Super Bowl Advertisers Missed Opportunities

Super Bowl advertisers improved the level of integration between their TV spots and their search and online presences this year, but most missed significant opportunities, according to the latest Super Bowl Search Marketing Scorecard from Reprise Media.

As it did in 2005 and 2006, the search marketing agency took a look at how well advertisers took advantage of the potential online buzz created by their expensive TV spots (topping $2 million this year) during the big game.

The number of advertisers with at least a minimal online effort has increased each year, but only eight of the 65 advertisers were fully integrated in their efforts, Peter Hershberg, Reprise’s managing partner, told ClickZ.

“Advertisers are getting more sophisticated in the level of integration between search marketing and TV. At the most basic, they need to be buying their brand name keywords, and this year 60 percent did that, which is a 16 percent increase,” Hershberg said. “At the same time, there were many overlooked opportunities.”

Running a cross-channel campaign is important for marketers, because it helps them reach customers at multiple touchpoints, Hershberg said. The practice has been common among smaller marketers, who tend to handle more of their marketing from a single contact or department, but larger marketers are catching on, he said.

One of the biggest mistakes, made by three-quarters of the advertisers, was not including any recognizable elements from their Super Bowl commercial in the search ads. More than 70 percent of advertisers also failed to include any mention of their Super Bowl ad on the landing page. “Visitors had no connection to the TV commercials,” he said.

Most advertisers did include a URL in their TV spot, but more than 90 percent lacked a specific call to action to get viewers to visit the site.

The biggest winners this year include and, Hershberg said. Both of those advertisers laid out a clear value proposition, gave a call to action in the form of Super Bowl-related discounts, and followed up on the TV offer in search ads and the landing page those ads linked to.

One of the biggest losers was clothing brand Izod. Izod’s ad was “stylish, but pointless,” Hershberg said. IT included little information that was searchable, and no call to action. A visitor to Izod’s site could find the ad from the Super Bowl, but it was not labeled as such. “They left visitors feeling a disconnect,” Hershberg said.

A phenomenon that began last year and grew this year is something Hershberg calls “ad drafting.” The practice, done most successfully this year by Hoovers and Edmunds, allows advertisers that did not buy a TV ad to capitalize on traffic from searchers looking for those spots.

Hoovers bought ads for every Super Bowl advertiser, to showcase their database of corporate information. Edmunds bought ads for the make and model of every auto advertiser on TV, and led searchers to its own site, which hosted the Super Bowl ads and linked to its ratings and reviews of those vehicles.

“These advertisers were able to capitalize on the demand generated and spend just pennies on the dollar to do it,” Hershberg said.

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