Editor's Note: Questus generously fielded original research for this special issue of iMedia Connection. You can see an overview of that research
When millions of Americans watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, many of them will be as interested in what happens during the commercial breaks as they'll be in the game itself.
Companies that pay upwards of $2.5 million for a 30- to 60-second spot are obviously expecting those dollars to affect brand awareness. They can also expect a surge in website traffic, and that means they should be prepared for the opportunity to serve an online audience hungry for further engagement.
According to a study Questus conducted with more than 1,500 sports fans, nearly eight in 10 people (79 percent) are interested in the advertising that runs during the Super Bowl, and that same number (79 percent) are interested in seeing what previous Super Bowl advertisers are going to come up with this year. Marketers really need to be creative when expectations are this high, especially since nearly half (49 percent) expect this year's advertising to be better that last year's ads.
It's not surprising to learn that nearly six out of 10 people (59 percent) will discuss an ad that captures their attention with family, friends or colleagues after the game. For many marketers, this is exactly why they are willing to spend such a large amount of money for a single spot.
There is no other time of the year when a television ad has such an impact. But is there a bigger picture? What other actions can a Super Bowl commercial inspire across such a broad spectrum of American viewers?
Almost one third (30 percent) will visit the company's website, and that same number (31 percent) will look for the ad online to view again. Marketers should make it easy for these people to find the ad by giving it a prominent position on their corporate website homepage. Without providing this kind of easy access to the advertisement, marketers will risk losing visitors to those sites clearly dedicated to Super Bowl advertising, such as Google Video or AOL. Along with providing access to the TV ad, these online destinations also provide message boards, voting and other community features.
The message is loud and clear...
What happens on TV no longer stays on TV.
Companies should maximize this once a year opportunity by ensuring that their websites will reflect what users are looking for. Super Bowl advertisers should give these potential or returning customers a forum to share their reactions to the ads, whether it's for marketers' eyes only or for the amusement of an online community.
They should extend their advertising dollars by making that high profile, high budget commercial easy to download and email, turning a one-time TV spot into a viral marketing tool that might remain in play long after Super Bowl Sunday is over.
Jeff Rosenblum is co-founder and director of research & strategy at Questus. .