football lights in stadium
Behind-the-Scenes: A Look at NFL TV Ad Performance
03 October 2018 • tvsquared
Meg Coyle,
MarCom Director

Despite news of falling ratings, the reality is, NFL games still draw tens of millions of viewers and are considered the “Holy Grail” of TV ad inventory. Live sports equate to primetime marketing opportunities – providing massive reach at high prices – and brands pull out all the stops to take advantage of the TV ad performance boosts they provide.

But TV isn’t just about reach anymore; it’s also about performance. Now that the vast majority of viewers watch with second-screen devices, TV has turned into a primary driver of digital response.

TVSquared provides advertisers with a real-time view into how TV impacts business. Marketers know the buy elements (days, times, channels, programs, etc.) that work and those that don’t, and use that knowledge to optimize campaign performance. Essentially, they’re measuring and optimizing TV in the same way as digital.

With the shift toward performance, have advertisers changed the way they look at live events? Are the crème del a crème of TV buys still best leveraged for reach, or do they actually drive immediate response and conversions?

TVSquared looked at the September 2018 spot performance of some of our NFL advertiser clients. Here’s what we found:

  • NFL Games Average 118% Increase in Response: Advertisers that ran spots during Sunday NFL games saw an average increase in response of 118% vs. Sundays in the offseason. Not only did viewers respond, but they converted too, with an average increase in conversions of 119%.
  • They are a Boon for First-Time Conversions: The number of first-time conversions that came from NFL TV spots rose by a whopping 147%. Considering NFL buys come with tremendous reach, this is to be expected, but even we were surprised at just how much impact they had on new customers.
  • Smartphones for Response; Desktops for Conversion: Smartphones led the way for response, accounting for 60%; but desktops, at 43%, were the devices that saw the most conversions. These findings are consistent with spots that ran during the offseason, as consumers are still more comfortable making purchases via desktops (although this is changing).
  • Depending on your Goal, Spot Length Matters: Looking at the performance of 30-second spots and 5-second, in-game spots, there are significant differences. Traditional, 30-second ads drove 128% more response and 79% more conversions vs. the shorter ads. That’s not to say the shorter-form spots weren’t valuable, but they are likely more conducive for brand awareness.

NFL games offer vast reach and, as the data shows, they also drive significant engagement. TVSquared’s TV performance analytics platform gives you real-time insights to get the best bang for your TV buck during live-televised events.

Throughout the NFL season, be sure to continuously measure your on-air spots to identify not only the games, but even the times within those games, that lead to the greatest response, and leverage those insights to optimize in-flight.

If you’re running TV ads during NFL games, or any live broadcast, schedule a demo to learn how TVSquared can set up your TV initiatives for success.