Ask an iSpot Expert: Video Creative Effectiveness

In our new series “Ask the iSpot Expert,” one of our very own at iSpot walks us through their area of expertise in TV and video advertising measurement. To kick things off, we sat down with Peter Daboll, Chief of Strategy and Insights at iSpot and the former CEO of Ace Metrix (an company). 

Super Bowls come and go, but the ads are forever. No really, they leave a lasting impact on the industry and raise the advertising bar for the rest of the year. In our post-game webinar hosted by Ad Age, we revealed what it took to win Super Bowl LV (it’s not too late to watch if you missed the live event). Now, Peter Daboll joins us to wrap up the Super Bowl LV season with creative assessment takeaways that apply to any TV advertiser, whether or not they have a “Big Game” budget.

1. Is there a one-size-fits-all metric for assessing Super Bowl ads, or ads in general?

Generally, no. One-size-fits-all metrics are usually only measuring one thing, such as attention or likeability. Super Bowl is a high-risk endeavor, so understanding how viewers react from a variety of angles﹣emotion, breakthrough, information, or purchase intent for example﹣gives a more specific assessment of a creative’s strength as it relates to what the brand is trying to achieve. Plus, there is no “one great Super Bowl ad”﹣there are many paths to greatness such as humor, product-centric, or purpose-driven approaches. One metric could never successfully address that variety.

2. Not all Super Bowl ads are created equal and it shows. What are the critical creative assessment components when producing an effective Super Bowl-worthy ad?

Super bowl ads have to be worth the money. It’s the highest reach event of the year, so one of the most important components is to make sure your ad resonates with a large, general audience. It’s a waste of money to advertise a niche, narrowly targeted product. Secondly, it’s critical that the ad works every second. Some marketers make the mistake of running a: 90 or 1:20, but the ad doesn’t keep viewer interest. At close to $200k per second, you don’t want viewers saying the ad is “too long”.

3. Between the cost of production and airtime, brands fork out millions on one 30-second Super Bowl spot. However, those resources are not realistic for every brand and every campaign. How can the average TV advertiser (with budgets big or small; niche to broad target markets) apply findings from Super Bowl LV ads?

The principles are the same, just not the spectacle. You have to get the viewer to pay attention in the first place, remember the brand being advertised, create a positive reaction, and ultimately influence behavior. To achieve this, testing and retesting is important to make sure objectives are met.

4. What are the biggest risks marketers avoid when testing creative pre-market?

In a word “blindspots.” Brands and creative teams spend countless hours and creative energy producing the work. They can often become too attached to it and lose objectivity about reactions from real-world viewers. In today’s social media and cancel culture environment, one miss can have unrecoverable blowback on a brands perception. 

5. In addition to pre-market, why should advertisers incorporate in-market testing into their creative assessment strategy?

Extending pre-market testing is important to evaluate the overall success of a campaign from the creative, the placement, the business outcome, such as a conversion. In-Market creative assessment can illuminate why a particular creative is working, and why another is not, so real-time course-corrections can be made. 

6. How can advertisers incorporate creative assessment within their media measurement strategy?

It’s pretty simple really. Brands should test video ads early and often in pre-market stages, and continue to measure brand impact throughout the in-market campaign, isolating creative metrics that predict business outcomes. Then, use those metrics to help formulate the creative brief and measurement strategy for the next campaign. 

Competitive context is essential throughout this process. Brands won’t get an accurate measure of in-market performance if they evaluate their ads in isolation without comparing results against every other ad out there.

Interested in learning more? Schedule a demo today to find out how you can start applying these best practices with Ace Metrix Creative Assessment. For a deeper dive into the brand impact and performance of Super Bowl LV ads, download our final report. 

About the Author

Sammi Scharninghausen is a Marketing Manager at She covers brand impact, TV advertising trends and industry events. For questions and inquiries, please contact