Why WOM is a key Super Bowl ad metric



2 min read

News, 10 January 2020


Marketers that run Super Bowl commercials would benefit from rigorously tracking online and offline word of mouth (WOM) as they seek to determine the effectiveness of their spots, a study in the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR) has argued.

Brad Fay, Ed Keller and Rick Larkin – all from Engagement Labs, a social-media data and analytics company – were the authors of the study, which is entitled How measuring consumer conversations can reveal advertising performance.

Their research covered ads from the 2019 Super Bowl and looked at offline and online word of mouth, YouTube views, Google search trends and the consumer rating of each brand’s commercials on the Ad Meter rankings from USA Today.

When comparing the week of the big game and the month that followed the NFL season-closer, the authors noted that the greatest shift in consumer activity was observable in YouTube views, which grew by an average of 114%.

“On average, the advertisers gained more than twice the views on their brand channels around the time of the broadcast versus the four prior weeks,” the study said.

“This makes sense because YouTube often is used as the platform for pre-releasing Super Bowl commercials, and consumers use it to replay and share commercials.”

Online conversations posted the second-largest increase, with an average improvement of 79% – an uptick that shows the distinct power of Super Bowl advertising.

The authors wrote: “Online conversation volume tends to be low absent a major campaign, so this is a metric that a Super Bowl can drive up dramatically versus the benchmark.”

Offline conversations, by contrast, proved “more difficult to move than social media”, with only an 18% lift on average compared with the first four weeks in January.

The authors attributed this to “variation in the quality of creative execution, and the fact that base levels for offline conversations are very large and thus difficult to move”.



Read the full WARC article, here.

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