Merkle, a leading technology-enabled, data-driven performance marketing agency, today released its third annual Digital Bowl Report, evaluating Super Bowl advertisers’ digital marketing efforts. This year, TurboTax and Avocados from Mexico took first and second place, respectively.
The Digital Bowl Report takes a quantitative look at how brands leveraged social media, SEO, paid search, digital media, and email marketing to support their Super Bowl investments. TurboTax took home the 2016 Merkle Digital Bowl crown by coming in second in scoring for SEO, digital media advertising, and social media. In SEO, TurboTax used microdata to feature the 4.7 star rating of its Federal Free Edition product in the search results, and its mobile optimized landing page ranked well for both "Super Bowl" and "Big Game" searches. In digital media, it leveraged tracking pixels to build retargeting lists, and used many versions of its video to run pre-roll YouTube ads paired with companion banners before videos found via Super Bowl-related searches. In social media, simplicity and clarity of message won the game this year. TurboTax excelled at both, and its real-time content stayed true to the product value-add.
The 2016 Digital Bowl Report analyzed social media, SEO, paid search marketing, digital media advertising and email marketing. On social media, brands were judged on the content they were creating, how they were engaging with users, and their rate of conversation. Brands scored more highly if they were agile and creative in their real-time marketing and responsive to users. In SEO, brands were graded on campaign landing page optimization, discoverability, optimization, and whether they had kept mobile users in mind. The paid search evaluation examined relevant keyword targeting, ad copy, email outreach and relevant landing page experiences. Digital media advertising was evaluated based on whether brands were leveraging teaser video content for retargeting and real-time ad buys during the game. Lastly, brands received a bonus point if they took advantage of email marketing’s direct line to their existing customers.
“Winning the Digital Bowl boils down to leveraging digital to truly capitalize on a brand’s Super Bowl investment. The TV spot is arguably the US’s most prestigious marketing opportunity and is a massive awareness play. However, the TV spot alone is only one piece of the pie and marketers that don’t have an air-tight digital campaign in place lose out to savvy competitors who are able to capture customer intent,” said Dalton Dorne, VP of Marketing for Merkle. “This year’s Digital Bowl saw the biggest shift in what it takes to win in the social media category. Advertisers that got back to basics with clear messaging and easy-to-participate-in campaigns won the day.”