Super Bowl Survey Results: Who won the ad game?

Super Bowl Survey Results: Who won the ad game?

A lot of variables can determine whether a brand can make an impact through advertising – and often, social engagement does not translate to sales.

This year’s Super Bowl was reported as the most tweeted, most shared and most watched game – but one question we want to know the answer to: how can a Super Bowl ad change perception among potential customers?

BPI Labs, a new department at Bully Pulpit Interactive that is focused on building products to better measure the impact of marketing campaigns, ran an online panel–based study to measure the impact of this year’s Super Bowl ads for 25 companies. We looked at attitudinal metrics such as favorability, intent to purchase and ad recall.

From this study, we found that engagement metrics don’t always mean an ad persuaded a consumer. For example, one ad that people found very entertaining according to our survey was Wix’s “It’s That Easy” – but the ad didn’t really move the needle given only 13% of participants remember the company advertised at all.

See more of our takeaways below and take a look at this chart that ranks the brands by favorability, intent to purchase and ad recall:

– Social engagement may not translate to increased favorability. We took a look at how many social engagements each ad got on Facebook and Twitter. From our notes, GoDaddy’s ad had less than 1% of the social engagement on its branded channels compared with McDonalds’ ad – but while GoDaddy’s brand favorability increased +7 points after the Super Bowl, McDonald’s brand favorability hardly changed.

Budweiser and GoDaddy saw the greatest increases in brand favorability from their ads. GoDaddy (+7 points) seems to have benefited from their last minute ad switch. And particularly impressive for Budweiser – a 5 point increase – something hard to do for a well–established brand.

Among Super Bowl newcomers, we saw strong performance from eSurance and Loctite. It seems that eSurance won the battle of the insurance companies with a 5 point gain in brand favorability among the general population, while the response to Nationwide stayed relatively flat. However, among millennials, Nationwide’s favorability dropped 5 points. Perhaps the result of negative response to their ads? Certainly a possibility. Meanwhile, Loctite saw a 4 point lift in brand favorability from both the general population and millennials who were survey – plus a small bump in purchase intent as well. Looks like it was worthwhile for that newcomer to join the big game.

It is important for advertisers to reinforce their brand in the creative. We found that viewers tend to conflate ads within an industry. For example, 10% of consumers surveyed thought they saw an ad from Audi or VW (they didn’t – both brands sat out this year), while just 20% remembered seeing the Mercedes-Benz ad that actually did air.  And 22%  of respondents thought that Royal Caribbean aired a very entertaining cruise ad (they didn’t – it was Carnival Cruise). In contrast, 78% of viewers remembered seeing Budweiser’s ads – Budweiser also ran three ads, one of the highest frequency for any brand.

Super Bowl ads are just the start of a conversation. In the survey, consumers did self-report that as a result of seeing ads they were more likely to purchase the product. But this wasn’t actually the case – when we compared the write-in data for consumers against the survey data, purchase intent generally remained flat.

Fickle preferences among millennials. The millennial data showed far greater movement in both favorability and purchase intent, but also showed how millennials are easily swung negative. For example, Pepsi declined 8 points in brand favorability among millennials after the Super Bowl with a corresponding 10 point decline in purchase intent. McDonalds also dropped 6 points in favorability and 9 points in purchase intent among millennials.

Starting this spring, we are going to release a new product that allows us to measure the  impact of marketing campaigns and put an ROI on reputational marketing. Ask us how we can help you learn even more about your campaign impact and we’d be happy to share more information.