Would marketers be smarter to take the money they'll spend on Super Bowl 2010 commercials and use it to by YouTube ads instead?
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And, for many marketers, that was money well spent. According to Nielson Company, the 2009 game was the most-watched Super Bowl ever, with 98.7 million viewers watching the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals.
But, according to comScore Media Metrix, 128.1 million viewers watched more than 12 billion videos on YouTube.com in November 2009. This means that more Americans visit YouTube each month than watch the Super Bowl.
Oh, and according to a variety of sources, marketers are paying between $2.5 million and $2.8 million for a 30-second spot.
What's a YouTube homepage masthead unit cost? Well, YouTube doesn't publish its rate card. And homepage ads come in a variety of formats. But, knowledgeable sources say it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to take over the YouTube homepage to reach tens of millions of viewers with an expandable masthead ad.
Now, YouTube doesn't attract an audience of 128.1 million viewers each and every day. So, comparing YouTube's monthly audience with the Super Bowl's daily audience is comparing apples to oranges.
But, four YouTube homepage mastheads delivered 141 million impressions for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor's Authority's "Vegas Bound" campaign last year. So, advertisers know how to compare apples to oranges.
I talked with Aaron Zamost of Google Corporate Communications this week, hoping to stir up a little partisan controversy between offline and online advertising.
Zamost was in Washington, D.C., which knows all about partisan controversy. But, it appears that President Barack Obama's request to be more bipartisan was heard by YouTubers -- because Zamost reached across the aisle to CBS instead of bashing broadcast TV.
He noted that YouTube AdBlitz 2010 would let YouTubers watch the Super Bowl commercials the minute they air on Sunday, February 7. When the game ends, YouTube will let visitors vote for their favorite 2010 commercial until February 14. And the winning ad will receive ultimate video glory with YouTube homepage recognition.
Zamost also said that smart marketers have already figured out that their target audience is coming to the Internet to view Super Bowl ads. So, they are building up to the big game with behind the scenes campaigns -- like KiaSorento's channel, which provides a sneak peak of Kia's first big game commercial, which stars the all-new 2011 Sorento and an unbelievably colorful cast of characters.
Oh, and smart marketers will also use YouTube after the Super Bowl to enable fans of their commercials to post text comments, upload video responses, and embed it in their blogs. And, if you don't think Super Bowl commercials can have fans, consider this: A recent Nielsen study of viewing patterns reported that 51 percent of viewers watch the game mostly for the commercials.
"Smart marketers are using YouTube to get more bang for their Super Bowl buck," said Zamost.
Wow. A bipartisan pitch from Washington, D.C. Who knows, maybe YouTube can do something with Congress next.
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