TurboTax Takes First Place Spot in Merkle’s Seventh Annual Digital Bowl Report

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Report Highlights Advertisers’ Digital Marketing Efforts During Super Bowl LIV

Merkle, a leading technology-enabled, data-driven performance marketing agency, released its seventh annual Digital Bowl Report, evaluating Super Bowl advertisers’ 2020 digital marketing efforts. This year, TurboTax and Avocados From Mexico took first and second place, respectively.

“The Super Bowl is one of the most crucial moments of the year for advertisers, and with viewer consumption habits evolving, the game presents an opportunity for brands to reach and engage with audiences in new ways”

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Merkle’s annual Digital Bowl Report analyzes how well Super Bowl advertisers supported their advertising campaigns across digital channels including social media, paid search, SEO, and digital media. This year’s winner, TurboTax, took home the Digital Bowl for a second time, with their last top spot taking place in our 2016 Digital Bowl Report. TurboTax unleashed a multi-channel campaign that finished with the top score in two channels and narrowly missed the top score in social. TurboTax achieved this dominance by executing the fundamentals in its organic search; the brand utilized a dedicated landing page featuring its commercial and YouTube videos. TurboTax also featured strong coverage in digital, paid social and video, and outshined other performers with its TikTok hashtag challenge, which garnered over 100 million views.

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“The Super Bowl is one of the most crucial moments of the year for advertisers, and with viewer consumption habits evolving, the game presents an opportunity for brands to reach and engage with audiences in new ways,” said Matt Mierzejewski, svp, search capability lead at Merkle. “Those advertisers that maximize their digital marketing efforts through multiple channels will ultimately see the greatest return on investment.”

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For the 2020 report, brands were judged on the content and pre-game groundwork they created for their campaigns, how they engaged with users throughout the campaign, and how they organized their conversations. Some scored higher if they were agile and creative in their real-time marketing and if their efforts led to in-game earned media lifts. In SEO, brands were graded on campaign landing page optimization, meeting reasonable standards for site speed and security, discoverability, and YouTube optimization. The paid search team reviewed relevant keyword targeting, ad copy, and landing page experiences, along with visibility across device types. Digital media advertising was evaluated based on whether brands were leveraging teaser video content prior to the game and real-time ad buys during the game. Digital media scores were also based on the presence of appropriate display and social media retargeting pixels on web pages, as well as investment in paid social ad units.

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