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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Vanisko

Super Bowl Ads - Are They Worth It?

Part 1:

Traditionally, the Monday after the Super Bowl everyone from talk show hosts to industry insiders to your next-door neighbor will be talking about the COMMERCIALS that ran during the Super Bowl. Top 10 lists will be created and debated. Needless to say, there’s a lot of chatter.

Everyone will have their favorites, some will tend to be funny, others more inspirational. Commercials aired in the most premium of premium spots will definitely get their 15 minutes of fame, but the big question is: are they worth it?

The cost of a 30-second spot continues to increase YOY (see graph below from Kantar). In 2023, it is estimated that a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl will set you back $7 million. And that’s just for the airtime! Remember, that figure does not include any production costs like special effects or celebrity cameos.

So, is a Super Bowl Ad worth it?

In short, it’s complicated.

It’s relatively easy to determine the CPM, with an estimated audience of 100 million people, that 30-second 7 million dollar spot equates to a $70 CPM. Even though Super Bowl viewership has declined over the last 10 years, the audience is still HUGE. Practically 1 in every 3 Americans tune in – there’s no better time to maximize your reach.

However, is that entire audience in your target demo? If your product cannot provide a solution to each and every one of the viewers, your true CPM just got a lot bigger.

But, CPM is just one part of the equation.

Eventually, it all comes down to sales, do Super Bowl ads influence purchase behavior? Harvard Business Review noted that 80% of Super Bowl ads in 2012 and 2013 failed to increase purchases or purchase intent. On the other hand, in 2015, researchers at Stanford University and Humboldt University in Berlin published a study of Super Bowl ads that found brands increased revenue by 10% to 15% per household in the following eight weeks—unless a direct competitor advertised during the same game, then the gains turn to losses.

The Super Bowl is a unique opportunity. Where else can you advertise to 100 million people who tune in to watch the commercials just as much as the game AND have millions more talking about your commercial for days after it aired? There is a definite correlation between Super Bowl ads and increased word of mouth both on and offline. One study found that word of mouth increased 22% the week after a Super Bowl ad ran with a total increase in word of mouth of 16% the month after the big game.

In addition, Super Bowl ads are not just a one-and-done situation anymore. The ads are not only shown on TV during the game anymore, with social media, Super Bowl ads have a much larger reach now. The new trend is to “advertise the advertisement”. Campaigns now start weeks before the big game, generating buzz with teaser ads and the chatter continues long after the game is completed. “The real payoff comes from what else you do to support that ad, which can include social media integrations, on-site activations, celebrity publicity, retail promotions, customer engagement, and word of mouth,” said Fred Cook, USC Center for Public Relations.

So, if you can take that one 30-second Super Bowl commercial and create an entire campaign around it utilizing multiple media channels, you might just get your money’s worth.

That is assuming your creative is good 😉…. Stay tuned for more on that!


About A3 Media

A3 transforms media from an expense into a smart investment. Since 1997, we have successfully helped regional businesses launch new products, expand into new markets and increase sales through media plans that make every dollar spent do more. Our clients include brands such as Yuengling and Ashley Furniture. For more information about how A3 Media can help your digital marketing efforts, please call A3 Media at (610) 631-5500.

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