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Super Bowl 50 on Facebook: Mobile and Video Advertising Will Win Big

Written by: Andrew Waber, Market Insights and Media Relations Manager

Advertising during the Super Bowl means a lot more today than simply investing in a TV spot. As more than a hundred million people in the U.S. get set to watch the game on Sunday, research shows that many of those same people will also be simultaneously browsing on their phones, tablets, or laptops.

While the widespread reach of a Super Bowl TV ad is a unique opportunity, many of those same advertisers have found pairing the campaign with coordinated online advertising has greatly improved their impact.

So how does the Super Bowl – one of the biggest TV events of the year – impact the Facebook ad marketplace?

To answer this question and more, Nanigans examined Facebook advertising activity during Super Bowls XLIX and XLVIII, which took place in early 2015 and 2014. Comparative data was also drawn for the two surrounding Sundays for proper context.

Super Sunday on Facebook

Interestingly, comparing the Super Bowl cost-per-mille (CPM) to the average CPMs of two respective surrounding Sundays the past two years has shown conflicting trends when it comes to the cost of advertising on Facebook the day of the Super Bowl.

In 2014, CPMs increased by 10% compared to those surrounding Sundays, while last year, CPMs decreased by 8% from the same comparative time period.

Change in Super Bowl Sunday Facebook ad CPMs vs. prior and following Sundays





Using the two most recent Sundays (January 31 and January 24, 2016) as a baseline, along with average CPM changes from the past two years, we can estimate upper and lower ranges for CPMs this Super Bowl Sunday. Keep in mind that these estimates are based on Nanigans customer advertising activity in U.S. market only.

Estimated cost (CPM) of Facebook ads during the Super Bowl







Unlike a more broad-based medium like TV, Facebook’s real value comes from its sophisticated audience segmentation and targeting options. Advertisers utilize these features every day to help maximize their results, which carries over to advertisers looking to expand the impact of their TV campaigns. During and following the Super Bowl in prior years, advertisers have looked to engage and reengage portions of their target audience on Facebook, particularly when it comes to younger age groups who are less likely to have seen the Super Bowl ad on TV.

Facebook Ad Trends for Super Bowl 50

While CPMs fluctuated up and down during the past two Super Bowls, the same can’t be said for Facebook ad spending overall. The 2015 and 2014 game days both saw double-digit spend increases across American audiences.

Change in Super Bowl Sunday Facebook ad spend vs. prior and following Sundays





Marketers Go Mobile

The bulk of this ad spend growth was driven by mobile, and it’s easy to see why. In 2015, mobile ad click-through rates (CTRs) were significantly higher than on the prior and following Sundays, while prices dropped slightly.

Change in Super Bowl Sunday Facebook mobile ad CTR vs. prior and following Sundays





Change in Super Bowl Sunday Facebook mobile ad CPM vs. prior and following Sundays





Video Ad Spend Soars

Last year, advertisers made a strong push with video ads, which saw a 30% increase in ad spend on Super Bowl Sunday. Compared to the prior and following Sunday, video ad CTRs rose by 5% and CPMs dropped by 13%. Likely due to increased user activity, the number of average daily video impressions served on Super Bowl Sunday grew 50%, contributing to lower prices.

Change in Super Bowl Sunday Facebook video ad CTR vs. prior and following Sundays





Change in Super Bowl Sunday Facebook video ad CPM vs. prior and following Sundays





What Advertisers Should Expect this Sunday

  • In all likelihood, mobile and video will once again command significant attention from advertisers the day of the Super Bowl
  • Across mobile and video in particular, CTRs can be expected to trend upwards as compared to recent Sundays
  • Prices of ad inventory in general may differ from recent figures, but don’t expect dramatic changes either positively or negatively

Of course, whether or not to capitalize on this second-screen activity will depend on your specific target market and goals. However, with an active online consumer audience, it’s going to be a terrific opportunity for a number of advertisers.

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