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Q&A With A Marketing Strategist

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Q&A With A Marketing Strategist


Over the past couple of years, I’ve asked some tough questions like:

Now, I keep asking these questions because I believe that SEO experts, content marketers, social media marketers, and digital advertisers can learn some important lessons from brands that spend up to $6.5 million for a 30-second spot during the “Big Game.”

And with Super Bowl 2022 just days away, even the YouTube Official Blog just posted “Get Pumped for the Super Bowl with YouTube AdBlitz.”

Author Sadie Thoma, Director of US Creative Works, noted:

“According to a Kantar survey, when excluding those that don’t care about sports or don’t plan to watch the Big Game, 72% rewatch at least some football commercials before or after the game.”

Heck, those fans can even watch the first teasers and commercials on the AdBlitz channel.

For example, examine official big game ads like “A Clydesdale’s Journey | Budweiser Super Bowl 2022.”

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Or, watch action-packed ads like “The Call | Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show OFFICIAL TRAILER.”

Or, check out comedy ads like “First question: Do you like saving money? | Shop with Honey.”

Instead of telling you what I think about Super Bowl ads again this year, I decided to ask Matt Voda (the CEO of OptiMine, a consumer privacy advocate and nationally recognized expert in marketing strategy) if he wanted to tackle some tough questions, like “Why are some brands pulling out of the Super Bowl while others are going all-in?” or “How effective are Super Bowl ads?”

Why Matt?

Well, he advises some of the world’s largest companies including Twitter, Bed Bath & Beyond, Overstock, Best Buy, Verizon, and more.

He can provide real-world insights from conversations he’s having with his clients around this exact topic.

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Plus, as the CEO of a software company that provides a cloud-based cross-channel attribution for both digital and traditional marketing, he knows how different brands can make dramatically different decisions – or have such dramatically different answers to this question…

Should We Advertise In The Super Bowl?

Here are my questions and his responses.

Greg Jarboe: “Marketers assume that each brand may evaluate the costs and benefits of a Super Bowl ad differently for a few reasons – one being their goals and objectives for a Super Bowl ad might be different. What should a brand be asking themselves in this regard to determine whether or not a Super Bowl ad is worth it?”

Matt Voda: “It all starts with the brand’s overall strategy, and then making sure that marketing objectives are aligned with that strategy.

Importantly, even given the substantial expense of a Super Bowl ad investment, it should be examined within the broader marketing plan.

Said more simply, the Super Bowl ad should never be ‘the plan’ on its own.

Then, the questions will follow more naturally depending on the overall business strategy.

If a business has a significant market share opportunity but lacks brand awareness to grow share, then a natural marketing question should be, ‘Where can we drive the strongest awareness within our target market most efficiently and effectively?’

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Through this lens, the Super Bowl investment may or may not be the best choice depending on a set of alternatives. But at least the question is tethered to the business strategy.”

How Analytics Drive Super Bowl Ads Success

Greg Jarboe: “Not every brand advertising in the Super Bowl will have sophisticated marketing analytics to measure the performance of these ads entirely. Why will brands with the best analytics make better, more informed decisions over time when it comes to making a decision like advertising on the Super Bowl?”

Matt Voda: “Investing in the Super Bowl is an extremely expensive proposition.

Viewed through a longer-term lens, the brands that understand the true impacts of their marketing investments will make consistently smarter decisions over many different marketing channels over the long term.

As a result, they’ll be more cost-effective with their investments and will grow their businesses and profitability more predictably compared to competitors with a business intelligence disadvantage.

The Super Bowl, as big a decision as it is, is just a subset of a total set of marketing and business-building decisions a brand makes and the quality of those decisions – as informed by better analytics – leads to better outcomes.

Smarter, more informed brands compete more effectively and put themselves in positions to win.”

Adopting An Agile Approach to Analytics

Greg Jarboe: “Measuring the economic impacts of a Super Bowl ad is much different, and more difficult, requiring a new breed of agile marketing analytics. What do these include and why does it matter?”

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Matt Voda: “Traditionally, brands have focused only on measuring the reach of their advertising efforts.

For example, if a brand seeks to reach its target audience 4-6 times during a time period and it is determined that this reach has been achieved, brands may count that as ‘success.’

But you can quickly see that this completely ignores the business impacts of the investment. Modern brands will also seek to understand the economic impacts – the hard dollar metrics – of these decisions.

But even that isn’t enough.

To move to a thoroughly modern, agile approach to analytics requires speed, flexibility, and the ability to run faster ‘sprints’ to get to the right answers most quickly.

This agile shift requires the right tools, technologies, and investments in analytic approaches that are built for the modern era.

Traditional analytic approaches are too slow, too brittle, and serve up answers too late to be impactful.”

Why Are Brands Opting Out Of Super Bowl Advertising?

Greg Jarboe: “Many of the brands who’ve decided to pull out of this year’s Super Bowl have likely figured out how to achieve the same goal using other means, channels, and approaches. What might this look like?”

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Matt Voda: “Many of them have probably figured out that there are alternative approaches to achieve the same goals; approaches that don’t require the investment premium that the Super Bowl represents.

Also, savvy brands have figured out ways to co-opt the big game event with their campaigns without having to advertise directly during the big game itself.

For some brands, this means using digital channels such as social or video to get the same impact. It allows them much more precise audience targeting while reducing wasted impressions served to audiences outside of their targets.

The Super Bowl is an extremely large shotgun. Unless you are selling a product with a very wide consumer appeal, it can be really inefficient for brands with a more narrow consumer set.”

