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DATA REPORT: Super Bowl Ad Costs Over the Years

Start stocking up on chips, dips, and drinks for your Super Bowl party because the big game will be here before you know it. While some will be tuning into the head-to-head competition, others will be looking out for this year’s lineup of creative new ads during the commercial breaks.

Advertisers spend a great deal of imagination, energy, and a whole lot of money to make these commercials “must-see TV”. The SQAD Data Team looked at how much they have been paying, on average, over the years.

Year Ad Cost
2014 (FOX) $3,892,542
2015 (NBC) $4,198,719
2016 (CBS) $4,504,348
2017 (FOX) $4,515,789
2018 (NBC) $4,359,110


Looking at the past five years,

  • Ad prices during the Super Bowl increased the most over the course of two years 2014 to 2016
  • Prices jumped 7.3% from 2014 to 2015 then increased another 6.8% from 2015 to 2016
  • From 2016 to 2017, ad costs remained relatively unchanged, with a 0.3% increase
  • From 2017 to 2018, prices went down 3.6%

Most advertisers have not entered their final buys into their housekeeping systems for this year’s Super Bowl, so 2019 numbers are still evolving. Once the final numbers are in, we’ll see if this year continues the downward trend, or if things are looking up for the Super Bowl ad prices.

UPDATE: 15-NOV-2019 to reflect 2019.

All data provided by SQAD MediaCosts: National (NetCosts). For more information, please visit our website: www.sqad.com/mediacosts/national

By |January 22nd, 2019|SQAD Data Reports|0 Comments

5 Game Changers Every Advertiser Must Know in January 2019

SQADPOD: 5 Game Changers Every Advertiser Should Know – January 2019

Industry news and insights podcast curated from the world of advertising and marketing trends.

As we launch into a new year, everyone seems to be bombarded with emails that need to be answered, tasks that need to be done, and of course – lots of news stories to read up on. To help you get on track, we’ve gathered the advertising industry trends you need to know. This month we are talking about Netflix’s new advertising weapon, Nielsen and Comscore’s format war, scarily targeted OOH ads, Amazon’s free sample program, and Facebook’s messaging merger plans.

1. Choose Your Own Ad-venture

A recent episode from Netflix’s “Bandersnatch” brings a new spin to this mind-boggling, twisting, turning story where viewers are given 10 seconds to choose between two story options, for scenes throughout the show. The choices made determines the progression of the story, and the subsequent choices available. It’s not unrealistic to imagine Netflix taking this “choose your own adventure” to the next level with programmatic product placement. Suppose in one scene the viewer chooses the story line with a Ninja Blender rather than a Hamilton Beach. Throughout the show you keep seeing that product you chose. Your choices can also reveal a lot about who you are including your age, gender, education, and income level… which they can use to deliver even more relevant product placements to you throughout the episode. Imagine the possible partnerships with retailers like Amazon to better target you with products and offer one-click buy options directly from within the show. There is a huge potential for this type of adaptive marketing to change the game, and Netflix has a head start on the competition.

2. One Impression to Rule Them All

We’re seeing all the telltale signs of a fast-approaching format war as we watch Comscore and Nielsen circle each other in the boxing ring, both vying for the title of cross-platform measurement king. While Comscore takes the charge on digital, Nielsen claims the traditional TV side – both working to break into each other’s domain to provide “one impression” to rule them all. This year, both companies are working to roll out new tools for advertisers to measure both traditional linear TV and digital streaming. Publishers and advertisers are waiting (not so patiently) for the one score to accurately measure the reach of their content across all mediums. Just as VHS and Betamax fought head-to-head for format domination, so too will Comscore and Nielsen, and the outcome could be game-changing for the industry.

