A 30-second Super Bowl advertising slot is selling for $7 million this year, an all-time high, according to AdAge. While there is a certain prestige to advertising in the professional football championship, companies can reach the same number of consumers for far less money through the creator economy.
More than 208 million viewers watched last year’s Super Bowl, according to the NFL, making it the single biggest advertising event in the U.S. It is difficult to get that broad reach in one advertisement through any other medium, but it’s also costly, said Craig Huber, media analyst at Huber Research Partners, a media research firm. The $7 million price tag doesn’t include the money companies spend on production, he said, or the cost of hiring celebrities to appear in ads, which can exceed $1 million.
Some of the biggest creators on platforms like YouTube, TikTok and Instagram can reach huge numbers of consumers for much less money. Major creators like Jimmy Donaldson, also known as MrBeast, and Felix Kjellberg, who goes by PewDiePie, have a combined total of 242 million subscribers on YouTube. They charge companies anywhere from $500,000 to $2 million to work with them but for ongoing sponsorships rather than single posts, said Brian Sorel, COO of influencer marketing company NeoReach, in an email. These sponsorships typically last one year for creators like Donaldson and Kjellberg, he said.
Super Bowl advertising has its advantages as well. When companies advertise through the game, they reach a broader audience than when sponsoring creators, whose audiences typically skew younger, said Huber, the media analyst. Promoting products like cars, alcohol and financial services to young audiences who can’t use them isn’t the best use of advertising dollars. At the same time, younger audiences are more impressionable, he said, which can be advantageous to advertisers, because once a consumer’s habits are formed, they are difficult to change.
Crazy. If anyone wants to reach 100M people for less then $7M just let me know 😂
— MrBeast (@MrBeast) February 1, 2023
Honey has earned 1 billion views with MrBeast
Donaldson, or MrBeast, YouTube’s biggest creator, receives an average of 144 million views on each post. Honey, an online coupon company, sponsors him and is featured in all of his videos. Donaldson also links to the site in the description boxes. Honey has received more than 1 billion views from MrBeast for $3 million, or less than half the cost of a Super Bowl ad, according to NeoReach data.
In one video Donaldson posted with Honey’s sponsorship last June, he built a replica of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and had guests compete for prize money. The post reached 128 million people and garnered 153 million views just that month, according to NeoReach data. The video production would have cost Honey between $250,000 and $400,000, which is a better use of funds than a Super Bowl ad, Sorel said.
Advertising through creators is also more trackable than television advertisements. Companies can monitor how many social media users click on their link, how long customers spend on their site and how many sales they made, all originating from a single post, Sorel said. While Super Bowl viewers might watch an ad on television and make a purchase later, a company won’t know if that sale originated from the ad or something else.