Super Bowl Ads on YouTube – Three Takeaways

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super bowl ads

In case you’re still in shock over the big game, let’s change the topic to what we all really wanted to see – the ads. Yep. You know Super Bowl ads are like the Oscars. It’s the red carpet of the advertising world.

I watched the Super Bowl ads to see the trends and how these ads are living on within YouTube. I’m going to share three key takeaways on the ads that played during Super Bowl 2017. (Hint: if you want to watch them on YouTube, check out the Ad Blitz, where YouTube is asking viewers to vote for their favorite ads.)

1. Fewer Game Day Reveals

Watching the ads, a lot of them felt familiar. Several ads were revealed prior to game day. Whether the Super Bowl ads were shown on TrueView or teased on social media, Think With Google, citing Pixability’s analysis, found that for the 2016 Super Bowl, “brands that published full versions on YouTube before Sunday’s game received an average of 2.2X more views and 3.1X more social shares by Monday morning than those brands that waited until the game to release an ad.” Clearly the brands advertising in 2017 for Super Bowl LI took this heart and several full versions were available far in advance of kickoff.

2. More Social CTAs and Distinct Keywords

The ads themselves were more social. (Remember what I said about Video in 2017?) The majority of ads had special hashtags or actively asked people to like or share content with the brand. Knowing these ads would be housed on YouTube, most (but not all) brands optimized with the new end screens with video elements and subscribe buttons.

Several videos encouraged further participation by offering longer versions, either on YouTube or hosted on their own webpages. This will help show what demographics are interested in longer versions of the video, potentially revealing new heat maps for activity and for potential new customers.

The keywords were interesting as well. For brands who appeared in other Super Bowls, there was a tendency to keyword the videos with Super Bowl 2017. For newcomers or single ad buyers, the tendency was to use the keyword “big game” rather than Super Bowl. This keyword choice is most likely to help position the ad in the long term, perhaps capturing viewers the following year as they search for “big game ad.”

3. Even Multimillion Dollar Companies Make Mistakes

Even though many brands optimized with YouTube’s new end screens, one of my eagle-eyed employees noticed a big “oops” from a major brand. The video was created with end screens in mind, but …. the end screen elements weren’t added to the video (as you can see in the image below). There’s nothing to click.

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 12.12.36 PM

The brand is losing out on a major source of new subscribers or viewers to older videos/playlists. This shows that if you don’t have the right people managing your YouTube channel, you can end up leaving out key parts of an optimal YouTube strategy. It’s a shame, because I’m not sure how many people are going to be talking about the ads by the time they fix this very big oops.

Wrap Up on 2017 Super Bowl Ads

Even if you’re not going to buy a Super Bowl commercial any time soon, there are still a lot of takeaways. The first is that you have to tease your content on social media to help build buzz and social proof. The second is that you have to have a social or shareable experience (hashtags, encouraging customer participation, etc.) to do well on social platforms. And lastly, double-check your video is ready and optimized for YouTube. You don’t want to have your video half-ready for the big day.

If you need help getting your YouTube channel in shape for 2017, don’t wait for fourth quarter to turn it around. Let Funnelbox help out.

Video Insights

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