3. This Billboard Ad Knows What You Bought Last Week

In today’s world, there are no limits to what advertising is capable of (until we factor in privacy concerns, of course). Imagine waiting at a bus stop with one of those digital ads that shift every 30 seconds. The next thing you know, there’s a Walgreens ad suggesting items like shampoo and toothbrushes. The billboard seems to know what’s on your shopping list – and that’s because it does. This is a scene from a very plausible future of advertising, where smart billboards will be able to track who you are based on your loyalty and rewards cards from your favorite stores. When you come within the vicinity of a programmed billboard, the advertisement will change based on who you are and your buying habits that are tracked on your card. NXP, a semiconductor company, is envisioning this type of advertising with their latest card chip technology, which was presented at this year’s CES conference. How it is ultimately implemented will be up to advertisers, but we can already foresee all the data and privacy issues that will need to be addressed before this takes off. But if/when it does, it will take targeted OOH advertising to a whole new level.

4. Amazon Thinks You Want Free Samples

What better way to  convince people to buy a product than to give them a free sample to see it in action? That’s exactly what Amazon has in mind and why they automatically enrolled all their users into a product sample delivery program – which will send samples based on your purchasing history. The company maintains this will help users discover products they probably don’t know about but might buy if they’ve tried it. This is basically taking the “suggested items” list and weaponizing it for advertisers. You can bet Amazon will be monetizing this sample strategy and charging advertisers big bucks for this level of targeted sample delivery. Obviously, free samples are not new, but the fact that all users were automatically subscribed to the program, and advertisers can target their promotion strategy based on buying history, is what Amazon thinks will change the game.

5. Messaging Merger Means More Money

Facebook is working on cross-messaging capabilities for its massive communication network of apps: Messenger, Instagram, and Whatsapp – which together boasts of more than 2.6 billion users worldwide. The intention behind the merge is to keep users engaged within a single communications space and to compete against Apple’s iMessage platform. This is starkly different from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s original plan to keep the three companies separate and the integration has caused tension between the platforms. Obvious concerns revolve around the handling of private information and data. With the integration, more users would spend more time on Facebook’s sites and thus allow it to add more data to its already existing treasure trove for advertising targeting purposes. While many within the companies expressed confusion over why Zuckerberg is deciding to do this, the answer seems pretty clear: more data means more advertising means more money.

By |January 17th, 2019|Game Changers|0 Comments

DATA REPORT: NFL & NBA Year-Over-Year Ad Cost Analysis

We’re in the thick of winter sports season, and advertisers are gearing up for some big numbers. Fans are tuning in to their favorite football and basketball teams as both the NFL and NBA seasons are in full swing. The SQAD Data Team ran comparisons of this year’s ad costs (so far) against last year’s to see how the seasons stack up. Check out the data below.


Dates: 9/7/17 – 11/15/17
Network: NBC
Average: $616,429

Dates: 9/6/18 – 11/15/18
Network: NBC
Average: $598,830

2017 vs. 2018

Average unit costs for the 2018 NFL Games (regular season) are about 2.9% less than last year.


Dates: 10/17/17 – 11/15/17
Network: TNT
Average: $54,790

Dates: 10/16/18 – 11/15/18
Network: TNT
Average: $70,247

2017 vs. 2018
Average unit costs for the 2018 NBA Games (season so far) are about 28.2% more than last year.

By |December 5th, 2018|SQAD Data Reports|0 Comments

DATA REPORT: Impact of NBC Prime Pods on Advertising Revenue

Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising Sales and Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal

NBCU officially rolled out their Prime Pods this season, which are 60-second pods of targeted advertising during its original primetime broadcast and cable series. There has been a lot of industry coverage about the premium pricing of Prime Pod spots, so the SQAD Data Team decided to review the reported transaction data from our contributors to see if it aligns with this reporting.

After comparing year-over-year average unit costs for “The Good Place”, “The Voice”, and “This Is Us”, the data does not appear to show a significant change in average 30-second ad costs. Although the industry reports an increased value for these specific Prime Pods – up to 75% reported by Adweek – the aggregated data from transaction reporting does not seem to support that supposition.

Further review of the raw data would be required to make a definitive judgement, but from our preliminary review of the reported transactions in the MediaCosts: National (NetCosts) system, we are not able to identify a significant increase in specific 30-second spots on NBCU programming featuring Prime Pods.

The graphs and data below show the year-over-year unit cost trends for each show.

The Good Place

Overall Season Average

2017: $111,518

2018: $115,362

Average unit costs in 2018 are 3.4% higher than last year.

