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What this unconventional Super Bowl ad means for the future of TV advertising

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February 18, 2022

A 30-second ad spot during the Super Bowl would be a dream come true for advertisers everywhere. It’s a stage for brand agencies to showcase their creativity and spend big dollars to make a splashing impact. This year was no different. Top brands pulled out all the stops to engage their audience using immersive storytelling, lighthearted humor, nostalgia, and of course, lots of celebrities.

Among them, one advertisement stood out: The floating QR code from Coinbase. The ad featured a QR code that changed color as it floated across the screen. The code, with a free $15 bitcoin giveaway, drove enough viewers to crash the Coinbase website. An homage to The Office, the intentionally lo-fi production was the purple cow in the herd.

The floating QR code, Coinbase.

With this unconventional ad, Coinbase got viewers to pause, scan, and engage. The ad brought in over 20 million visits in one minute — six times the anticipated traffic — and lifted its US App Store ranking to the number 2 position from where it previously resided in the 186th spot.

TV advertising, especially during the Super Bowl, is typically seen as opportunities for brands to build awareness and make positive associations so they can better target users further down the funnel. Coinbase upended this traditional approach with an ad designed for direct response. The QR code led millions of viewers to the company’s website where Coinbase could not only measure the ad’s performance but also assess user actions once on the page. At the same time, Coinbase was able to retain the benefits of brand advertising with its unique approach, generating a lot of public buzz and extending the returns for its ad spend.

While Coinbase’s ad may be seen by many as witty marketing to stand out among other high production ad spots, its underlying strategy will soon become an essential toolkit in the new age of TV advertising – the  Connected TV (CTV), where the playing field will increasingly shift toward measurability and performance.

Here’s why the rise of CTV will have an impact on how marketers view their ad spend:

  • Shift of ad spend to CTV:
    As more and more people turn to smart TVs and streaming, so will advertising spend. It is estimated in the US alone that ad spend on CTV will reach over $27 billion compared to 9.03 billion in 2020.
  • Demand for measurability and performance:
  • By virtue of being ‘connected’, TV ads will be more measurable than ever, down to the specific impression. As such, brands will be able to make more data-driven decisions about how their advertising impacts their business results.
  • Enabler of integrated omnichannel marketing:As seen with the Coinbase ad, the merge of brand and performance marketing will become one of standard marketing strategies, and connected TV will be a key catalyst for omnichannel marketing where marketers can engage and connect with users across TV, web, mobile, and in-store.

Moloco has been helping customers explore CTV as a new advertising channel. We found that CTV provides a unique ability to engage audiences through:

  • Immersive, expressive creative in a large screen format
  • Specific calls to action that prompt, and actually measure, user response

For example, one of our customers tested a CTV campaign with an animated creative and a QR code prompting viewers to download the app. They found that the ads drove high quality users compared to their ads on other user acquisition channels. Moreover, using Molocos’s reporting and insights, our customer gathered new metrics and insights into the types of apps and content that delivered the highest performance.

Brand advertising and performance advertising used to be completely separate domains. But they’re getting closer and closer. Marrying the best of both worlds will be a top priority for TV advertising in the connected era.

Reach out to see how Moloco can help you on your CTV journey.



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