, and this applies to the ads as much as anything else.
There is clearly huge opportunity to inject your brand into conversations during the upswing of momentum versus at the peek. When you wait until the conversation is at its height, there is no momentum to build, and nowhere to go but down.
ROI can be greatly enhanced with a content promotion plan
Gone are the days of television spots running through the duration of their respective media buys, coming off air, and quickly being forgotten. Television spots now appear as pre-roll advertising, are posted on websites, and are published on any social media network that will host video. This includes YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, DailyMotion and MetaCafe to name a few.
Formerly thought of as being strictly for television, TV spots are now viewed more as video content, and therefore require a more comprehensive content promotion plan to maximize ROI. YouTube alone boasts that more 18-34 year olds watch video on their platform than any cable network, so if you want to get your message in front of a targeted audience of scale, for many marketers, publishing video online and on social is a simple decision.
While debuting hotly anticipated Super Bowl spots in advance of the big game can be a bit of a letdown to those like me that look forward to the ads more than the game itself, it’s clear that the strategy of pre-releasing spots is paying dividends.
There are also a number of key lessons that can be learned here, and applied to your business. Before pushing content out, think about how the timing of publication can affect the value your audience receives from it, consider how broader conversations may or may not play a role in maximizing the contextual relevance of your message, and finally, think long and hard about how to best promote your content by creating a comprehensive content promotion plan.
What do you think about the trend of Super Bowl spots debuting in advance of the game?
Do you think it is a smart decision to do this?
If you think about this strictly from the standpoint of a viewer, does that affect your opinion?
How do you maximize the ROI of your content?
It would be great to hear your thoughts about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
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