Advertisers are using social media and other ad formats to get more out of  their expensive messages.

Laying out roughly $5 million for a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl is a significant expense for financial services firm SoFi. Not surprisingly, it wants that outlay to produce results, which is why the ad is one piece of a much larger $20 million brand awareness campaign that launched Jan. 18, says Meg Ciarallo, the company’s vice president of brand marketing.

The Super Bowl ad, which is called “Great, Not Great,” shows a variety of consumers who, depending on their fiscal situations, are deemed great enough to qualify for SoFi’s financial products, which are only available to a select group of consumers. The idea is to build up SoFi’s brand recognition and establish it as an aspirational brand.

But there’s one problem with that goal: “30 seconds is a short amount of time,” Ciarallo says.

That’s where the broader marketing campaign fits in. SoFi launched Facebook and Instagram ads focused around the theme “A Bankless World.”


“What is great about Facebook is that we can reach the same number of people as we can with a Super Bowl ad,” she says. “But we can do so in a way that presents our ads only to the people who we think are potential members.”

The company reaches its desired demographic by using Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences tool. That tool lets marketers direct ads at consumers who share similar traits to its customers that SoFi identifies on Facebook using the platform’s Custom Audiences tool. Custom Audiences lets brands identify their customers on Facebook and Instagram using non-Facebook information, such as their email lists. SoFi supplements Facebook’s capabilities with those offered by performance marketing agency Merkle, which uses publicly available data to develop models that identify potential SoFi customers. SoFi then presents those likely customers with video ads on Facebook and Instagram, as well as carousel ads that enable consumers to scroll through a variety of images within an ad. 

SoFi, which is also advertising on a number of prominent podcasts, aims for the campaign to help it tell a wider, more complete story than it can tell in a 30-second ad.

The story is similar for a number of Super Bowl advertisers, such as web development company Wix , which also is turning to social media to boost the impact of its Super Bowl ad.


Wix, for example, is running a Super Bowl ad for the second year in a row as part of a broader brand awareness campaign that launched Jan. 13 with teasers of its Super Bowl ad on Facebook. The Super Bowl ad, developed in collaboration with DreamWorks Animation, highlights characters from “Kung-Fu Panda 3.” The ad shows the characters trying to boost publicity for a restaurant featured in the movie using  unorthodox marketing techniques before realizing  it’ss easier to launch a website using Wix.

Last year’s Super Bowl ad, which was also accompanied by a Facebook ad campaign, was “ROI positive,” says Shani Mor, the company’s head of online marketing. That success  is why Wix is taking a similar approach this year.

Using Facebook’s Accelerated Delivery tool, an ad-delivery format that launched in August that maximizes the reach of an ad at a premium cost per click, Wix aims for a wide swath of consumers to see the Facebook teasers.


“We think the Facebook ads will make our Super Bowl ad more entertaining,” Mor says. “That’s why we want to try to cover as large an audience as possible.”

While advertisers on Facebook may not pay the same types of premiums as they do to air a TV ad during the game, many marketers do increase their spending on the social network during the Super Bowl, according to data from Nanigans. The ad automation software provider says Super Bowl ad spending on Facebook jumped 15% in 2014 and 16% in 2015 compared to the previous Sunday. And, last year, mobile ads accounted for the bulk of that growth, Nanigans says. In turn, mobile click-through rates on Nanigans’ customers’ ads jumped 14% during the game compared to the previous Sunday.