Over the years there has been a wide array of research, including by the authors, supporting the notion that the quality of content surrounding advertising provides a kind of halo effect, improving the recall and impact of the ads. However, viewer investment in the content adjacent to an ad hasn’t been investigated in the same way.
For live television events with uncertain outcomes, such as sports games, awards shows and reality show competition, personal investment in the outcomes can be intense, with the potential to considerably increase engagement and advertising impact.
To study this, Dynata evaluated five ads from this year’s Super Bowl using our creative testing platform (formerly Ameritest) to understand how viewers who are deeply invested in the outcome of the game reacted to the ads, compared with those with less interest. We found that ad impact across the board was strongly tied to how much skin you have in the game, especially in the lower funnel.
Engagement with the ads as measured by ad recall was meaningfully stronger among those respondents who were rooting for one of the teams playing in the Super Bowl, compared with those who weren’t (67% versus 61%, respectively). Moreover, ad recall was much stronger for those who bet on the games (see the chart).
The additional engagement shown by fans and bettors clearly impacted ad recall. Interestingly there was no difference between the Bengals or Rams fans, which makes sense given that recall may not be as tied to the emotional context of winning or losing the game.
As we move down the brand metric funnel, the impact of investment in the game was much stronger. Impressively, there was more than a 40-point increase in conversion metrics from the lowest-invested group (non-rooters) to the most financially committed (bettors). While each of the ads had a somewhat different conversion metric, ranging from purchase consideration to intent to shop at the retailer, there was a strong, statistically significant increase in conversion intention across all five Super Bowl ads that increased in concert with how much “skin” one had in the game, regardless of metric or industry.
Critical to these insights are the moment-by-moment emotions elicited by each of the ads we tested (capability provided by Ameritest’s Flow of Emotion®). This process allows us to understand how these emotions are tied to viewers’ memories of the ads.
In the results below, it is clear that essentially all of the moments in the beverage ad, for example, generated more positivity among those who bet than those who rooted for a team without betting. Those who neither bet on the game nor rooted for one team or the other to win had the lowest degree of positive emotions.
This research provides significant support to the idea that people who are more invested in the outcomes of live competitive content carry that engagement over to the advertisements that accompany it. Heavily invested NFL fans were more likely to recall seeing the ad, to like the ad, to be favorable to the brand advertised, to consider using that brand in the future, and to be positive about the ad creative.
These results also suggest that other live events beyond sports, such as the Oscars, the Grammy’s, or “American Idol” may drive higher return on ad spend (ROAS) among those invested in the outcomes. It also supports the excitement around emerging industries, like virtual sports. The more heavily invested in the outcomes viewers are, the better a brand’s ads are likely to perform.
For marketers, this has strategic implications for media placement. Not every brand can buy a Super Bowl ad, but they can use these findings to target their ads to these highly receptive consumers. Sports fans, bettors and other greatly invested viewers can be used to identify publishers and to create high-value audiences for activation. This research suggests that such audiences could have a profound ROAS for advertisers that use them.
Learn more about Dynata’s creative testing solution, used in this study, and about its other advertising solutions.