Unlocking the Advertising Debate: Super Bowl vs. Social Media – Which Delivers Better ROI?

Written by Kraken Staff

February 12, 2024

Super Bowl LVIII brought football fans together for a thrilling showdown between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs, resulting in the latter’s 4th Super Bowl win since 1970. But beyond the game, the Super Bowl is famous for something else: its commercials. Advertisers shell out big bucks for a 30-second spot during this iconic event, with costs skyrocketing in recent years. 

Yet, as we’ll explore, there’s a growing debate: Are Super Bowl Ads worth the hefty price tag, or is Social Media Advertising a smarter investment? Let’s find out.

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The Big Game Advertising

Since the first Super Bowl in 1967, the cost of a 30-second ad has skyrocketed a jaw-dropping 185 times, according to a recent study by BofA Securities. Back then, you could snag a spot for just $37,500. Fast forward to today’s Super Bowl LVIII, and advertisers are shelling out an average of seven million dollars for that same 30 seconds of airtime. That’s some serious inflation!

But why the splurge? Big Game ads offer an unparalleled platform for reaching a massive audience. With millions of viewers tuning in, these commercials have the power to captivate the nation and become part of the cultural conversation. From heartwarming narratives such as Mark Wahlberg for Catholic meditation app Hallow to hilarious gags like State Farm: Like a Good Neighbaaa featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito and Dunkin’ Donuts: Dunkings featuring Ben Affleck, and even Michael Cera for CeraVe, Super Bowl ads leave a lasting impression on viewers long after the game is over.

However, despite the hype, research suggests that the effectiveness of Super Bowl ads may be on the decline. Studies have found that these mega-expensive commercials often fail to deliver the expected returns. Factors like potential distractions from the advertised product or service and the debate between celebrity endorsements versus brand characters can impact their effectiveness.

So, is the investment worth it? Many advertisers crunch the numbers to determine the cost per viewer, weighing the hefty price tag against the potential reach. But as costs continue to climb and consumer behavior evolves, the debate rages on: Are Super Bowl ads still the golden ticket to advertising success?

Social Media Advertising

So what about social media advertising? According to Exploding Topics, most people spend over two hours a day on social media. Further, as of January 2024, the global internet user count stood at 5.35 billion individuals, representing approximately 66.2 % of the world’s population. And these people are online almost every day, vs. the typical three to three and a half hours once a year for the Super Bowl.

For this reason, social media advertising creates an excellent, and affordable opportunity, for businesses to connect with their target audience. With platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly known as Twitter) boasting billions of active users, the potential reach of social media ads is virtually limitless.

Social Media Advertising is Highly Cost-Effective

One of the key advantages of social media advertising is its cost-effectiveness compared to traditional methods like Super Bowl ads. While a 30-second spot during the Big Game can set you back millions, social media management fees typically range from about $5,000 to $100,000 monthly. For businesses operating on a tighter budget, this affordability is a game-changer.

But it’s not just about the cost – as you can imagine, based on the stats we shared earlier, social media advertising offers unparalleled reach and engagement metrics. Platforms like Facebook provide detailed insights into ad performance, allowing businesses to track metrics like reach, engagement, and conversion rates in real time. With targeted advertising options, businesses can tailor their ads to specific demographics, interests, and behaviors, maximizing their impact. 

Social media ads have been shown to influence consumer behavior in a big way. Studies have found that social media advertising can significantly increase conversion rates and drive purchase behavior. From sponsored posts to influencer collaborations, businesses have various tools at their disposal to engage with customers and drive sales.

When it comes to applicability, social media advertising is a great fit for businesses of all sizes:

  • Small-sized businesses may find Super Bowl ads out of reach due to their high costs, making social media advertising a more accessible option.
  • Medium-sized businesses can benefit from the affordability and versatility of social media advertising, allowing them to reach a larger audience without breaking the bank.
  • Large enterprises, while still investing in traditional advertising strategies, are increasingly turning to social media to complement their efforts and engage with customers in a more personalized way.
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Budgeting for Marketing

So, let’s get real and talk about marketing budgets. Typically, marketing budgets are determined as a percentage of overall revenue. For B2B (business-to-business) companies, this percentage often falls between 2 and 5%, while B2C (business-to-consumer) companies tend to allocate a higher proportion, ranging from 5 to 10% of revenue.

However, with a single 30-second spot for the Big Game demanding millions of dollars, only companies with substantial annual revenues can justify such an expense. For instance, to justify the cost of a Super Bowl ad, a company would need annual revenues exceeding $70 million, effectively pricing out most businesses, especially smaller enterprises. And keep in mind, that is for one ad—for one spot over 30 seconds, just once for the year.

In contrast, social media advertising offers a more accessible option, with budget ranges varying from $5,000 to $100,000 per month as we shared earlier. This flexibility allows businesses to diversify their marketing efforts across multiple channels, leveraging the advantages of each platform. By spreading their marketing budget across various channels like social media, email marketing, content creation, and sponsorships, businesses can maximize reach, engagement, and, ultimately, return on investment.

Kraken Ads Can Help Your Business Manage Social Media Advertising

Kraken Ads specializes in crafting tailored strategies to take your digital advertising campaigns to the next level, maximizing return on investment (ROI). With a comprehensive suite of services, we offer end-to-end solutions to meet your unique business needs:

  • Paid search ads: Targeted advertising campaigns to boost visibility and drive traffic through search engine results.
  • Paid social ads: Engaging advertisements strategically placed across popular social media platforms to reach your target audience.
  • Content marketing: Compelling content creation to captivate audiences and establish your brand as an authority in your industry.
  • UX/UI Audits: In-depth analysis of user experience and interface design to enhance website functionality and user engagement.

At Kraken Ads, we understand that one size does not fit all. That’s why we work closely with you to develop customized marketing plans that align with your business goals and target audience. Let us help you navigate the ever-evolving digital landscape and take your advertising efforts to the next level. 

You don’t need to pay those big dollars to advertise in the Big Game. We can help you get the right eyeballs on your ads, all year round. Contact us today to get started!

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