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4 Tips to Help You Launch Your Super Bowl Ads

You’ve spent months concepting, iterating, testing and now you have created your Super Bowl spot. With $5 million ready to fork out to CBS, you are all set to put your :30 second spot up on YouTube and watch the success roll in, right?

Not exactly. Even though the Super Bowl, is well, the Super Bowl of advertising, it still doesn’t work like that. We’ve seen missteps from advertisers in their launch strategy year after year when we study the ads after the game. It means that ads that could have been the talk of the Super Bowl are barely noticed at all.

So how can advertisers make the most of their Super Bowl investment? Here are tips from Unruly’s Science of Sharing: Super Bowl XLIX Study to help you launch your ad around the Big Game.

1. TV Alone Is Not Enough

In our Super Bowl study, we found that on average 38% of viewers had seen the ads before.

However, what was really interesting was where they had watched it. Of the people surveyed, more than half (51%) of respondents had not seen the ad on TV, pointing to the fact that a significant number viewers catch the ads online during one of the two surges in sharing that occur before and after Super Bowl Sunday.

The most important non-TV device for viewing Super Bowl ads is – surprisingly to some – the PC. Certain ads, such as Clash of Clans “Revenge” and Bud Light “Real Life PacMan,” were more likely to have been viewed on mobile devices, likely due to their appeal to a younger demographic of heavy mobile users. Advertisers with a younger target market need to ensure they are distributing their ads on mobile as well.


2. Test Your Content to Find Your Target Audience

We saw that 80% of the ads we tested evoked intense emotions among a large percentage of viewers. This means finding the people most likely to love your ad is more important than ever. Last year Weight Watchers’ “All You Can Eat” ad made many viewers feel bad about their poor eating habits during the biggest junk food events of the year. While it tested poorly with a national representative audience, it did achieve a high real life share rate among a niche audience.

Especially when your ad may be polarizing to those who are not being targeted, test your content to identify the most shareable points within an ad. But even further, testing can help identify the people most likely to love and share you ad. From there, you can programmatically target those people who are most likely to have a strong emotional connection with their content.

3. Launch On Thursday

The speed of sharing has increased once again, partly driven by the super quick nature of sharing on Facebook Video, with 70% of sharing occurring in the first 2 days (versus 30% for YouTube).

Brands should consider releasing their video on the Thursday before the Super Bowl to ensure that they align their first two days following launch with the two busiest days for sharing generally.



4. Save your budget for the main clip and avoid putting budget behind teasers

The majority of the most prolific content producers only achieved average share of voice. 5% of the ads we tested fell well short of their predicted share rate, demonstrating the importance of real life distribution factors for an intrinsically shareable video to fulfill its potential.

Advertisers should support shareable content with paid distribution to ensure it has the opportunity to reach a wide audience.  

One strong piece of content can do more for a brand’s share of voice than multiple average pieces.