Super Bowl Ad for $4.5 Million? Here’s What Marketers Could Buy Instead
ByJack Marshall, Mike Shields and Suzanne Vranica
For many marketers, the Super Bowl is the biggest advertising event of the year, a chance to place their brands in front of over 100 million Americans. The cost of entry this year: roughly $4.5 million for 30-seconds of ad time.
That got us wondering. What else could a marketer do with that cash? After all, the Super Bowl is huge, but it’s not the only ad game in town. Consumers’ media habits are changing, and that’s opening up all sorts of new avenues for marketers. And there are some traditional forms of media that offer good bang for the buck.
With that in mind, we asked ad executives what types of ad packages $4.5 million could buy in lieu of a 30-second Super Bowl spot. Here’s what they said:
Prime Time TV
According to one major media-buying agency, an advertiser could purchase a fair amount of 30-second prime time TV ads for the cost of a single Super Bowl spot. A budget of $4.5 million would buy around 12 such spots in shows such as the NBC’s “The Blacklist” and CBS’s “Big Bang Theory.” Of course, ads in entertainment programs can be skipped on DVRs, whereas big sporting events like the Super Bowl are watched live.
A Whole Lotta Online Video
According to estimates from ad-buying software company TubeMogul, $4.5 million is enough to have an advertiser’s video ad displayed online around 500 million times over an 18 day period. Some of those ads would be seen by the same people twice, however, so that type of campaign would probably result in about 145 million consumers seeing an ad an average of 3 times each. By contrast, Super Bowl TV advertisers can reach the game’s huge audience a single time, although some ads generate millions of views online, too.
A Year-Long Magazine Campaign
According to one advertising executive, a Super Bowl-sized ad budget would go a long way in the world of magazine advertising. For an advertiser looking to reach a male demographic, for example, the ad buyer said $4.5 million would buy full-page color ads in every issue of Men’s Fitness, Details, Men’s Journal, Rolling Stone, GQ, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine for a year. That’s a total of approximately 96 full-page print ads.
A Banner Ad Onslaught
The rise of automated or “programmatic” ad-buying technology has made it easy and cost-effective for advertisers to place banner ads across hundreds or even thousands of websites. According to digital ad-buying firm Varick Media Management, a $4.5 million budget spent through automated ad-buying systems could buy approximately 1.3 billion banner ad impressions on websites featuring arts, entertainment and news content. If an advertiser were looking to align itself with sports content specifically, the same budget would buy around 800 million ad impressions on sports-related sites, Varick Media Management said. Whether or not those ads are noticed or clicked on is another question, however.
A Social Media Blitz
Rather than buying 30 seconds of TV ad time during the big game, some ad buyers argued $4.5 million would be better spent “owning” social media for a day. Ad executives say Facebook’s 24-hour premium video ad placement costs around $750,000. An ad in Snapchat’s “Recent Updates” stream can be purchased for $700,000. Add to that a promoted trending topic on Twitter for around $150,000 and an Instagram video ad for around $200,000, and a brand could buy a significant social media presence for the day for under $2 million.