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Is Super Bowl Advertising Money Wisely Spent?

Those of us in the advertising profession don't view the
Super Bowl like most Americans do. Most viewers will be focused on watching
their big screen TVs, eating Super Bowl munchies and hoping for their favorite
team to score another touchdown.

Marketers, however, think of it as the Oscars of
advertising. We run into the room when the commercials start and admittedly,
some of us even tune out when the football action resumes.

For marketers, it's our opportunity to be inspired by the
world's best creative talent. Most importantly, it's our moment to truly
entertain, inspire and emotionally touch consumers on one of the biggest TV
events of the year.

In the back of our minds, however, a huge question looms.

Is this the best we can do as marketers? Should we still be
spending that much money on a seemingly untargeted and untrackable sports

Digital marketers are held to a higher standard nowadays.
Measurement, targeting and the ability to deliver relevant advertising through
digital media channels have changed the game. Simply tracking marketing budget
ROI via focus groups and awareness studies is insufficient for today's CMO.

Interaction between online and offline media is still
complex, but it's imperative to analyze and optimize multiple media in order to
build effective advertising campaigns.

The Adobe Digital Index team performed two types of analysis
to understand: (1) the consumption patterns of sports-related content across
devices; and (2) how Web traffic is impacted by television advertising around
the Super Bowl.

Mobile Video Viewing Will Double on Super Bowl Sunday

The Digital Index team analyzed 1.4 billion video starts
during 10 large sporting events in 2012 and compared them to typical, non-event
days. Viewers demonstrated an increasing propensity to check video from their
mobile phones and an even larger desire to watch video from tablets during
these special sporting events.

These data points are compelling, but most striking is the
percentage of online videos accessed by tablet and mobile phones, reaching 16%
on a day with a major sporting event -- a 100% increase compared to a typical
day in sports.

Viewership levels of this magnitude are significant and
demonstrate the need for media websites to continue to invest in usability,
design and optimization of mobile content.

For advertisers, it begs a question: Should I supplement my
Super Bowl ad spend with online video to reach a more affluent and targeted
audience with more measurable results? Or if I can't afford America's most
expensive 30 seconds of airtime ($3.8 billion in 2013), can I take advantage of
the event in other ways online? Digital Index data suggests that marketers
should be answering yes, and yes.

Super Bowl advertisers should consider the mobile video
consumption trend to supplement their television expenditure with incremental
online video advertising. Advertisers looking for more targeted vehicles, or
who cannot afford the Super Bowl premium, can tap into this marketing moment
online and capitalize on the digital channel's great targeting, low CPMs and
affluent audience.

We know that mobile advertising is still complex, but the
prices remain relatively low while the audience is growing and is proven to
spend more.

U.S. advertisers spent $180 billion in 2012, but directed
only 2% of that spend into mobile advertising, according to the eMarketer Worldwide
Ad Spending Forecast.

In 2012, more and more brands launched Super Bowl videos
online before the game. The data shows that traffic for advertisers peaked much
earlier in the cycle prior to last year's game. The week following the Super
Bowl, however, saw a lower lift of page views -- 12% in 2012 vs. 15% in 2011 --
and only 12% more visits in 2012 vs. 23% in 2011. These findings indicate that
the previews were more likely to pull traffic forward than increase the overall

Clearly, optimizing the digital returns from Super Bowl
advertising is still a work in progress.

Many advertising conversations revolve around the tradeoffs
between digital and traditional advertising, when in fact, the most powerful
formula comes from the combination of them. As media companies expand their
digital content and ad insertion capabilities, especially in the areas of video
and mobile, and as advertisers dial in the magic formula between online and
offline media spend, it becomes increasingly clear that we can no longer think
in terms of one versus the other. The marriage of digital and traditional media
will become the ultimate solution and will drive unprecedented results.

Will Super Bowl advertisers be able to dial in the previews
and extend the post-Super Bowl bump this year? Will they incorporate online and
offline campaigns more effectively and improve the effectiveness of their Super
Bowl ad spend? Will advertisers get their money's worth?

A lot of these questions will be topics of discussion after
Feb. 3.