Image from: The Big Game / Shutterstock

This Sunday brings the Big Game for the 50th time, an annual tradition of not only seeing two teams battle for the title but also the slew of advertisements put forth by brands trying to capture the attention of one of the largest audiences of the year.

Of course, this huge audience comes with a hefty price tag. In most recent years, advertisers have tried to maximize the impact of their Big Game commercials with digital marketing efforts to increase engagement, from hosting the video online, social sharing, sponsored/branded content, and more.


While the ROI of advertising for the Big Game has to be evaluated by each advertiser, last year the event did drive more consumers to visit advertiser websites. About 50% more consumers visited advertiser sites on the actual game day (highlighted in green in the graph above) than the week before and the week after the event. And nearly 30% more consumers visited these sites on the day after the Big Game than on the day itself – highlighting consumer engagement with these brands during and after the game.

youtube breakdown

How consumers find the ads online says something about their level of engagement. Last year, search engines drove the highest share of visitors to Big Game ads on YouTube (31%), suggesting that audiences were engaged enough in the content to actively seek it out. Search was closely followed by social channels (27%), highlighting the continued relevance in Big Game ads creating social buzz and the benefits of social sharing.

While more viewing still occurred on desktop devices, mobile viewing has continued to grow. Desktop viewers of these ads on YouTube viewed on average 1.8 videos, while mobile viewers watched an average of 1.3 videos.

While these numbers don’t decisively indicate “success” of advertising during the Big Game in terms of ROI, they do show that it has a dramatic impact on awareness and initial engagement. Whether or not an advertiser is successful from there is dependent on how it handles the opportunity created.

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