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Maximize Your ROI: The Lesson All Marketers Can Learn from Super Bowl Advertisers

The Super Bowl is over – talk about stating the obvious, right? The Patriots rallied to beat the Falcons, Tom Brady won MVP and Lady Gaga soared to new heights during the halftime show. The commercials tugged at our emotions, made us laugh, touched on some politics and had us planning our next trip to our local move theater. We’ve talked about them, analyzed them and voted on the best advertisers. All in all, the Super Bowl, and everything that comes with it, is old news. However, there are still good lessons to be learned from the brands that invested an estimated $5 million to place a 30-second commercial during the big game.

I’ve read numerous articles about which commercials scored a touchdown and which fumbled, but one of the articles published by Ad Age stood out among the rest. Ad Age, in partnership with, ranked the top 10 Super Bowl commercials by digital share of voice. The rankings gave particular weight to earned online views and social impressions (including mentions and shares). We outline the top three ads below. You can see the full list here.

#1 Netflix: Stranger Things Season Two: 1984

 Digital Share of Voice – 11.78%

 Key Stats:

 TV Ad Impressions – 69,202,905
Earned Online Views – 935,390
Social Impressions – 643,279,691



#2 Budweiser: Born the Hard Way

 Digital Share of Voice – 11.19%

 Key Stats:

 TV Ad Impressions – 74,498,203
Earned Online Views – 6,437,197
Social Impressions – 142,734,184



#3 Mr. Clean: Cleaner of Your Dreams

 Digital Share of Voice – 7.22%

 Key Stats:

 TV Ad Impressions – 72,679,829
Earned Online Views – 2,046,197
Social Impressions – 174,323,752



In total, iSpot found that the 65 brands who advertised during Super Bowl LI earned more than 36 million total online views and 4.4 billion social impressions and counting. The takeaway? By engaging audiences on more than one channel, advertisers were able to spread their message far beyond the 30 seconds their commercials aired on TV. The proof is in the pudding: If you want to maximize your marketing ROI, you must think beyond individual tactics and instead focus on the whole marketing ecosystem.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.