The Voice

Overall Season Average

2017: $202,675

2018: $205,645

Average unit costs in 2018 are 1.5% higher than last year.

This Is Us

Overall Season Average

2017: $440,153

2018: $450,889

Average unit costs in 2018 are 2.4% higher than last year.

By |December 3rd, 2018|SQAD Data Reports|0 Comments

5 Game Changers Every Advertiser Must Know in November 2018

SQADPOD: 5 Game Changers Every Advertiser Should Know – November 2018

Industry news and insights podcast curated from the world of advertising and marketing trends.

2019 is quickly wrapping up and the holiday season is in full swing. The air is filled with winter spices and twinkling lights are popping up everywhere. As we unpack our festive decorations and prepare for celebrations with family and friends, we’re also looking at the news and trends in the advertising world. This month, we’re diving into Stories, Roku’s advertising plans, ad tech transparency, Disney+, and the first-ever programmatic VR campaign.

1. Facebook Stories: An Advertising Fairy Tale?

Facebook is betting big and claiming that their Stories feature is the next frontier of social media advertising. Now that the feature is available across their platforms including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, Facebook’s robust advertising service believes Stories will be even bigger than Timeline advertising. Stories are photos and videos uploaded in the vertical format that disappear after 24 hours, and are meant to be a fleeting glimpse into the lives of users (a blatant clone of Snapchat’s core feature). Facebook is selling advertisers on Stories because of the reach across all of Facebook’s verticals, which amounts to about one billion Stories per day. Ads appear innocently in between Stories users are browsing, and are so quick, that they’re done before you have time to skip them. The scale and promise of this platform is an advertiser’s dream, but it may take some time before they are a reliable source of lead generation and tangible ROI. If Facebook is right, and Stories are the next big ad channel, it’s only a matter of time before advertisers saturate the feature, users get annoyed, and Facebook is forced to find other social media marketing avenues. Until then, expect to see Facebook driving users to engage with Stories, and a lot more ads popping up there.

2. Roku’s Strategic Pivot to Advertising

Nowadays, it’s all about over-the-top. It’s OTT this, OTT that. But is a solely subscription-based streaming service truly sustainable over time? Roku, who made its name in video streaming, believes the future of OTT lies in a combination of ad-free streaming subscriptions and ad-supported services. Roku’s GM of the Platform Business reports that the service is seeing an uptick in ad-supported viewing across all demographics and income levels, which is why it is slowly but surely transforming itself into an advertising business, without having to rely on streaming alone. In addition to being a distribution platform for apps from other companies, Roku is boosting its advertising efforts by creating its own channel called the Roku Channel, which offers content from TV and digital publishers. Some publishers believe the channel will one day be the entryway into the Roku subscriptions in the same way SiriusXM teases new subscribers with their Channel 1 radio. Managing its own content channel makes sense because it gives Roku full control over ad sales, as opposed to getting a cut from the video publishers that stream content on the platform. eMarketer projects Roku’s advertising business will rake in $293 million this year, and is on track to becoming one the biggest players in ad-supported streaming video services.

3. Increasing Ad Tech Transparency

When it comes to demand-side platforms (DSPs) in ad tech, there’s often a sense of mistrust from advertisers because DSP services are typically based on a percentage model – whatever amount advertisers spend on media, DSPs typically take about 15 percent. Mistrust arises when advertisers wonder if the DSP is increasing ad spend because they are truly optimizing a campaign, or because they will get a larger percentage payout from a bigger ad buy. Adelphic, a cross-platform programmatic ad platform owned by Viant, is looking to shift the DSP landscape with the introduction of a subscription model for programmatic ad buying. Instead of taking a percentage cut of the media spend from advertisers, it will charge a flat rate of $3,000 a month regardless of how much the client spends in ads. While the subscription model comes with some fine print (this is the price they charge per seat on the account and there is a minimum of a 12-month commitment) it does reduce the amount of mistrust advertisers may have about DSP firms. Adelphic hopes this pricing model will draw more clients and build long-term trust as focus shifts from percentage payouts to ad performance metrics. Subscription models are characteristic of companies like Salesforce and Adobe, and Adelphic has the potential to shake things up for programmatic by offering increased transparency.

