What a $6.5 million Super Bowl ad can buy in digital media

The feature image is an illustration of people sitting in front of a TV watching sports.

Brands advertising in this year’s Big Game are reportedly spending $6.5 million for a 30-second spot. The price tag makes Super Bowl LVI the most expensive game to advertise in to date, up $1 million from last year’s $5.5 million. 

But for a chance to get in front of millions of viewers during arguably the biggest sporting event of the year, brands like Frito-Lay say that cost is justified. And in light of the ongoing pandemic limiting live events and opportunities, the Super Bowl may be even more important for marketers this year. 

To put those costs in perspective, here’s a peek at what $6.5 million can afford a buyer in the digital arena. (Find our previous tallies here, here, and here.)

650 million impressions on a Facebook advertisement

Facebook has been working through major pain points over the past year, from a whistleblower accusing the social media giant of acting in bad faith to its first reported loss of users. Even so, it remains a dominant player. Per a media buyer’s recent estimates, a Facebook ad could cost media buyers around $10 on average. With $6.5 million, buyers could get up to 650 million impressions.

843 million impressions on a TikTok ad

Over the last 18 months, TikTok has emerged as social media’s golden child, having reportedly passed the 1 billion user mark in a shockingly short time and research showing that the short-form video app’s ad offerings are effective and sticky. That being said, brands may be looking to TikTok as an alternative to the Super Bowl, and could get about 843 million impressions on a paid post for $6.5 million. According to a media buyer, TikTok’s CPM averages around $7.71.

915,000 clicks on an Instacart search ad

As the pandemic continues, fans of the Big Game may opt to have their wings and beer delivered via grocery delivery and pick-up services this year. Instacart has spent the last year ramping up its ad offerings, making it a strong retail media contender for advertisers looking to get more bang for their buck. According to one media buyer, $6.5 million could get a brand anywhere from 577,000 to 915,000 clicks on Instacart search ads. Ahead of the Super Bowl, Instacart search ads come with a price tag ranging from $7.10 to $11.25, up from the average $5.70 to $9 range.

4.2 million Google search clicks

Since the beginning of January, Google Trends shows an uptick of searches around the Super Bowl, with people looking to answer everything from which teams are playing to who’s performing. Advertisers looking to capitalize on that stand to generate anywhere from 3.4 million to 4.2 million Google search clicks for their Super Bowl spend. At present, Google search ads are going from $1.55 to $1.90 cost-per-click, significantly up from the average $.20 to $1.16 thanks to the Super Bowl, per a media buyer.

1.7 million clicks on Amazon sponsored display videos

Amazon attracted $31 billion in ad revenue last year, which means advertisers are no strangers to spending big with the retail giant. For $6.5 million, advertisers could get anywhere from 1.2 million to 1.7 million clicks on an Amazon sponsored display video ad. One media buyer said Amazon’s sponsored display videos fetch anywhere from $3.75 to $5.30 ahead of the Big Game. Typically those prices range from $3 to $4.25, per the buyer. 

30 days of TikTok branded hashtag challenges

For the price of a Super Bowl spot, media buyers say advertisers could get 30 days worth of TikTok branded-hashtag challenges. At present, a hashtag challenge can run advertisers $650,000 for three days, one media buyer added. For more context, launching a joint venture or product line with influencer Jimmy Donaldson, also known as MrBeast on social media with more than 33 million followers, would likely run an advertiser around $5 million, or $1.5 million less than a Super Bowl spot (based on funding for his last venture). Alternately, $6.5 million could get 6,500 posts from a TikTok micro-influencer with some 10,000 followers.


More in Marketing

Cannes Briefing: Digiday’s guide to the 2024 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

Here’s Digiday’s guide to the 2024 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Why Euro 2024 is ‘a big step change’ for the areas advertisers will rely on

Digiday identifies the key marketing battlegrounds at this year’s tournament.