Postgame Wrap-Up: 2019 Super Bowl Digital Advertising Insights

Amrita Hemdev
By Amrita Hemdev
February 13, 2019

The New England Patriots may have risen to victory on the field during the 2019 Super Bowl, but which advertiser categories won the ad battle?

The Super Bowl is an extremely desirable content to advertise on. Viewership in the United States is huge: more than 100 million people tune in, putting it far beyond other media events. By comparison, the Oscars, which is the second biggest event, only had 30 million viewers in 2017.

What is noteworthy here is the fact that the Super Bowl generates enormous hype around ad content. People talk about the advertising before the game, during the game, and after the game. Often viewers watch the Super Bowl primarily to see and discuss the advertising.

As the research shows, viewers tune in for very different reasons. Approximately 58% watch the big game to cheer on their beloved teams, while 46% watch specifically for the commercials. Some viewers are only interested in the halftime show.  

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest advertising opportunities in the world and choosing to invest in advertising during the Super Bowl is always a tough decision for advertising executives and media companies. Even after the game is over, the Super Bowl buzz stays front and center in headlines and water cooler conversations, and taking a closer look at advertising data will help you make sense of the strategies behind the buzz. We’ve compiled a list of 5 key stats from our data that will help media companies, advertisers, and brands up your advertising game next year.

To get the best return on investment, media companies and digital advertisers need to take some time to truly understand Super Bowl viewing demographics and learn from trends derived from previous campaigns that ran during this span of time. Keep reading to find out interesting data and insights from the 2019 Super Bowl campaigns supported by ZypMedia to help you make your next Super Bowl digital advertising plan be your best yet.


The duration of ZypMedia Super Bowl campaigns ranged from one week to one month, and most advertisers preferred 10 or fewer campaign days.

Businesses ran ad campaigns during the week of the Super Bowl leading to game day on Sunday, February 3, to engage viewers and support their sales or brand awareness goals.

Advertisers need to show ads at the time when it makes the most sense to reach their targeted viewers while they are in the zone for watching the Super Bowl. Advertising during the game is essential, but it’s also a good idea to start exposing your targeted audience to your campaign in advance so you have enough time to retain your client’s or your brand in the viewer’s mind. This may mean running teaser ads that lead up to a full reveal during the game, or simply running the same creative to familiarize the audience with your brand.

Rather than allotting your digital advertising budgets toward long-running campaigns, it makes more sense to focus on a short date range to run a focused Super Bowl digital advertising campaign.


The products chosen by advertisers to reach their target audience was a mix of over-the-top (OTT), pre-roll video, and digital display ads. Fifty-five percent of clients preferred OTT digital video campaigns and 35% of clients preferred digital display campaigns, while the remaining 10% preferred an online video campaign.

OTT digital video campaigns were heavily opted for by advertisers for the Super Bowl weekend trifecta.

As the consumer’s video consumption trends are evolving, the industry is adapting quickly, and technologies are embracing this change by coming up with a lot of advancements in TV. Nowadays, streaming sports and live content on ad-supported OTT devices is common and demand for OTT advertising is growing by leaps and bounds.

This year, we saw 55% of our clients buying OTT ads for the Super Bowl ad campaign to reach their OTT-streaming audiences.

According to a recent report from IAB, 73% of viewers who regularly stream video have watched ad-supported OTT, and 45% say they watch ad-supported OTT most often. More than half, or 52%, of ad-supported OTT viewers are cord-cutters or cord-shavers.




The highest-performing advertiser category was food and drink constituting 28%, followed by automotive at 24%, health and fitness at 19%, education at 15%, and home and garden at 14%.

At ZypMedia, the top categories of advertisers that ran Super Bowl focused campaigns in 2019 were: food and drink, automotive, health and fitness, education, and home and garden.

Food and drink topped our advertiser category chart.

At any Super Bowl party, there’s usually a pretty even split of people who are there for the game and those who are all about the ads in between plays. Super Bowl Sunday is a day for indulgence. The football holiday drives a heightened amount of food consumption during super bowl parties, alongside a lot of drinks to wash it all down. Food and drink advertisers strategize to use this environment to their advantage by trying to motivate viewers who are already in a mood to indulge in good food and beverages.

The second-highest performing advertiser category was automotive constituting at 24% of Super Bowl campaigns.

Timing a car purchase strategically is important for buyers that are looking to find the best deal possible. Certain holidays provide good buying opportunities since manufacturers traditionally offer special incentives. The football holiday is a good opportunity to influence a huge amount of viewers to begin thinking about a new car purchase, and to influence their awareness of available models and their benefits. Advertisers should leverage this fact and act upon selling ads to automotive dealers who want to up their sales during this holiday.



All the advertisers used managed networks as a tactic for targeting selected audiences.

Advertisers use managed networks to target groups of sites that are frequented by the type of viewers they want to reach. The network can be further targeted to be shown only in targeted locations.

For Super Bowl ad campaigns supported by ZypMedia, advertisers used networks like ‘adults interested in football network,’ ‘family network,’ ‘adults interested in cars network,’ and other along similar groupings.


The video-completion rate (VCR) from all the OTT campaigns was above 97%. Our ad operations team observed the highest-performing click-through rate (CTR) between February 2-4, 2019.

OTT campaigns can be run for a shorter duration, unlike other digital campaigns that need a longer duration of time to see the results of optimizations.

VCR is the percentage of all video ads that play in entirety. 

A CTR is the measurement of the ratio between how many people are exposed to the ad and how many people actually click the ad. A higher CTR during Super Bowl weekend indicates that more people were watching or clicking on ads during that time, which supports the idea that the Super Bowl weekend period, which was February 2-3 this year, was the most active time for running Super Bowl ad campaigns.


This year’s learnings should be applied to next year’s digital advertising game plan.

Taking a look at this year’s campaigns and sales figures for your next year’s campaign will help you make better business decisions. What had better ROI: OTT or display ads? Campaigns that use data improve their marketing ROI 15-20%. Looking at data will help you focus your attention on your highest-performing channels and highest-converting customer bases.

Want even more insights to help you launch digital advertising holiday campaigns?  Subscribe to our newsletters to learn more about the digital products we offer. We live and breathe digital, and can’t wait to help you out!


Picture of Amrita Hemdev

Amrita Hemdev

Amrita is an inbound marketer. She studied marketing and project management at UC Berkeley and proceeded to work in a fast-paced, digital advertising tech startup, with a goal of increasing brand awareness. She is currently the Content Marketing Specialist at ZypMedia. Passionate about digital marketing and having six years of experience in this field, she also started her digital marketing and creative agency, Sociato, based in India.