4. Disney+ is a Plus

We now have a timeline for the much-hyped, long-awaited streaming service from Disney – they have officially announced the launch of Disney+ for next year. The service will include a trove of its most loved brands including Disney, Pixar, and Marvel – and you can bet we’ll see even more if they’re successful in acquiring 21st Century Fox (which will also add National Geographic to the list). Disney is also announcing new original programming, including a new “Rogue One”- related series. With the existing content and the various projects in the works, there is a lot Disney will be bringing to compete in the battle for streaming subscription dominance. To make the competition even more confusing, if the Fox deal goes through, Disney will officially own a majority stake in Hulu, which will add to its streaming potential. While Disney+ will still promote family-friendly content and Hulu will remain more for general audiences, there is no knowing how the streaming landscape will shake up with a new player in the arena.

5. Bringing Programmatic Ads into VR

The virtual world within the confines of a VR headset is meant to transport you to new locations that simulate reality and provide an escape. As you walk down the streets of a virtual city (real or imagined) you’ll see commercial buildings, residential apartments, parked cars, store awnings, and of course, out-of-home advertisements (to add to the realism). Until now, the billboards on the sides of virtual buildings, on bus stop stations, on top of taxis are just generic graphics filing the space, but with new advances in technology they may not be generic for long. These virtual billboards are about to become real-life programmatic ads, targeted specifically to the users and continually optimized to garner the maximum amount of engagement within the virtual space. This is the ambition of virtual reality companies Oath and 360i, who recently partnered to promote National Geographic’s docu-drama “Mars” within VR environments. This will make it the first-ever programmatic VR campaign. Users will see the ads posted within the VR world as they would in the real world, and will be designed to be as immersive as the environment around the users. If this works, and as VR programming and adoption increases, programmatic ads within VR may attract more brands to advertise in virtual reality, the same way they do in the real-life. Are we seeing the dawn of a new virtual advertising world? We’ll have to see. A lot more people will need to get goggles before this technology can truly change the game.

By |November 16th, 2018|Game Changers|0 Comments

NBC Cancels ‘Megyn Kelly Today,’ Took In $180M In Ad Sales

By: Wayne Friedman
October 26, 2018

Over the past year, SQAD says the show’s 30-second unit commercial pricing for “Kelly” was at a high November 2017, over $18,000, to a low of around $13,500, and then rising to more than $15,000 in April…

Read more at: MediaPost.

By |November 2nd, 2018|In The News, News Room|0 Comments

5 Game Changers Every Advertiser Must Know in October 2018

SQADPOD: 5 Game Changers Every Advertiser Should Know – October 2018

Industry news and insights podcast curated from the world of advertising and marketing trends.

The leaves outside are quickly changing from orange to yellow to brown, and the cool temperatures are a not-so-friendly reminder that winter is right around the corner. But, before we replace the jack-o-lanterns and spooky decorations with turkeys and decorative gourds, it’s time to take a look at the advertising trends that are haunting the industry. This month, we’re diving into marijuana marketing, Adobe’s acquisition of Marketo, Amazon’s fight for the spotlight, Google’s data breach, and futuristic Alexa ad technology.

1. Cannabis Marketing Puts the “pot” in Jackpot

Marijuana is officially legal for recreational use in Canada, and as legalization continues to march across North America, some advertisers are getting ready for what may be a minefield of marketing opportunities and perils. Cannabis is projected to be a $200 billion annual industry, and advertising campaigns are already beginning to make their debuts. However, the industry has many obstacles to overcome – even when formally legalized, there are restrictions for how cannabis brands can advertise their products. They cannot explicitly show the drug being used in ads and the ads can only be placed on channels where at least 71.6% of the audience is above 21 years of age. Brands also cannot claim their products have “curative or therapeutic effects”, which is a major argument for the legalization crowd. On top of those restrictions, they face also limitations with digital advertising. Facebook and Google are currently prohibiting marijuana companies from buying ad inventory. Advertising complications will continue to grow so long as the federal government maintains their ban on the drug and more states open the doors. As such, companies are working around the limitations by building lifestyle branding to resonate with the younger millennial consumer – illustrating a carefree and relatable lifestyle of afternoon hiking trips, picnics in lush green valleys, and strolls along the shore during sunrise. Despite the advertising hurdles and legal obstacles, companies big and small see massive potential in weed legalization and are keen on getting ahead of the competition.