Parting Thoughts

Greg Jarboe: “Why are brands who have run ads for years deciding to drop out this time around? And why are brands deciding to return?”

Matt Voda: “It is likely that their analytics have given them a new perspective on this decision.

Or, in some cases, the brand’s business strategy may have shifted and this has caused them to evaluate this decision through a different lens.”

Greg Jarboe: “Matt, let me ask you a question that’s been asked in the past: Is a Super Bowl ad the equivalent of lighting money of fire?”

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Matt Voda: “If a brand is putting most of their budget into a Super Bowl ad, and it is not part of a more comprehensive marketing plan aligned with the business strategy, then the Magic 8-ball answer is: All signs point to yes.”

Greg Jarboe: “Finally, let me ask you this: Are Super Bowl ads worth the money or is YouTube an alternative?”

Matt Voda: “This is a matter of the goal or objective and also has to do with the company’s product or service.

For more niche products that appeal to narrower audiences, then digital video represents a compelling alternative.”

More resources:


Featured Image: Brocreative/Shutterstock

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SEO

Link relevancy trumps volume for SEO

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Data speaks Link relevancy trumps volume for SEO

30-second summary:

  • Earned media coverage is more valuable than ever for your website
  • Digital PR is just as important as technical SEO
  • A large volume of links is the goal, what’s stopping someone from picking the most newsworthy idea, even if it has nothing to do with your client?

In 2022, it’s impossible to deny the benefit that digital PR as a tactic has on an organic growth strategy. Earned media coverage is more valuable than ever for your website. You could be doing everything right for SEO, but if you’re not building links, you’re still missing out on the increased search visibility, organic traffic, and brand awareness that backlinks bring to your business.

Last year, Google’s John Mueller finally weighed in on digital PR as a tactic and confirmed what we’ve all known for a while now: that it’s just as important — if not more — as technical SEO.

As digital PR is still a relatively “young industry” that’s only just sprouted up in the past 10 years, many PR pros have relied on “viral” campaigns to boost the backlink portfolio of their clients. These viral campaigns are often celebrated but are often created with little regard to how relevant, or “on-brand” those ideas really are.

After all, if a large volume of links is the goal, what’s stopping someone from picking the most newsworthy idea, even if it has nothing to do with your client?

In 2022, link volume is no longer the goal (or shouldn’t be)

While many PR pros’ were evaluating their success around this one key metric (link volume) others in the industry have suspected for a while now that the relevance of linking coverage is a key factor Google looks at when assigning “value” to links.

Once again, John Mueller has settled the debate about link volume vs link relevance,  coming out in 2021 and saying that ‘the total number of links’ doesn’t matter at all.

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This clarity has helped refocus the digital PR industry and forced PR pros to re-evaluate what metrics and KPIs we need to be focusing on to drive true organic growth.

It’s no longer enough to be ‘popular’ you also need to be relevant. Not just in terms of the publications you are targeting, but the keywords you want to rank for,  audience interest, and most importantly, brand alignment to the story you are pitching in.

Google is continuously looking to become more intelligent through its use of machine learning and artificial intelligence. It wants to understand web content as a human, and therefore through its use of natural language understanding, it is likely to not just be looking at the anchor text of links in third-party articles, but it is also wanting to understand the wider context of the article that a brand is placed in.

How to ensure your link-building activity is relevant to your brand

The first steps to coming up with relevant content ideas for your digital PR campaign are to:

  1.  understand your client, and
  2.  understand your client’s audience and their needs.

Every good idea will flow from these two pillars.

If Google’s main objective is to show the best content to users through search, then your job is to create content that either supports your client’s product or service or supports their customers.

It is more important than ever to not only create relevant and on-brand content in the written form but also ensure that any supporting assets created (video, images, audio) are also relevant to the target keywords and services or products that the brand sells.

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In addition, it’s important to create content that engages people, to drive further buzz and positive sentiment around the brand, all of which contribute to greater brand awareness and affinity among your potential customers.

How to measure the relevancy of your backlink profile

We now have the technology available to us to be able to understand and assign quantifiable metrics to the relevance of linking coverage (or indeed the relevance of any text-based content) – which allows us to be much more data-driven and targeted when developing digital PR, link creation activity and competitor and marketplace analysis.

For example, natural language understanding tools like Salient, measure the relevancy of both off-page and on-page content. Tools like this help to understand how a search engine is viewing a brand’s content, it not only enables us to identify the gaps in our client’s backlink profile.

At Journey Further, we use this proprietary tool to measure the relevancy of both off-page and on-page content for our clients.

Measuring the relevancy of your backlink profile

We can use this tool to understand how a search engine is viewing a brand’s content, it not only enables us to identify the gaps in our client’s backlink profile but also aids us in optimizing its content on-site. The outcome of which – is a much more focused, effective, and measurable digital PR activity that is better aligned to SEO objectives and that delivers better ROI for clients.

Looking ahead to 2023

Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, it’s likely that Google will only continue to develop better technology to understand web content.

All digital PR campaigns should reflect this, and where possible, be multi-faceted, not just relying on a single press release to get cut through. We need to be thinking as marketers, not just SEO practitioners, and ensure we are driving as much ROI as possible. Taking a brand plus performance approach to SEO and digital PR will therefore be key.


Beth Nunnington is the VP of Digital PR and Content Marketing at Journey Further, leading Digital PR strategy for the world’s leading brands. Her work has been featured in The Drum, PR Moment, and Prolific North. Find Beth on Twitter @BethNunnington.

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