The big game is fast approaching, and you know what that means — brands investing big budgets for a 30 second slice of the action, and smart brands getting their foot in the game online, even without the official advertiser badge.
Pixability powered its video ad buying and marketing technology to measure and analyze the success of last year’s Super Bowl ads on YouTube in advance of Super Bowl 50. We uncovered several key findings that advertisers should consider in their strategies before, during, and after the big game.
Release strategy matters: publish early!
Brands followed three different strategies for ad publication: Preview, Teaser, and Surprise. Brands that published early generated on average 1.6 million+ more views per video than brands that published the day of the game (excluding the outlier of Liam Neeson).
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Where to publish? Cross-platform, especially on YouTube.
Releasing cross-platform can significantly increase views (versus publishing on one platform alone), but the top Super Bowl ads on YouTube generated 3.4X more total views than the top Super Bowl ads on Facebook.
What kind of content works best?
Across industry categories, auto, tech and fast food ads generated the highest view growth (in aggregate) in the days leading up to and after the Super Bowl. Outside of official advertisers, when analyzing Super Bowl-related content on YouTube, music content earned more than 75 percent of total views, followed by comedy/parody content.
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Non-official advertisers, get creative!
Newcastle created satirical Super Bowl-related video ads that proved highly popular on YouTube, with a sophisticated YouTube strategy that even included teasers for their fake Super Bowl ad. The ad and teasers combined ultimately generated 2.4M views, and the campaign drove more than 600 new subscriptions to Newcastle’s YouTube channel. Newcastle’s YouTube channel saw higher subscriber growth over the course of 2015 compared to similar beer brands – Heineken and Samuel Adams – that didn’t advertise in the Super Bowl, while beer brands that did advertise on television during the game – Budweiser and Bud Light – saw comparable or slightly higher subscriber growth throughout 2015.
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Content cadence matters.
A consistent content strategy beyond the big game is key to maximizing Super Bowl success on YouTube. Newcastle’s YouTube channel enjoyed a spike in views leading up to the Super Bowl, but views dropped off for the remainder of 2015 due to inconsistent publishing. Newcastle could sustain its Super Bowl-related success by implementing a year-long content strategy on YouTube, capitalizing on other events like the Rugby World Cup, and implementing an integrated paid/organic strategy.
Case in Point: The NFL.
The Official NFL YouTube channel was established in Dec. 2014 in advance of Super Bowl 49. Since the big game, the NFL’s channel has experienced significant growth in total views, subscribers, and engagements, through a sophisticated content strategy of consistent uploads of new video content and curated playlists throughout the offseason.
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Pixability’s Data Science team is already tracking the 2016 Super Bowl advertisers. Stay tuned for data and analysis of this year’s top performing Super Bowl ads, interesting year over year changes, and data-backed findings for advertisers planning for the next big game. 
Download the full pregame report here.