2. Adobe’s Makes a Big Move with Marketo

Adobe has long dominated the ad creation space with its variety of offerings like Photoshop, Premier, AfterEffects, Illustrator, Dreamweaver – and now it has bought itself a place in the marketing automation business with acquisition of Marketo. The $4.75 billion acquisition could be a game changer that may establish Adobe as a one-stop-shop for advertising creation and distribution directly to consumers. What is most significant in this story of corporate growth is how Adobe beat out Salesforce. The win puts Adobe in direct competition with Marketing Cloud by Salesforce, and may be a hint at their bigger plans to get more engaged in the transactional side of advertising. In a news release from Adobe, it stated that “adding Marketo’s engagement platform to Adobe Experience Cloud will enable Adobe to offer an unrivaled set of solutions for delivering transformative customer experiences across industries and companies of all sizes.” In response, Salesforce announced the purchase of Rebel, an email outfit platform – an acquisition that looks relatively miniscule when placed next to Adobe’s Marketo purchase. These massive moves will shake up the landscape for both content creation and creative distribution.

3. Amazon Is Disrupting the Duopoly

Amazon’s recent moves to increase their appeal as a viable advertising platform are paying off, with some brands shifting more than half their ad budgets away from Google to Amazon, according to executives at multiple media agencies. Google’s ad business made up 86% of Alphabet’s total revenue last year and seems to be going strong so far this year, although Amazon poses a clear threat to that business. Executives at multiple media agencies are seeing budget shifts to Amazon, particularly for consumer packaged goods and retail – while other brands like automotive and travel are still sticking to Google. Amazon is where retail brands are seeing the needle move in terms of real sales – according to Survata about 49% of product searches begin directly on the e-commerce site. An EVP at Havas breaks down the trend he is seeing at the agency: 20-30% of the company’s clients shift 50-70% of their budgets from Google to Amazon. The industry has been watching as Amazon continues to grow a competitive ad marketplace, moving into the position of a real disruptor to the Google/Facebook duopoly.

4. A Data Breach Means Google+ Gets the Ax

Google shut down its social networking platform Google+ and said it was due to a data breach (that it attempted to cover up) – and definitely not because almost no one used the platform and it had become a punchline for most people in the tech world. The distraction of Google+ aside, the actual breach was serious and impacted hundreds of thousands of users, with the height of the issue occurring around the same time Facebook was trying to put the fire out around the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Google covered up its security problem when it first broke, lest it threaten their reputation of being the most secure tech platform in the world. But with issues as significant as this, it was only a matter of time when the truth is finally revealed. Google decided to disclose the breach in October within the confusing announcement to shut down Google+ – a platform most were surprised to learn still existed. Cover-up aside, data breaches means new security protocols and tighter regulations. This heightened security will make life harder for advertisers who want access to third party data vital to effective ad targeting. On top of that, brands and agencies may need to spend more money to make sure they’re compliant with new regulations. In a way, Google’s ill-fated social network did change the industry… just not in the way they intended.

5. Alexa, Your Personal Health Advisor

You’re lounging on your sofa comfortably wrapped in your fleece throw, ready to watch “Home Alone” for the fifth time. You tell Alexa to turn off the lights and a small cough escapes you. Alexa does as you command, and follows up with a suggestion for a soup recipe as well as an offer for instant delivery of cough drops from your local pharmacy. Welcome to the new world of predictive advertising. This is all part of the new technology that Amazon patented for Alexa that can analyze speech to detect whether you are sick or not feeling well. This creative ad technology goes hand-in-hand with Amazon’s push into the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry (having recently bought Pillpack – a company sends prescriptions straight to homes via post). The new Alexa technology also covers emotional health, so if the device hears you crying, it may play an upbeat song that a record label would have paid to advertise. Or, if it detects from the sound of your voice that you are bored, it may suggest activities that will stimulate your mind – perhaps rock climbing or pottery making in your local neighborhood (all paid ads, of course). This advanced version of Alexa is an indication of how intuitive advertising technology is becoming. Feeling under the weather? Going through a messy breakup? Alexa may soon be the only friend you need.

