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So You Bought a Super Bowl Ad. Now What?

  • - Allison Metcalfe
  • 4 min read

[Editor’s note: This article was originally posted in AdAge and has been reposted with permission.]

Now that the Super Bowl has ended, the game’s advertisers next play is to track return on ad spend (ROAS). Advertisers  are intelligently growing their audiences and determining who of these people are real prospects.

Historically, Super Bowl fans could only watch the game on linear television—basically, the original walled garden where advertising buys were made based on broad demographic data, making it difficult to understand the business value of that commercial. This year, NBC allowed for streaming across screens and channels, which gives marketers the opportunity to peer over the wall. Supported platforms include NFL Mobile and the Yahoo! Sports app on mobile; the NBC Sports app, available on iOS and Android, on tablet and smart TV options such as AppleTV, Amazon Fire, Roku, Xbox, and Samsung; and on tablet and desktop.

This cross-screen activity provides a wealth of opportunities to target, measure, and discover more about the game’s millions of viewers. The digital breadcrumbs people leave on these channels, and the ad performance data advertisers can get back from them, make it possible for marketers to break open the “black box” of Super Bowl viewership, uncover who really matters to their brand, and—depending on how they engage with these new people—to actually assign ROAS to a 30-second Super Bowl spot averaging more than $5 million.

Consider this four-step journey to understanding and measuring the impact of your Super Bowl commercial:

Social listening for new audience members. It’s a well-known fact that brands that advertise during the Super Bowl enjoy a significant social media boost on the day of the game, and even in the weeks before if they release teasers for their commercials. In addition to running social listening on the usual channels—Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—it’s important to drop a mic into the streaming channels mentioned above, and others that are popular with football fans discussing the game. These include Hulu (which in the past has offered subscribers the option to view past Super Bowls, highlights, and ads), the Watch ESPN app, and Fox Sports’ digital properties. From the activity you see on these channels, take note of the users and commenters relevant to your business.

Understand your new and existing audience through identity resolution. Here’s where it gets exciting. If you advertised on the various digital channels streaming the Super Bowl, you can exponentially increase the value of the performance data you receive by using an identity resolution provider to tie this data back to real people in an encrypted, privacy-conscious manner. In doing so, you’ll discover if  these sports fans have interacted with your brand before, or if they are brand new. Identity resolution helps you segment these new audience members properly, understand if they are real prospects for your brand, and truly measure the impact of your marketing.

Reach out in a 1-to-1 manner—you know, people-based marketing. Through identity resolution, you can narrow down the massive audience of Super Bowl viewers to a targeted new data set of people relevant to your brand. If you’ve been in the business for a while, pause to reflect on how amazing this is. Now, data in hand (so to speak), you’re able to provide the tailored experiences consumers want across channels.

If you’re a car company that introduced your new SUV during the game, you can target current SUV owners who interacted with your ad with useful information about how the new model differs from what they’re currently driving. If you’re a wireless carrier, you can target current subscribers who saw your competitor’s ad and send them an offer to show your appreciation for their loyalty. You can even layer in third-party data to learn more about your new prospects and sharpen your targeting and creative.

The people-based marketing possibilities are truly endless across industries, offering brands ample opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of everyone in their database—and more importantly, convert them into customers.

Measure the results. If you can target real people, you can measure what effect your marketing has had on them. Applying what’s known as people-based measurement to your newfound Super Bowl audience, for example, helps you understand what your target customers respond to or ignore, whether they belong in the current customer segment they’re in, and whether they became customers due to your marketing efforts. These insights are not easy to come by. It can be difficult to know where to begin. If you have CRM data, though, a good place to start is using this sales data to see whether an audience who saw your ad on a social platform also bought your product in a store. If you don’t have CRM data, you can use third-party transaction data to measure your marketing’s effect on sales, or location data to determine any overall change in foot traffic.

The above method shows how digital marketing strategy can remove some of those bricks in the walled garden of television. In doing so, advertisers receive greater clarity into who they are speaking to and how they feel about their brand, even when they make massive media buys. This data, and the data you collect on a continual basis, can help inform the creative of your next big linear TV buy and measure ROAS in TV for the first time—pretty powerful possibilities.

For more information about advanced TV, and how you can get started, check out our one-pager.