Jonas Dominique
Jonas Dominique 19 February 2020

Lessons From Super Bowl 2020 Ads: Digital Share of Voice Drives Brand Strategies

With linear tv viewership declining and streaming on the rise, marketers are turning to a different metric for success than ratings and gameday eyeballs when planning their Super Bowl ad campaigns. Join us as we dissect how top-performing brands utilised Youtube and social media channels to maximise their $5M ad slots for Super Bowl 54.

As the digital advertising revolution continues, one area where television has always been able to claim their supremacy is during major sporting events - notably the Super Bowl. Having some of the most expensive advertising slots in existence with one of the most massive audiences every year commands colossal bragging rights.

Over the past few years, consumption trends have changed the game. TV commercials are not the primary influence driver for brands placing ads anymore. Shock Top CEO James Kirsch once went so far as to claim that "more important than our Super Bowl commercials were the digital elements surrounding the campaign" in an interview with Google.

The rise of streaming and the change in consumer intent

Linear TV, where viewers primarily watch the famous Super Bowl Ads, is declining. According to Nielsen, the number of football fans tuning in from their televisions decreased by over 5% from last year, which is the smallest audience the big game has garnered since 2008.

However, thanks to a 20% increase in unique devices tuned in to the big game, viewership across all platforms, including streaming and digital, set a record year for the most massive audience in Super Bowl history.


A study last year by Techcrunch identified that fewer than half of the viewers were tuning in to watch the actual game. 27% showed up to hang with friends and watch the halftime show, and a whopping 23% were primarily interested in the infamous Super Bowl commercials.

This data presents an opportunity for advertisers to tap into one of the most massive audiences ever with a personalised experience and to drastically extend the shelf life of their super bowl campaigns beyond the 30-second commercial.

What is the digital share of voice?

Digital share of voice is the new measurement success for ad campaigns since the rise of digital channels. Using digital activity on social media, search engines, and internet video providers, marketers can assess how much an ad resonates with viewers before, during, and after the big game. Brands measured if they reached and influenced viewers with their campaigns by turning to social media for engagement indicators (such as likes, comments, hashtags, and shares).


iSpot TV, using digital share of voice, calculated that Jeep garnered almost 15% digital share of voice with nearly 75,000 total social actions. Although most eyeballs did not see this ad on TV, Jeep leveraged an active pre and post-game social and video strategy to amplify their Jeep Gladiator spot. They generated user engagement through the hashtag #jeepgroundhogsday, and promote their star celebrity spokesperson Bill Murray well ahead of game time. 

Key takeaways

If there's one lesson we can take away from the super bowl this year, it is that with significant challenges come great opportunities. When consumption trends change, your metrics for success must change with them to drive the success of your marketing efforts.

With TV viewership declining, advertisers found a solution to ensure their efforts are working. Nowadays, it takes more than just one creative and high-priced commercial to truly stand out. By identifying engagement metrics to measure the digital share of voice, brands like Jeep were able to migrate from one advertisement that lasts 30 seconds to a full week-long experience that continues to reach and influence audiences well after the game day.

Originally published by THE LAB on 2/6/2020

Author: Jonas Dominique, Editor: Sierra Wellborn

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