Is the Super Bowl Ad Worth It? Depends on Who Marketers Ask!

By Alex Song, CEO and Founder of Proxima

The Super Bowl is not only one of the biggest sporting events in the world, it is a marquis event for the advertising world. After all, it is one of the rare occasions when consumers actually pay close attention to ads and their content. But is the $7+ million price tag (the cost of a :30 spot this year) justified?

It depends on who you ask.

Certainly, there’s an argument that the 90 million viewers in the US expected to tune in to watch the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers offers a captive audience and a huge opportunity to build brand awareness and word-of-mouth buzz. In fact, University of Minnesota research found that Super Bowl advertisers see a 68% increase in online word-of-mouth in the three days following the game (although this number drops dramatically afterwards).

But there is not a lot of evidence that sales increase following the airing of Super Bowl ads. It’s also unclear how much these ads move the needle on customer acquisition and retention, two concerns that should be at the top of every marketer’s priority list. And it goes without saying that a majority of brands simply can’t afford the cost of entry.

A better question advertisers should be asking is whether they’re connecting with the right audiences. Whether it’s during the Super Bowl or another big campaign, ineffective targeting is a risk companies can’t afford to take. Unfortunately, a 50% higher cost of customer acquisition has made it increasingly challenging for advertisers to prove that they are reaching the right people while showing appropriate return on investment.

While brands weigh the pros and cons of making a big marketing investment, here is what they should keep top of mind.

Data intelligence should not be underestimated

When it comes to data, businesses need to dig as deep as possible. If marketers have learned anything over the last decade, it is that data offers unprecedented access to a treasure trove of information. AI-powered insights take this to a whole new level. It has been shown that brands of all sizes can boost their customer acquisition efforts when they pair their own data with AI. This is why 84% of companies are actively incorporating AI solutions into their business or name it a top priority. Whether you have a dedicated data team or not, there are many data intelligence solutions that provide actionable insights and analytics detailing how to improve performance across your business and maximize customer lifetime value.

Go for the bullseye!

After Apple updated its privacy policies in 2021, more than 60% of customers opted out of targeted tracking, putting a major strain on consumer brands. This prevented advertisers from measuring the effectiveness of their ad campaigns as easily because they were unable to access important data and insights collected by the big players in the social media world. To adapt to this new climate, advertisers needed new solutions.

Luckily, new technology solutions emerged that helped brands connect with their target audiences without infringing on consumers’ right to privacy. By using an anonymized set of data, these technologies have proven to be highly effective. They help marketers identify and engage with their intended audience while cutting through the crowded social media landscape. And with many Super Bowl and other big ticket campaigns designed to drive audiences to social media channels, getting as targeted as possible helps ensure more appropriate and stronger customer relationships.

How you stack up against the competition matters

In addition to gathering better information on key performance metrics, marketers need transparency into how they are stacking up against their competition. Benchmarking provides advertisers with a clearer picture of how they (and their campaigns) compare to businesses of similar size or product offering. Fortunately, there are technologies that pinpoint how your brand measures up and recommend how you can create greater value over the long haul.

As advertisers make tough decisions about where to invest their precious marketing dollars, it’s critical to let the data do the talking. By relying on data, insights and audience technology, brands can do a lot more than just build temporary buzz. Whether you can afford a Super Bowl ad or not, advertisers who are using data intelligence, targeting and benchmarking to improve and optimize customer acquisition and retention are well positioned to take home a victory.