Why Brands Pre-Gamed the Super Bowl

February 22, 2017

Esteemed ad critic Bob Garfield recently recalled the days when Super Bowl commercials were kept under lock and key until their live airing. It was, as he says, THE day for advertising, and no one wanted their creative treasures leaked ahead of their big moment.

Fast forward and, yes, the Super Bowl is still a pretty big deal. It garnered 111.3 million viewers according to Nielsen1. But, YouTube has over a billion users, and, on any given day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours on the platform2.

Sightly Social Media - OVER 440

How do Super Bowl advertisers bring the power of both together? It’s all in the pre-game.

Brands are increasingly leveraging YouTube to broadcast their content ahead of its live airtime. The share of Super Bowl ads released on YouTube before game day grew over 200% from 2008-20163. That’s because of the influence of the teaser, and also because YouTube offers a social dynamic that can, among other things, help build momentum for the game.

YouTube fosters different communities of people with like-minded interests, providing opportunities for consumers to post and share their thoughts. Yes, airing a Super Bowl commercial does deliver millions of viewers tuned into your brand. But, when coupled with YouTube, it gets extended further. Consider these stats:

  • More views over time: YouTube says that the top 20 Super Bowl ads from the past nine years racked up more than 440M minutes of watchtime on the platform3
  • Increases channel subscriptions: Among the top 20 Super Bowl ads on YouTube from 2008-2016, February accounted for nearly 30% of the total new channel subscribers the year each ad was released3

What was your favorite Super Bowl ad, and did you see it on YouTube first this year? Tell us!

1 Nielsen
2 YouTube, press statistics
3 YouTube, “The Big Game on YouTube, AdBlitz 10-Year Anniversary Report”, 2016