A lot of people watch the Super Bowl, and that means a lot of people watch the commercials. Arguably, Super Bowl commercials have become an event unto there own over the past decade. According to newscast I saw before the big game, a thirty-second spot this year went for three million dollars (though I confess, I have not verified this with my usual journalistic tenacity). So at $100,000 per second, these are the priciest seconds in all of TV advertising.

This year, I decided to keep track of what advertisers were doing with their $100,000 seconds. This is not a complete breakdown of what the ads said/did/accomplished (there are far better sources for that), but instead a look at the ways in which the ads directed consumers to online destinations. Before I give you the results, let me just clarify a few things:

  1. I begin keeping track at the singing of the National Anthem and I stopped at the end of the game.
  2. I did not count and ads where Fox was promoting its own stuff (i.e. American Idol, House, and the Sarah Conner Chronicles).
  3. There are certain elements in this which are judgment calls on my part. You’ll just have to accept a bit of subjectivity.

So here it is.

There were 70 ads shown during the Super Bowl. Of those ads:

  1. 25 ads (35%) referenced a company or brand website (i.e. Hyundai.com, Underarmor.com, etc…) Note: this excludes the ads for companies who are online companies, such as SalesGenie.com and CareerBuilder.com whose ads obviously pointed to a website.
  2. 4 ads (5%) referenced a destination website. These are sites such as pepsistuff.com and thrillicious.com that are specialized digital destinations, separate from the company’s main site, which are built around consumer engagement.
  3. 4 ads (5%) existed primarily to get people to go to a destination website. The ads themselves had no real content, and would not have even been ads at all, had it not been for the digital destination they told people to go to. They were more like road signs pointing to the marketing, rather than the marketing itself. Examples of this were the GoDaddy commercial and the Audi commercial leading to truthinengineering.com.

Are these numbers staggering? It depends how you view them. But the fact that nearly half of all the ads shown last night pointed in some way to a digital destination might say a lot about where marketing is moving.

Written by Matt Peters
Matt is the Co-Founder and CEO of Pandemic Labs, and enjoys thinking about, writing about, and talking about social media marketing whenever someone will let him.