Four predictions for the Super Bowl ads of the future

Jason_Friedlander_HeadshotBy Jason Friedlander, Director of Product Marketing

To many of us, Super Bowl ads are as much a part of the game as touchdowns and quarterback sacks. Whether it’s an Orwellian Macintosh ad or a spot about a little boy, Mean Joe Greene and a Coke, spectators have come to expect a big-budget, envelope-pushing spectacle during every commercial break. Eager to access the big game’s audience of more than 100 million, advertisers shell out top dollar for these spots. According to Sports Illustrated, the average 30-second Super Bowl ad this year will cost more than $5 million.

But soon the advertising model that’s been in place since the 1970s will be as much a relic of the past as the Houston Oilers. That’s because in five years, instead of big, monolithic shared national experiences, Super Bowl ads will be pieces of dynamic content hyper-targeted to individual viewers. Here are four ways that 2023’s Super Bowl ads will look completely different.

1. Every viewer will see different Super Bowl ads.

In 2023, you won’t be able to discuss Sunday’s controversial Super Bowl commercials around the water cooler at work on Monday, because you and your co-workers won’t have seen the same ones. Instead, you’ll each have watched a personalized stream of ads tailored to your individual tastes and interests, enabled by dynamic server-side ad insertion (DSSAI).

The introduction of DSSAI has already transformed live and on-demand video streaming today by enabling content providers to serve up fully dynamic, targeted ads that actually get viewers to convert. But it still hasn’t made inroads into large national broadcasts, where advertisers continue to chase broad, undifferentiated audiences with big handshake deals. They still haven’t fully cottoned onto the idea that a hyper-relevant ad shown to 10,000 viewers can be worth as much as, if not more than, a more generalized ad shown to 1 million.

In the next five years, we’ll see DSSAI prove itself as a more cost-effective and transparent alternative to traditional one-size-fits-all TV advertising. By the time of Super Bowl LVII in 2023, advertisers will be less willing to shell out millions of dollars for an ad spot with an irrelevant message and with an impact that can’t be tracked. Instead, they’ll invest money in making sure that each ad gets in front of the viewer with whom it resonates most.

2. Ad creative itself will be personalized.

When I say ads will be targeted, I don’t just mean that viewers will be served ads for products relevant to them; I mean that the ad creative itself will be tailored to each viewer’s individual tastes and preferences. A video ad might feature the team they are rooting for in the big game or even their favorite player on that team, based on their Google searches or social media posts. Or it might include music they’re likely to enjoy, based on their Spotify listening habits, and so on.

What’s more, all of these adjustments to ad creative will be made programmatically, without the need for human intervention. Dynamic creative optimization is still in its infancy today (it was just rolled out for Facebook display ads in September 2017), but within five years, it will become the default for all premium video and TV ads. By Super Bowl LVII, brands advertising on TV will always know exactly who they’re talking to, and they’ll want to use that knowledge to maximize relevancy.

3. Viewers will be able to order products from ads with the click of a button.

Today, if a Cheetos ad reminds you that your Super Bowl party is running low on snacks, your only way to act on that is to send a friend out on a grocery run. Similarly, if a car commercial catches your eye, your only way to learn more about the model on screen is to Google it on a computer or mobile device, maybe not until hours after the ad plays.

Within the next five years, however, TV advertising will become integrated with virtual assistant and smart home technology, so that Google Home or Amazon Alexa will know which products are being shown on screen. You’ll be able to have AmazonFresh deliver snacks to your door with a click of a button and pull up more information on the car with a simple voice command. We already know that targeted advertising increases conversions; by reducing the friction inherent to the purchase process, the integration of Alexa into the advertising ecosystem will multiply that impact.

4. There will be in-game ads during every lull.

Once advertisers understand the value of highly targeted programmatic advertising, they’ll want to show it as often as possible without interrupting the game. During regular season games today, some broadcasters already show in-game ads when the ball is returned to the midfield for the next play. In the future, we’ll see this trend extended to almost every pause in play, and the ads themselves will become increasingly personalized, just like the ads that will play during commercial breaks.

The Super Bowl ads of the future may not trend the next day on Twitter, and it may not play during a commercial break at all. However, thanks to technologies like DSSAI and dynamic creative optimization, it’ll be much more effective at doing what ads are meant to do: get people to buy things without disrupting the viewing experience.

Contact us to learn more about the future of advertising and what it holds for viewers of large-scale live events.