Super Bowl Ads Earned A Lot Of Money Just By Being Watched Online

Super Bowl Ads Earned A Lot Of Money Just By Being Watched Online

What did we see with this year's Super Bowl ads getting a head start on YouTube?  Did making them available online before the Super Bowl make their $3.5 million investment a ridiculous waste of money, or did the ads find an amazing harmony in being shown both online and during the big game?  Research and measurement company Kantar Video did a study and found out that the ads made significant money through earned video impressions, but the ads saw a significant jump in views/revenue after the Super Bowl, showing that the two mediums work well together in this case.

The Super Bowl Ad Study By Kantar Video

Kantar made a very helpful infographic to show the top 10 Super Bowl ads:

Super Bowl Ads Earned A Lot Of Money Just By Being Watched Online

Those auto makers went all out, didn't they?  8 of the 10 ads that made the most return on investment were car ads, including a big number one to that much-discussed Ferris Bueller ad.  Liked it or loathed it, you know Honda loved the fact they were being talked about because that exposed more people to the brand.

Super Bowl ads, by the numbers:

  • The average ad made $862,000, a return of 12.7% on the $3.5 million investment
  • They created $11 million in earned media
  • Saw a 267% increase in views from the previous year's Super Bowl

What's interesting is that the ads made $2 million before the Super Bowl, and then they saw a jump of $9 million more after the game.  Meaning, we're going to be seeing this a lot in the future.  But I also think there will be plenty of other brands copying the Old Milwaukee model, and quite a few will copy Old Spice, by getting Super Bowl attention without paying Super Bowl dollars.

There has been a lot of discussion on whether ads should be longer or shorter online.  What Kantar found was that the longer the video, the better the value overall.  I think what we saw is that people are willing to sit through a longer version of the ad online after they get an initial taste during the Super Bowl.  A great many of those car ads were cut short for the Super Bowl and rewards viewers with a longer run online.  In effect, that's giving a preview during the Super Bowl and an "episode" online, and people are willing to sit through it because they've already been won over.

Another interesting thing that was studied was how people retained what they saw afterwards.  Using only the car commercials, Kantar found that ads with celebrities may generate buzz, but most ads are better off just being memorable with basic creativity.  I think that's a little limited, considering that in the "retention" category, the Jerry Seinfeld ad and Matthew Broderick ad were both very high on the list.  Really, what this portion of the study tells us is that if you use celebrities, don't just use them for appearances, give them a story.  Remember that ad a couple of years ago with Ozzy Osbourne and Justin Bieber?  Remember what the commercial was for?  I was asking that question after I saw it (it was for Best Buy, but I had to look it up).

Great study by Kantar Video.  Now we wait to see how much product actually got sold as a result of the ads.

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About the Author -
Chris Atkinson joined ReelSEO in 2011. He is a longtime film and television reviewer, and has almost two decades of experience in the theater industry. He also writes on his personal blog - View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • Josh Rimer

    I'm confused... what is being measured here in terms of revenue? Is it supposed to be based on Adsense earnings? These are all ads, so they contain product placement, which means they shouldn't be monetized on YouTube (and when I look at the Ferris Bueller one for example, it's not).

    • Chris Atkinson

      Hey, Josh, thanks for commenting. The study is right here:

      It's based on the number of video impressions. It is perhaps not "making" that money but the number of impressions is making it "worth" that kind of money.

      Sorry for the confusion. Thanks for reading!