TV’s Big Game’s Changing Digital Landscape 2017

Sunday night’s championship football game is the highest rated TV event of the year. But as the digital landscape grows and consumer behavior shifts, advertisers have adjusted the way they deliver their ads surrounding the big event.

important factors that shaped the advertising within this year’s big game:

  • TV viewership is more fragmented than ever, as linear TV receives competition from digital options like streaming
  • The NFL experienced a decline in ratings
  • Social media activity during high profile events (sporting, entertainment and political) has skyrocketed over the past several years
  • The pre-release of the big game’s commercials prior to the game has become common
  • Brands are demanding more measurability and ROI from their advertising

Even with changes, a few things remain constant

What hasn’t changed is TV’s ability to drive huge reach, as well as the expectation that advertisers will bring their A-game during the big game, whether that means being funny, powerful, heartfelt, or downright weird. This expectation could help explain the continued rising cost of the game’s commercials. It’s reported that Fox snagged a $5 million price tag for a 30-second national spot this year. When you factor in the additional cost of any PR and/or advertising associated with the pre-release promotion (not to mention the cost of producing the ads), this number gets even higher.

One major shift this year was that Fox offered advertisers the option to buy linear and streaming ads separately for the first time ever, which is directly in line with consumers’ shifting behavior and the demand for better measurement. Digital-only ads reportedly cost around $700,000 for a national 30-second spot, a fraction of the linear TV cost. And while the digital-only option wouldn’t deliver the reach of linear TV, it would offer more targeting and engagement metrics, giving more advertisers an opportunity to enter the big game’s ad space if their budgets didn’t stretch to the $5MM price tag.

brands answer the shift in consumer behavior

With ratings slightly down year over year, advertisers incorporated digital strategies to gain extra presence and engagement, all of which are more measureable than traditional TV ratings.

1. Hashtag mania

Advertisers across industries incorporated hashtags into their ads, allowing consumers to comment on the ads within social media.

2. Social media interaction with consumers and other brands

Both organic and paid posts can go a long way in gaining earned impressions.

social media super bowl

social media super bowl

3. Utilizing new technology

A few advertisers used Facebook Live, although the success of their execution is questionable.

super bowl facebook live

4. Driving consumers online

Lumber 84, one of the most talked-about ads, directed viewers online to watch the conclusion.


driving consumers online super bowl

Measuring Success in 2017’s Big Game

As clients continue to demand more metrics and measurability, digital media tactics are a great answer. Where we were once completely reliant on Nielsen overnight ratings (which are reporting 111.3 million viewers nationwide), other metrics are now available to tell a richer story.

Fox reported another 1.72 million viewers via their app or web stream. An estimated 36 million earned online views are reported via, a stat that should be important to brands as it represents people who intentionally sought out ads, either live or after the initial viewing. Add to that the estimated 4.4 billion social impressions that were generated via various social channels, available to analyze by sentiment and other important factors.

Origami Logic reported on social metrics of the pre-posts and teasers, another important piece of the success story for advertisers and clients. It’s critical that agencies can distill the meaning and priority of these social metrics for their clients, knowing that not all metrics are equal across platforms and depend on the client’s goals.

main takeaways for marketers

  • With more targeting and engagement options available than ever before, knowing your audience continues to be absolutely essential. Is your audience best reached by linear, digital, or both?
  • With social media now going hand in hand with big events like Sunday’s big game, brands have the opportunity to create deeper connections and make a bigger impact than through TV ads alone.
  • The expectation of measurability will only continue to grow, and digital strategies and tactics offer a multitude of ways to measure success and ROI.

IMAGE SOURCE: Rooted ID, Media Kix,




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