By |October 25th, 2018|Game Changers|0 Comments

Local Ad Costs Even Easier to Research and Report

SQAD releases MediaCosts: Local update for greater speed and efficiency

SQAD LLC, an advertising research, analytics, and media planning software company, has announced an update to the MediaCosts: Local platform – a local ad cost research database built from actual reported transaction data. The update provides subscribers of the local broadcast TV, cable TV, radio, Hispanic TV, and out-of-home databases quick access to local ad cost intelligence through the streamlined web application.

“Our team has rebuilt the heart of this application, the Report Builder, so our users can be more efficient in their research processes,” says Philip Ragusa, Product Director of SQAD MediaCost: Local. “We’ve reduced the number of pages and clicks involved in building complex cost reports by adding drop-down menus for quick-access to data sets, drag-and-drop building elements, and the ability to save commonly used criteria for future report use.”

The new Report Builder eliminates the need to navigate between multiple screens and selection criteria to create a report. All options are now streamlined into a single page, allowing users to easily choose their report parameters (Markets, Demos, Dayparts, type of metric, etc.) with a simple drag and drop. Select All and Deselect All options have been added to drop-down menus, as well as an easy to read report summary that loads in real-time to show which metrics are being reported.

The updates on our MediaCosts: Local platform give users a more seamless experience when researching data and building reports crucial to their media research strategies.

– Marc Krigsman, CEO of SQAD

“The updates on our MediaCosts: Local platform give users a more seamless experience when researching data and building reports crucial to their media research strategies,” explains SQAD CEO Marc Krigsman. “By providing ad cost intelligence in a more effective way, our clients can be more agile and responsive in their media planning, negotiations, and strategies. This update will help our subscribers make better buying decisions while increasing overall productivity.”

The updated features are available for all subscribers with access to the MediaCosts: Local Suite. For more information about the update, visit SQAD MediaCosts: Local Platform Update.


SQAD LLC. has been an industry leader for more than four decades, processing more than $1 trillion in real transaction ad costs from advertising housekeeping system. Their MediaCosts data includes national broadcast, cable, and syndicated television, as well as local broadcast, cable, and Hispanic TV, radio, and out-of-home advertising. They also provide audience analytics research tools for Nielsen data through SQAD MediaLogic, and provide advertisers and agencies the mission-critical media planning software, MediaTools – a robust and flexible end-to-end media planning solution. Learn more at www.sqad.com.

By |October 11th, 2018|News Room, Press Releases|0 Comments

SQAD MediaCosts: Local Platform Update

We’ve got some exciting news! Our Product Team just rolled out a big update on our MediaCosts: Local platform that allows for even more user-friendly ad planning and reporting.


The Report builder has been redesigned so research teams can generate reports with ease and efficiency. Now you can:

  • Make your selections all on one page
  • Easily mix and match Markets, Demos, Dayparts, type of metrics, etc. with a simple drag and drop selection process
  • Save even more time with Select All and Deselect All options that have been added to drop-down menus to eliminate time-consuming mass selections

In addition, we’ve added an easy-to-use cloning function to the Buying Strategy tool – you can now easily carry over GRP and Factor selections between strategy variations.



In case you missed it, we also released updates earlier this year on the Homepage and the Trend Reports. On the Homepage, we’ve added:

  • Easy access for Recent Buying Strategies
  • Quick drop-down access to:
    • Admin
    • Help
    • Profile Settings
    • A Help section in which you will find Training Resources that houses tutorials and learning materials

In the Trend Reports, you will find:

  • CPM measurements have been added – now users can now toggle between CPMs and CPPs when analyzing data sets
  • A new export function – allows you to export Trend Reports for deeper analytic analysis

Login today to check out all the new features and start planning!

By |October 11th, 2018|MediaCosts Update, News Room, Product Update|0 Comments

Protected: MediaTools 5.5 – Year Over Year Reporting

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