Why Some Brands Wasted Their Ad Budgets on the Super Bowl

Brands spent big time ad dollars on the Super Bowl. Who got the best value?

Why Some Brands Wasted Their Ad Budgets on the Super Bowl

Another Super Bowl has come and gone with hard-hitting excitement, a legendary Katy Perry/Missy Elliot fueled half-time performance and, of course, a full-lineup of Super Bowl commercials to laugh at, sympathize with, and share. And with Super Bowl commercials costing sponsoring brands $4.5 million each, marketers will surely want to know which brands got the best bang for their buck – and why they should be looking into effective sponsorships, as well.

To find out which Super Bowl sponsors formed partnerships that were likely to reach the right audiences, we conducted a brand affinity analysis of Socialbakers data on Facebook.

What Is Page Affinity?

Page Affinity analysis helps brands understand how their Facebook Page is related to other pages and inform their potential for partnership and advertising. This provides Page admins knowledge about the “distance” of their Facebook page to other Facebook Pages along with providing a deeper understanding of their “engaged Fans.” Please note that passive Fans are excluded from Page Affinity analysis because they are not interacting with the selected Page’s content, and therefore, are not a good representation of what active Fans find engaging. The more active, engaged Fans who visit both partner brands’ Pages, the more likely that sponsorship will earn you favorable ROI.

Brands that leverage brand affinity knowledge are able to make smarter partnership and advertising decisions, increase their EdgeRank, and consequently improve both organic and paid engagement. To create such an analysis, we identify the Pages that we want to run the Page Affinity for and use Socialbakers Analytics to pull the data and run the custom affinity analysis. Here is a quick description of the reasons that Pages would share strong affinity:

  • Shared content – they already advertise together/cooperate
  • Similar content – similar topics
  • Similar brand positioning – focused on similar target groups
  • Similar perception by audience – e.g. luxurious brands of alcohol and expensive watches tend to be more strongly associated than cheap beer and expensive watches
  • Shared interests of the audience – e.g. men like beer and cars
  • Facebook assessed them as similar – e.g. you like this, would you like to also see this

The NFL And Its Sponsors

First and foremost, let’s take a look at the choices that the NFL made in terms of its sponsors. Please note – when it comes to brand affinity, the lower the number (or closer to the center), the higher the “closeness” between one Page to another.

The facts:

  • The NFL Page is Very Strongly Associated with the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks with a .33 and .42 respective Page Affinity score.
  • The NFL Page is Strongly Associated with Pepsi US (.52) and Coca-Cola US (.55)
  • The NFL Page is Significantly Associated with McDonald’s US (.62), Snickers (.64), Mercedes-Benz US (.64), Anheuser-Busch (.69), BMW US (.72) and Kia (.78)
  • The NFL Page is Not Associated with Loctite (.82)

The New England Patriots Affinity To NFL Sponsors

The facts:

  • The Patriot’s Page is Very Strongly Associated with the NFL with a .33 Page Affinity score
  • The Patriot’s Page is not Strongly Associated with any Page
  • The Patriot’s Page is Significantly Associated with Pepsi US (.69), Coca-Cola US (.69), The Seahawks (.72), Mercedes-Benz (.74), McDonald’s US (.76), Snickers (.77) and Anheuser-Busch (.79)
  • The Patriot’s Page is Not Associated with BMW US (.83), Kia (.84) or Loctite (.89)

The Seattle Seahawks Affinity To NFL Sponsors

The facts:

  • The Seahawk’s Page is Very Strongly Associated with the NFL with a .42 Page Affinity score
  • The Seahawk’s Page is not Strongly Associated with any Page
  • The Seahawk’s Page is Significantly Associated with Snickers (.64), Pepsi US (.65), Coca-Cola US (.65), The New England Patriots (.72), McDonald’s US (.73), Mercedes-Benz (.75), Kia (.76) and Anheuser-Busch (.8)
  • The Seahawk’s Page is Not Associated with BMW US (.83) or Loctite (.93)

What Does This All Mean?

We can say with a high level of assurance that the NFL, New England Patriots, and Seattle Seahawks share a Page Affinity with each other, which is good news as otherwise it would be very difficult for their social managers to share similar or interchangeable content. You can also strongly connect that the NFL’s partnerships with Coca-Cola and Pepsi are valuable for both the organization and the brands involved.

On the other hand, the majority of the other sponsors fall into the “significantly associated” category between the league and the teams; meaning that each social media manager should look deeply into their relationship before evaluating a sponsorship. On the far extreme, we can see that one of the new sponsors, Loctite, has a long way to go with their social strategy before they should enter into another NFL sponsorship. There isn’t enough overlap between their two Fan bases to make their partnership a likely success.

If you are interested in learning more about how affinity analysis could help identify your key sponsorship opportunities and increase social visibility, then contact sales@socialbakers.com.

Head of North American Marketing

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