USA Today Expands Super Bowl Ad Meter | Adweek USA Today Expands Super Bowl Ad Meter | Adweek
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USA Today Takes Its Ad Meter Beyond the Super Bowl

Sees room to expand

Ad Meter: It’s not just for Super Bowl ads anymore. USA Today is expanding its Super Bowl ad-rating platform to other categories of sports media. Ad Meter: The Year in Sports will invite sports fans to vote in categories like Best Sports Marketing Campaign and Best Athlete Endorsement Ad. Online voting will take place on Ad Meter’s digital hub in November, with the winners to be announced Dec. 9 at an event in New York.

The Gannett daily is trying to carve out a stronger identity among the other national newspapers, and one way it’s seeking to do that is to amplify social engagement (after all, the paper claims to have its finger on the pulse of the nation’s conversation). This past Super Bowl, Ad Meter judging was opened up to consumers (before, it was done by a hand-picked panel), resulting in 20 million pageviews in the 48 hours surrounding the game, up from 9 million the year before.

“We’ve tapped into that popularity of sports, that phenomenon that people want to weigh in,” said Tom Beusse, president of the USA Today Sports Media Group. "The Ad Meter has been the gold standard. It's just been underleveraged."

USA Today sees more room to expand the Ad Meter concept, which hadn’t been used for a non-Super Bowl event since 1997, around the finale of Seinfeld. A mobile app for the Tony Awards was launched in April, and USA Today president and publisher Larry Kramer is looking at extending it to other events like the Oscars, as well as other sports franchises like the World Series and the Final Four. Basically, the platform could apply to other events that have ads created specifically for them.

Extending the Ad Meter isn't just about getting more interaction with readers, though. Beusse said that the consumer data it collects through the platform can be sold to or shared with advertisers. "The more we can gain, the more of a service we can provide the marketer," Beusse said.

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