Marketing Strategies to Win the Super Bowl Ad Performance Game

Ryan Bateman
by Ryan Bateman 30 Jan, 2015

Super Bowl ad campaigns and omni-channel strategies are gaining in popularity and complexity every year. They are fun and interactive, and attract a huge amount of attention. However, brand equity hangs in the balance as ads become more interactive and are aligned with calls-to-action that involve advertisers' Web and mobile sites.

For advertisers, it is crucial that they have plans in place to make the most of increased attention homepages or landing pages will to get as a result of the big game exposure. This year, some Super Bowl ad spots have only recently been sold and everyone needs to get their game-on right now to win. 

Spending $4.4 million for 30 seconds of air-time with less than a full month to prepare is risky without the right strategy in place. IT and business teams - if they aren't already up to speed - must get smart now about application performance management (APM) to be sure they don't end up pointing fingers and playing the blame game instead of doing a victory dance post-game. 

Here are four straightforward, winning performance strategies that Super Bowl marketers need to jump on right away:

1. Slim down

Looking at performance test results from last year, top-performing ads all kept their content optimized in terms of size (page weight). The smaller the Web page in terms of byte count, the faster it can be delivered. Faster delivery results in:

- Better end user experience

- Higher likelihood to share positive experiences on social

- Higher conversion rates

- Better omni-channel experience (across phones/tablets/desktop browsers)

- Better ROI. You'll keep costs down with service providers and CDNs. 

2. Optimize your third-party services and simplify 

Looking even closer at lessons from last year, top performing ads tend to use fewer third-party services. Telling marketing to stop using a Facebook commenting plugin or less analytics/tracking tools is tough, but you need to scrutinize the value of each of these services. 

When pages are shouldering the biggest load they've ever seen, it isn't the time for complex service calls. Also, careful with those tied-in social and interactive elements. We've seen load-balancing and DNS propagation issues in several cases, especially when ads are asking people to submit pictures/stories/tweets and other sharing.

3. TEST!

The best NFL teams have the best practices. Last year we saw that the biggest faults stemmed from classic and obvious problems. Think about how much you spent on SEO and SEM this year. How does it compare to your testing spend? You know certain color sign-up buttons with certain keywords above-the-fold yield better conversion rates, but do they contribute to performance testing or quality assurance efforts? Proactively addressing performance problems now will help conversion rates stay strong.

4. Track everything

Measure the entire digital experience. Gather performance metrics on every single user transaction. Sampling these metrics will miss key elements like entry page performance, exit page performance, what a good experience looks like, etc. Be careful though - as many tracking plugins could violate tip #2 above and introduce detrimental performance dependencies. 

A robust APM game plan will position advertisers for victory on Super Bowl Sunday. So just like NFL coaches who talk about "offense, defense and special teams" as the keys to victory, companies paying millions of dollars for airtime can use these four APM guidelines as strategic elements to winning on big on February 1st -- and all year long.

About the Author

Ryan Bateman (@ryanbateman) is a marketing director at Dynatrace. He has been working in the IT and Telecommunications industries for over 10 years with experience in all forms of data communications. In his 6-plus years at Dynatrace, he has spent considerable time experimenting with digital technologies and social media. Ryan also enjoys cynicism, soccer, basketball and video games.