Releasing Ads Early Pays Off For Super Bowl Advertisers, According To Visible Measures

If you’re watching the Super Bowl today, some of those brand new ads may feel awfully familiar — a growing number of them are being released online ahead of time, either in their entirety or as a partial teaser.

A spokesperson for video advertising and analytics company Visible Measures, told me that his team looked at every Super Bowl campaign since 2010 and found that more and more advertisers are following this strategy — there were 13 in 2010, 27 in 2011, 34 in 2012, and 42 in last year. (Visible Measures found 30 brands that had their ads ahead of time this year, but that was in the middle of the past week, so the final number will be higher.)

Basically, it seems that advertisers now treat the game as just part of a monthlong campaign, one where online views are increasingly important. As Tim Calkins, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University, told The New Yorker: “It is not about winning the Super Bowl but winning an entire month.”

Super Bowl ads saw a total of 370 million online views last year, Visible Measures said (measured one month after the game). And advertisers who release the ads early are the ones who win, according to the company’s data.

Visible Measures says it tracks a video’s “True Reach” across the web, including sites like YouTube, DailyMotion, Metacafe, and Vimeo. When the brands released their ads ahead of time, they saw significantly higher True Reach than those that didn’t — the difference peaked at 600 percent more views in 2012 before falling to 200 percent last year, presumably due to increased competition for online attention.

As one example, Visible Measures pointed to Samsung’s video “The Big Pitch,” which had already been viewed 8.7 million times by the time the Super Bowl aired, and which had a total of 33.5 million online views a month later. And this year, Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” ad (embedded below) has already been viewed 26.7 million times — so its final viewer count is going to pretty impressive.