Consumers say personalized communications make sales—not Super Bowl ads

by | Feb 9, 2023 | Marketing, Public Relations

As we get ready for the Big Game this weekend, consumers have a message for big-money ad buyers: invest in better personalization to get real consumer engagement. This is according to new research from omnichannel comms solutions firm Mitto, whose latest survey explored consumers’ viewpoints on the effectiveness of Super Bowl advertisements—revealing a significant discrepancy in the power of a Super Bowl ad to drive purchases, compared to ongoing personalized communications.

While large campaigns think a Super Bowl ad may increase overall brand awareness, almost half of consumers (41 percent) reported they were more likely to purchase from a brand that communicates with them in an ongoing and personalized way—suggesting that the millions of dollars brands spend for a single Super Bowl ad may not be the most effective approach to driving purchasing behavior.

Super Bowl ads and purchasing behavior

The survey of 1,000 Americans aged 18+ found that while more than half of consumers (52 percent) believed a Super Bowl ad would be a successful use of a brand’s marketing budget, these ads are still not driving a level of purchasing behavior to warrant the $7 million price tag of a 30-second spot at this weekend’s event; fewer than a quarter of respondents (23 percent) said they were likely to make a purchase based on a Super Bowl ad alone.

In fact, over the past five years, 41 percent of consumers say they have only made 1-3 purchases from these expensive ads, while 27 percent said they have made no purchases at all.

A more effective marketing approach than a Super Bowl ad, the survey found, are personalized ongoing communications, which are 17 percent more likely to drive a purchase than a large brand awareness campaign like a Super Bowl ad (41 percent of respondents said personalized ongoing communications drive them to purchase vs. 35 percent for a large campaign). In fact, more than half of respondents (55 percent) preferred these regular touch points throughout the year over a one-time campaign like a Super Bowl ad.

“Brands pull out all the stops and millions of dollars for Super Bowl ads each year, however, the results from our report suggest that, when it comes to driving purchases, brands’ marketing spend might be more effective elsewhere,” said Andrea Giacomini, CEO of Mitto, in a news relesase. “Personalized, ongoing engagement with customers, which are much more economical, have shown to be a more powerful driver of purchasing behavior and ultimately build more powerful and lasting brand loyalty. In today’s tight economic climate, brands should keep this in mind as they re-examine their marketing strategies.”

Brand awareness campaigns by gender

These two customer engagement strategies—large campaigns like Super Bowl ads and ongoing personalized communications—were also found to influence genders differently. Perhaps not surprisingly, female survey respondents are 25 percent more likely to make a purchase based on personalized communications compared to men, who preferred larger brand awareness campaigns such as a Super Bowl ad. Men were also found to view these ads as more effective and more likely to elicit a response such as a purchase.

When women were given the choice of which brand communication method would better encourage them to make a purchase, they were 60 percent more likely to prefer a brand that engaged in personalized communications.

Humor above all: Super Bowl ad preferences

When asked what emotions they prefer in a Super Bowl ad, nearly two-thirds (62 percent) said humor followed by 25 percent who want a celebrity appearance, 7% who want an emotional connection and 6 percent who want relevant brand information.

The tone of Super Bowl ads also impacts consumers’ views of a brand. Funny ads lead the overwhelming majority of respondents (70 percent) to have a favorable view of a brand. This is followed by thought-provoking (50 percent), simple ads (41 percent), those with a celebrity appearance (41 percent) and sentimental ones (41 percent). If brands want consumers’ responses to be a purchase, relevant information must be included, a requirement for the majority of those who are somewhat or very likely to make a purchase (71 percent).

These findings are based on a Pollfish survey of 1,000 Americans aged 18+. The survey ran in January 2023.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter