Dec 2019 (Vol. 59, Issue 4): SOCIAL-MEDIA MARKETING
The Impact of Airing Super Bowl Television Ads Early on Social Media:
Benefits and Drivers of Watching, Liking, and Sharing Advertisements on Social Media
Every year, executives debate whether to release their Super Bowl advertisements early on social media. The risk, some believe, is that early release could hurt the surprise and impact of being seen for the first time during the most-viewed televised sporting event in the U.S. Jennifer Lee Burton (University of Tampa), Kristen M. Mueller (Accent Your Style Boutique), Jan Gollins (Delta Modelling Group) and Danielle M. Walls (BDJ Solutions) each contributed to this collaboration. Together, they studied the impact of prior social-media engagement with a Super Bowl advertising campaign on consumers’ moment-to-moment affect traces and retrospective evaluations of TV commercials. Among their findings:
- There is substantial evidence that prior social-media engagement with a Super Bowl ad results in stronger emotional processing of advertising content, which leads to higher advertisement attitudes, brand attitudes and purchase intentions.
- If a manager’s goal is to get people to watch an ad on social media, this behavior is motivated by how engaging, serious or humorous the consumers perceive the ad to be.
- If a manager’s goal is to get people to like or share an ad on social media, this behavior is motivated by whether consumers perceive the ad as influential to their purchase decision.
- Prior social-media exposure to an ad campaign facilitates the wear-in process, or the idea that it takes multiple exposures to a campaign before it has the maximum impact on attitudes.
Participants in the study’s survey answered questions about commercials from the 2013 Super Bowl. The questions gauged participants’ emotional and cognitive reactions to 25 Super Bowl commercials representing a variety of product categories. Participants also described how the ads influenced their brand attitudes and purchase intentions, and whether consumers had interacted with the ads on social media. The authors made distinctions among watching, liking and sharing behaviors, and they collected consumers’ ratings of the ads in terms of their perceptions about them and the brands.
For practitioners, the study helps navigate conflicting evidence surrounding the early release of a Super Bowl ad on social media, and it provides added assurance on how their large advertising investment will perform on game day.
For researchers, these results address several gaps in the existing body of knowledge in this area. “In a departure from previous research that focused on the importance of the entertainment value of a campaign, this study found a strong role for the ad- and brand-related cognitions generated by a campaign,” the authors write. Prior work also focused on the “peak final moment, and linear trend of consumers’ affect traces (emotional responses) as being important determinants of” attitudes toward the brand and the ad. This new research, however, “found two new characteristics of affect traces linked strongly to improved ad and brand attitudes: the time before the peak and the duration of the peak level of affect.”