Online video and social media have become Super Bowl advertisers' new best friends, extending the ROI of expensive game buys to new levels. Helping quantify the impact, a new study by Kantar Video reveals that over $11.1 million in "earned media" (essentially incremental free online views) has been generated by all Super Bowl advertisers in the first 3 days following the game, from over 148 million total views. Viewership of this year's Super Bowl ads is up 267% vs. last year.
The top 10 ads alone accounted for $8.6 million of the total, providing an average of $862K in earned media per ad, or about a quarter of the $3.5 million each ad cost to run during the game. Viewership of the top 10 ads for the first 3 days is over 95 million views. Honda's Ferris Bueller spoof, "Matthew's Day Off," has gained the most earned media, approximately $2.3 million, from over 14.7 million online views.
Kantar calculated the value of earned media based on the estimated CPM rates and the length of the online video ad from leading video distribution sites. Of the $11.1 million in total earned media, Kantar says that over $2 million was generated prior to the game, as a result of certain advertisers' (like Honda) decision to pre-release their ads online, driving buzz and sharing. In addition, Kantar found that using online for longer 30-60 second ads was an effective strategy for increasing viewing time and building value.
Related, last week Visible Measures released its online viewership totals for the top 10 Super Bowl ads, which are higher than Kantar's because they track the full campaign, not the ad itself, suggesting that total earned media may be even stronger. For example, Visible Measures measured 21.5 million views for the Honda ad, actually placing it after Volkswagen's "The Dog Strikes Back" ad, with 23.7 million views (Kantar had the VW ad at 9.5 million views). The variations likely derive from the two companies monitoring a different set of video sites.
Regardless of the specific numbers, what's clear is that earned media is becoming an important new part of measuring Super Bowl ad ROI. No doubt we're going to see advertisers get more sophisticated about how to drive online views going forward, to improve earned media further. As well, we'll see the broadcast network that is airing the Super Bowl try to raise their rates, recognizing that the in-game ad is becoming just one piece of the advertiser's overall return.