The average rate for a 30-second ad broadcast during the Super Bowl game has increased by 75% during the past decade and reached $4.2m in 2014, according to research from Kantar Media.
The actual amount paid by individual brands depends on where the ad runs in the game, how much commercial time is purchased and whether the advertiser has opted for a larger package that includes spots in the pre-game and/or post-game coverage.
Even as Super Bowl ad pricing has increased, the volume of commercial time in the game has also been expanding.
The past five Super Bowls have included the most amount ads ever broadcasted in the game’s history, each containing more than 47 minutes of commercial time. This includes paying sponsors, commercial messages from the NFL and promotional announcements from the network for its own shows.
The spike in ad time for the 2013 ‘Blackout Bowl’ can be attributed to CBS’s re-run of a commercial pod that first aired just after the game was halted by a stadium power outage. CBS didn’t know whether its broadcast signal survived the blackout and so re-aired affected advertiser’s commercials later in the game.
During the past five years the top five Super Bowl advertisers have spent $456.6m on network advertising during the game, accounting for 35% of total advertising revenue. Anheuser-Busch InBev and Chrysler lead the pack, followed by PepsiCo, Hyundai and Volkswagen.
In recent years, there has been a steady increase in first-time advertisers using the Super Bowl as a platform for recognition and brand-building. In 2014, first-time advertisers accounted for 23% of the Super Bowl ad line-up.
More newbies are expected in 2015. NBC says that it has sold time to 15 first-time participants, including Carnival, Loctite, Mophie and Wix.
The daunting price of Super Bowl ad time would seem to be a barrier to small marketers with limited budgets. However, each year the roster of Super Bowl advertisers includes several companies who invest a hefty chunk of their annual budget to buy commercial time. In 2014, six Super Bowl advertisers put more than 10% of their full-year media budgets into the game.
The most leveraged sponsor in the 2014 Super Bowl was Soda Stream International. Its $4.2m ad buy represented 39% of its full year measured ad expenditures. Sonos was second at 25%.
The 2014 Super Bowl was the fourth consecutive year with a large amount of automotive ads. A whopping $113m was spent by eleven different nameplates and the category accounted for over one-fourth of total ad time in the game. Automakers will have a smaller footprint in the 2015 game. Based on corporate announcements thus far, at least two brands (Jaguar and Volkswagen) will not be returning.
The Super Bowl generates plenty of second-screen activity during the game and marketers have accelerated their efforts to attract and engage multi-platform consumers. It’s evidenced by the increased number of ads containing a social media element.
According to Kantar Media’s analysis of paid commercials shown during the game, hashtags have overtaken URLs as the most popular call to action mechanism. Last year, 60% of paid ads (33 of 55) contained a hashtag as compared to 54% in 2013.
According to Twitter, more than 24.9 million tweets about the football game and halftime show were sent. By comparison, there were about 583,000 tweets relating to ads appearing during the game. This figure does not include the Twitter conversation for a post-game ad aired by Esurance where the company offered a $1.5m giveaway to a lucky viewer who tweeted a specified hashtag. Esurance has said the contest generated a total of 5.4 million hashtag uses.