Merkle is a well respected marketing agency that over time, has acquired a long list of companies each demonstrating their own unique expertise in marketing. Merkle has been in business more than 25 years, are a Fortune 1000 company and several leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with them for marketing services. About 3 years ago they began compiling an annual “Digital Bowl Report” that measures the effectiveness of a brand’s total digital media investment during the big game… AKA The Super Bowl.
TurboTax Wins Big in the Digital Bowl Report
Merkel’s Digital Bowl Report looks closely at how a brand’s digital presence supports it’s Super Bowl advertising investment. It covers all aspects of the digital marketing mix including Social Media, SEO, Paid Search (SEM), Digital Media & Email Marketing.
Brands were evaluated by their performance in this diverse group of categories. In the category of social media, they were judged based on the content they were creating, how they were engaging with users, and their overall rates of conversation. In social media one of the most important factors is real-time responsiveness. How fast can a brand respond to customer messages and drive the conversation? For SEO, points were awarded based on the quality of their landing page, overall optimization, discoverability and a clean and friendly mobile user experience. In the PPC or paid search category, judges looked at relevant keyword targeting, ad copy, and a clean & relevant landing page experience. The digital media portion of the contest was judged based on a variety of different factors from whether a brand had “teaser” video content for retargeting and was doing “real-time” or programmatic ad buying, live during the game. Brand’s who took advantage of a direct email list to activate existing customers also scored bonus points.
One of TurboTax’s strongest suits this year according to Merkle’s data was their SEO positioning. They used microdata to showcase a 4.7 star rating of their “Federal Free Edition” software in search results. They also had a well designed mobile optimized landing page that ranked well for Super Bowl related searches. In the “digital media” category Turbo Tax leveraged tracking pixels to build re-targeting lists and take complete advantage of a huge rush of traffic thanks to a well placed TV ad. On top of all this, the brand used many versions of their pre-roll YouTube ads paired with companion banners which also fed into Super Bowl related keyword searches. Finally, this all encompassing digital strategy was backed with well placed and managed social media support.
Return on Investment Wins the Game
To sum, the brand that won the day is the one that did the best job of leveraging digital media to get the best possible ROI from their Super Bowl investment. An ad during the Super Bowl is one the US’s most prestigious marketing opportunities. It’s a chance to get your brand in front of millions upon millions of people. But in 2016 Television is only a small piece of the pie and marketers who don’t have a digital strategy in place will lose ground to their more savvy competitors.
We congratulate Intuit and Turbo Tax’s marketing team for the incredibly thorough and outstanding job!