FEATURE23 August 2012

Mobile ad measurement scores a touchdown


Case study: How mobile surveys were used to rapidly assess the effectiveness of Super Bowl ads.


For a chance to reach such a massive audience, marketers shelled out $3.5m (£2.2m) for 30 seconds of commercial TV airtime – the equivalent of $116,667 (£73,751 ) per second.

The ads might debut on TV, but they are created with the internet in mind. Each is designed to go viral, spreading online through social networks, forums and chatboards and ultimately reaching many millions more people than the original TV audience.

Research, of course, plays a pivotal role in evaluating just how successful these adverts are – and the more instantaneous the data the better, especially with social media channels like Twitter pumping out real-time information on the most talked-about ads. At this year’s Super Bowl more than 10,000 tweets were sent each second during the climax of the game.

Mobile assist
Many of those tweets would have been sent via mobile. According to a pre-game survey by mobile ad network InMobi, 45% of respondents estimated that they would spend 30 minutes or more on their mobile devices during the game. In a follow-up survey nearly 40% of Super Bowl watchers said they had used their mobiles to respond to TV ads.

This trend has been the same for a number of years. So it was that during the 2011 Super Bowl, ad agency Allen & Gerritsen worked with Toluna to conduct mobile consumer surveys to assess the 52 commercials as they aired. Partnering with One Point, a mobile survey provider, the survey was created to be short but impactful, so as not to burden the respondent while watching the game.

In the moment
Toluna provided each respondent, recruited from its panel, with a unique code that allowed the company to map a user’s profile to the survey responses. In total, the survey reached 12,045 consumers within seconds of each of the ads being aired, resulting in 7,000 completes. 90% of completed surveys were done so within 20 minutes of delivery.

Using this data to evaluate the effectiveness of Super Bowl ads, Allen & Gerritsen ranked NFL, Chrysler, Coca-Cola, Go Daddy and Audi as the top spots.

The results differed from those produced by Ace Metrix, which specialises in real-time ad effectiveness measurement. But they were broadly similar to those produced by Bluefin, which based its scores on social media comments and YouTube views for each ad.

Allen & Gerritsen found that Super Bowl ads that gave viewers a reason to take action were some of the most popular with viewers, providing chief marketing officers with clear brand leverage for building future business prospects.