STUDY: Analysis of Car Sales by DMA Reveals Super Bowl Ads May Not Pay Off For Car Brands
These days, the Super Bowl is often considered the mecca of advertisement. With rates at a record- $4.5 million for a 30-second spot, brands spend big money to showcase themselves during the big game, with the hopes of capturing the attention of the 100 million plus viewers who tune in for the game (and the commercials) each year.
But despite this audience size, the question still remains: is the Super Bowl really an effective way to reach your audience? We decided to take a closer look at the potential impact of running a Super Bowl ad, with a particular focus on the auto industry. Car makers have long dominated the advertisements during the game, but this year, many chose to forgo buying air time.
Using data provided from Polk Retail Registrations, a division of IHS Automotive, the Rhiza Ratio looked at annual market share of new car sales for four auto makers that advertised consistently during the Super Bowl games between the years of 2010 and 2014 (Audi, Kia, Hyundai, Volkswagen). This information was cross referenced with viewership of the Super Bowl game by DMA nationwide, provided by Simmons Local, a division of Experian.
Three out of the four auto makers (Kia, Hyundai and Volkswagen) all saw an overall decline in market share of new car sales between 2012 and 2014, despite having advertised during the Super Bowl during each of those years.
Perhaps even more interesting was that when broken down by DMA, the major market share of new car sales was concentrated in areas that had a smaller market share of those who planned to watch the Super Bowl and had the intention of purchasing a new car.
So what does this suggest? Targeted data can uncover storylines unseen through a national lens. In this instance, the data suggest that perhaps just going after the 100 million "eyeballs" watching the Super Bowl was not the best way to reach potential customers. In fact, the DMAs with the largest market share were more likely to have not been watching the game.
What can the auto industry deduce from all this? Each car manufacturer has its own recipe for advertising success. For some, a Super Bowl advertisement is worth the investment. But for others, what may seem like a great investment may actually not be the case once you take a closer look.