Select Page

JC Lupis | Marketing Charts | Wed, 01 Feb 2017 14:30:29 +0000

Roughly 189 million Americans are expected to watch Super Bowl 51 on Sunday, reports the NRF, on par with last year’s figure, based on a survey of close to 7,600 adults. Planned spending surrounding the game is down slightly this year, while attitudes surrounding ads remain steady.

This year almost one-quarter (24%) of viewers said that the commercials are the most important part of the Super Bowl, up slightly from 23% last year. Only a minority (43%) feel that the game itself is most important, while for others spending time with friends (15%) and the half-time show (12%) are the top draws.

Super Bowl ads are generally seen as entertainment, as they have been for some time. Some 78% look at them as entertainment, basically unchanged from 2008 (76%), the first year these stats were available. Close to one-fifth (18%) indicate that the ads make them aware of advertiser brands, also steady from 2008 (17%). The one area where there seems to have been some movement over the past decade or so is in purchase influence: while only 1 in 10 this year claim that the ads will influence them to buy products from the advertisers, that’s nevertheless up from just 6% in 2008.

In other advertising attitudes reported by the NRF:

  • Some 16% believe that advertisers should save their money and pass along the savings to consumers, compared to 18% in 2008; and
  • 1 in 10 say the commercials make the game last too long, versus 11% in 2008.

In other words, save for some increases in stated purchase influence, perceptions regarding Super Bowl ads have remained essentially unchanged over time.

Below is a brief list of Super Bowl-related research with links to sources for readers interested in delving more into the stats.

  • Attitudes towards ads may not have changed, much, but prices have: the average rate for a 30-second spot in the Super Bowl has doubled over the past decade, from $2.4 million in 2007 to $4.8 million in 2016, per Kantar Media. (This year the ads were selling at an estimated $5-5.5 million per 30-second spot.) Including pre- and post-game programming, Kantar Media estimates that advertisers spent $445 million last year on the event, a figure it says almost equals the combined ad revenue of the 4 major broadcast networks in an average week for their complete programming schedules. That number also surpasses the annual ad revenues for some cable networks. Kantar Media also reports that average ad time in 2007 was 43 minutes and 5 seconds, while last year ad time totaled 49 minutes and 35 seconds, the second-highest clutter in the event’s 50-year history (2013 being tops with 51 minutes and 40 seconds).
  • This decade, auto manufacturers have been the most likely to air ads in the Super Bowl, with 9 brands last year advertising during the game, according to Kantar Media. (An Experian analysis indicates that auto brands have been successful in generating social media following and engagement from their TV ads.) Last year’s top-spending advertiser, however, was Anheuser-Busch, with $33.6 million in spend. There are generally around 10 first-time advertisers (give or take) each year, representing around one-quarter of advertising brands. Last year, 7 of the advertising brands (or roughly one-sixth) invested more than 10% of their annual media budget in the Super Bowl.
  • While the NRF data suggests that 189 million Americans will watch the Super Bowl, a report from Unruly indicates that the audience for advertisers goes beyond those simply watching on TV, although TV is the most popular device for watching the game. Airing ads before the day of the game can have some benefits: 7 of the 10 most-shared Super Bowl ads last year were aired prior to the Super Bowl, according to Unruly’s analysis. Teasers, however, did not perform as well: despite accounting for 29% of the videos, they made up just one-tenth of online views and 2% of shares. Overall, shares of Super Bowl ads last year dropped by 17% from the record year before, with Unruly attributing the decline to a failure of the ads to evoke emotional responses from viewers.
  • Some brands have been teasing or releasing their ads before the Super Bowl this year – data indicates that through January 26, 14 brands had released ads or teasers associated with the game online. At that point, Skittles’ “Romance” was the top-performing spot in terms of earned views (close to 1 million), while’s teaser “Chez Feliz” was doing well in generating social actions. Indeed, Wix was the top performing brand in terms of digital share of voice.
  • In fact, the share of Super Bowl ads released on YouTube before Super Bowl Sunday grew by more than 200% between 2008 and 2016, according to a recent YouTube report [pdf]. The top 20 Super Bowl ads on YouTube from 2008-2016 together drove more than 440 million minutes of watch time, or the equivalent of watching the event itself more than 1.9 million times (based on a 4 hour game), it said. Of those top 20 ads, 18 were released on YOuTube before the event that year. The top ad during that 9-year period? Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” released in 2014. These ads can have an affect on subscriber numbers: among the top 20 ads, February represented almost 30% of the total new channel subscribers the year each ad was released.
  • While the Super Bowl is most popularly viewed on TV (and YouTube notes an almost 3x increase in the Super Bowl ad viewership on YouTube via TV screens), there’s plenty of second-screening that occurs, with Influence Central noting that 78% of survey respondents engage on social media while watching the game. These consumers’ top activity when using social media is sharing their thoughts on the game, per the survey.
  • A Burson-Marsteller survey of 1,000 consumers who plan to watch the Super Bowl this year and who watched it last year indicates that for more than 4 in 10 viewers, social media brings them closer to the game. Six in 10 viewers are interested in the extra content provided by brands on social media in addition to their commercials, and 1 in 3 say that an ad is what they’re most likely to post about on social media during the game.
  • Analysis from Facebook supports the idea that social media is used heavily around the Super Bowl. Facebook reports that in February of last year, 60 million worldwide generated 200 million posts, likes and comments related to the game. Not too far behind, 38 million people generated 150 million posts, likes and comments on Instagram. The vast majority of this happened on mobile devices, with 89% of posts, videos and photos being uploaded on mobile compared to just 11% on desktops. Interestingly, women accounted for the majority of conversations about the commercials, among both 18-34-year-olds (57%) and 35-54-year-olds (61%).
  • In terms of mobile usage, AppBoy data indicates that mobile usage drops during the pre-game show, but then increases after kick-off. App usage decreases again during the halftime show, while social messaging continues after the game’s end, and viewers are more likely to watch mobile video after than before the game.
  • Finally, an analysis from Yahoo reveals that more than half of Super Bowl ad searches on the search engine occurred outside of the day of the game, with 21% happening during the week before the game and 41% on the day after the game. Yahoo’s data also supports mobile as TV’s companion: a majority (57%) of game day queries came from smartphones or tablets last year.