Adweek: Captify’s Global CRO, Brendan Condon—Coinbase’s Super Bowl Ad Certainly Drove Interest. But for Who?
It doesn’t happen during every Super Bowl, but every few years an iconic commercial airs that will be remembered long after the winning team becomes a historical footnote.
I believe this will be the year that crypto goes mainstream. But once the buzz dies down, what will these brands have to show for their investments?
Many have declared Coinbase’s retro, bouncing QR code the big winner (including Adweek) of Super Bowl 2022. But in spending nearly $14 million on a 60-second spot, chances are the cryptocurrency exchange was betting on getting in front of folks who are actually interested in its product, not just causing a traffic spike of an audience with no intent to actually use it.
Search data from Captify found that when it comes to actual intent (as expressed by onsite consumer search behavior), Coinbase was second to Crypto.com in terms of viewer interest generated by a Super Bowl commercial. In other words, there’s no arguing that the unique nature of the spot piqued viewers’ interest and caused them to sit up and scan the QR code—but were they the right audience? Was Coinbase’s website crash purely a result of unexpectedly high traffic? Coinbase’s campaign highlights the importance of getting addressability in TV right.
From nascent to notorious
Overall, Sunday was a big moment for mainstreaming the crypto market. Coinbase became one of the most hotly discussed brands on Twitter, and its landing page saw 20 million hits within a minute of the ad airing. These initial reactions indicate the crypto brands that advertised—Coinbase, Crypto.com, and FTX—made a splash during the Super Bowl and successfully reached an audience beyond their core of early adopters.
Of course, awareness is important, especially in an emerging category. But when taking a closer look at behavior post-exposure to the ads, there are two major questions that should come to marketers’ minds: Will they leave a lasting impact on a wider audience, and did they capture new customer interest?
Interestingly, digging into onsite search data, consumer searches for the general crypto industry remained steady—but critically, interest shifted away from the overall category toward brand-specific intent. This suggests many consumers that were already researching crypto are now looking to invest in a specific brand.
However, while there was much hype around Coinbase in the trades and on social media, search data reveals that the Crypto.com ad actually did a more effective job of leveraging audience interest in the space to drive brand-level intent. Crypto.com saw the biggest increase in search volume of crypto advertisers, up 122% on game day and 665% on Monday, followed by Coinbase at 63% on game day—but a mere 5% on Monday.
The Coinbase commercial took viewers directly to their site through the QR code—however, based on search behavior, it appears that some of this traffic may have been driven by curiosity rather than actual meaningful interest. On the other hand, consumers were actively seeking more information on Crypto.com after being exposed to the ad, on game day and even more the day after, indicating that the brand successfully brought a mid-funnel audience further toward conversion.
TV’s role in a compressing marketing funnel
It’s important to note the audiences that triggered this shift. While there wasn’t a major change in the overall crypto audience composition from pre- to post-Super Bowl, heightened interest is coming from existing, core crypto audiences. Here’s what happened week-over-week:
A digital-savvy audience went from making crypto-related searches 11.5 times more than the average consumer to 18.6 times, while a “finance” audience went from 4.7 times to 8.6 times, and millennials went from 2.5 times to 4 times.
The ability to hit the right audiences in addressable environments can play a critical role in eliminating waste as TV shifts from a pure awareness medium to a performance medium, with the addition of action-inducing, measurable creative components.
Television is no longer only a passive, “lean-back” form of advertising—commercials are now generating measurable impact. QR codes, as well as innovations like shoppable ads, trigger consumers down the funnel far faster, leading to seismic shifts in how marketers think.
Addressability in the new age of TV advertising
It’s ironic that a digital-only execution wouldn’t have worked—the efficiencies and reach of TV are what made this level of scale possible. But it’s clear that to drive efficiency and return on ad spend, TV audiences do require refinement.
We are now at a major turning point where brands can achieve both addressability and scale with TV advertising, and the Super Bowl is the perfect opportunity for this combination. This example provides a clear illustration of the importance of data-driven TV campaigns and using signals beyond demographics to do so.