Web Hosting Super Bowl Advertising - Does it Work?

February 1, 2007 by Derek Vaughan

Fact: the Super Bowl has been the best-rated TV show every year since 1995.

Fact: Advertisers paid an average of $2.4 million per 30-second spot.

Fact: Go Daddy advertised twice in the last Super Bowl.

Question: Was it worth it?

According to Bob Parsons, CEO of The Go Daddy Group, via his blog, it was a great way to spend advertising dollars. Mr. Parsons opined, ``I`m proud to report that Go Daddy unquestionably had the very best ad in this year`s Super Bowl and I`ve got the numbers to back it up.``

According to data provided by Go Daddy, the company experienced an incremental 1.79 million visitors to the www.godaddy.com website in two days. On Super Bowl Sunday, visits were up by 880,000 more visitors than normal. On the following day, Super Monday, visits continued to be strong and were also up by 910,000 more visitors than normal.

Let`s just examine those numbers for a minute. According to some figures, the cost of web hosting related keywords is currently averaging around $5.00 per click (visit). So the math goes like this: 1,800,000 visitors x $5 per visit = $9,000,000 dollars worth of visitors.

However, Go Daddy only paid $2.4 million each for 2 ads = $4,800,000.

So according to those metrics, Go Daddy made a cool $4.2 million. That`s just in the first 2 days. Wow. That`s big money, even for Bob Parsons.

Experience has shown that spending millions to advertise in the Super Bowl will pay off for some and be wasted dollars for others. According to an online survey by InsightExpress, half of the 130 million viewers of last year`s Super Bowl tuned in just to watch the ads. Larry Weber, CEO of new-media consultancy W2 Group suggested that, ``The majority of the ads were going to be pointing people to digital destinations.``

Additional data seems to back up Go Daddy`s claim that the ads were a big success . 80% of business performance services provider Akami`s Super Bowl spikes were attributable to traffic going to GoDaddy.com. Akamai monitored the usage and reported that there was a spike of 164,000 visitors just before half time and another spike of about 780,000 after the game. They also reported that viewers going to GoDaddy.com represented 80% of the traffic during the spikes.

Upon completing the first known Super Bowl advertising effectiveness study of its kind, Dr. Charles Tomkovick, UW-Eau Claire Professor of Management and Marketing, along with Dr. Rama Yelkur, Associate Professor of Management and Marketing, surmise that among those most clearly benefiting from advertising during the Super Bowl is, not surprisingly, Hollywood`s movie industry. Mr. Tomkovick`s stated, ``All else being equal, we know from this study that spending $2 million-plus for a 30-second movie ad in the Super Bowl will pay off handsomely for a majority of the studios.`` Movie studios advertise on television and the Internet.

Ms. Yelkur says, ``Very little research has been devoted to studying Super Bowl ads and subsequent related market activity. After testing several other categories, we settled on movie ads, in part, because reliable revenue data is available in the public domain.`` Any skepticism about Super Bowl advertising may also be allayed by the multi-layered possibilities afforded by multi-media advertising. Nearly every movie has its own web site. Every web site affords the opportunity to promote virtually any other business or commerce related activity.

The researchers have found that in addition to movies, products like snack foods and beverages also benefit from Super Bowl advertising. PepsiCo and Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. (maker of Budweiser and Bud Light beer) are examples of businesses that spend millions in Super Bowl ads each year, for just this reason.

Go Daddy, won approval from the ABC Television Network to air its 30 second spot during Super Bowl XL only after 14 tries.

The approval process ironically began during last year`s Super Bowl - when Go Daddy was denied a second airing of its debut Super Bowl ad. The ad spoofed the infamous `wardrobe malfunction` of Janet Jackson during the halftime of Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. During the live halftime show, Justin Timberlake ripped off a breast cover on Ms. Jackson`s outfit to reveal a sun shaped `nipple shield` over an otherwise bare breast, in front of 89 million ostensibly shocked viewers.

The Go Daddy Super Bowl spot from last year spoofed the incident by presenting a mock censorship panel who are interrogating a shapely Go Daddy spokes model (Candice Michelle) when she experiences a similar `wardrobe malfunction`. To view last year`s Go Daddy Super Bowl commercial, click here: http://www.godaddy.com/gdshop/superbowl05/landing.asp?se=+ and select `2005 Super Bowl`.

According to information posted on Go Daddy President and Founder, Bob Parson`s blog, the company bought two ads in last year`s Super Bowl. The aforementioned ad was approved for air in both spots by Fox Broadcasting, and ran once during the game. After the ad had been aired, Fox was pressured by the NFL to suspend airing the second running during the final two minute warning - therefore, the ad never ran a second time. It is supposed that the ad was deemed to racy or indecent for the viewing audience.

Fast forward to this year`s Super Bowl. Go Daddy is again airing an ad - and has created a compelling new commercial for air. When submitted to this year`s Super Bowl network, ABC, it is rejected to air during the game. The spot again features Ms. Michelle - now know as `The Go Daddy Girl` - working in a desert gas station. As a patron enters to gas up his vehicle, The Go Daddy Girl proceeds to generously wash his car for him - and while she`s at it, she washes him. To see the original Super Bowl XL rejected ad, click here: https://www.godaddy.com/gdshop/superbowl06/timeline.asp?se=+&ci=5478, and click 11/21 Steamy Carwash.

The vast majority of GoDaddy.com`s viewers approved of the company`s approved Super Bowl commercial, while 5.9% found it offensive. This breaks down to 3% of males and 12.7% of females. This is slightly more contentious than last year`s ad where 4.7% of viewers found the commercial offensive, with the breakdown being 3.5% male and 12.2% female.

About the Author

Derek Vaughan has extensive online marketing experience including marketing ecommerce at ESPN.com and NASCAR.com, and directing marketing for Affinity Internet and Aplus.Net in the highly competitive web hosting arena.

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