Why the NFL on Amazon is a Prime environment for brands, regardless of ratings

In the lead up to the premiere of Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video, Amazon told advertisers to expect less viewers per game than last season. 

Since the NFL announced Amazon would stream some of their games, critics were nipping at Amazon’s ankles. They said that older fans wouldn’t be able to figure out how to use Amazon Prime. And any drop in viewership would mean failure for Amazon. 

They’re missing the point.

Last Thursday’s inaugural stream of the Chargers at the Chiefs almost certainly delivered an impressive audience. Kudos to the teams at Amazon and Twitch for delivering a great and engaging experience at scale.

The truth is, live sports will continue to be the economic centerpiece for TV advertising because nothing else has the ability to convene an engaged audience at scale. Like the great philosopher Pete Townsend once said: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. 

Some things never change. The NFL is still the king of big, engaged audiences, but only focusing on audience size misses the point completely. 

The ultimate goal, after all, is driving results. And of course, our industry now has better metrics than just eyeballs.  Top brands are now asking themselves:

  • Are we reaching the right kind of people with our placement? 
  • How engaged are those people with our ads in that context? 
  • How likely are our consumers’ actions to predict brand performance after seeing our ad?

At EDO, we believe that advertising engagement drives outcomes, and that performance has to be measured in real time. There’s no better signal of human intent than search. We’ve proven it, and we work with leading brands and networks to use this data every day to better plan and optimize their media investments. 

Here are some predictive performance highlights EDO clients are seeing  (so far*) from NFL Thursday Night Football on Prime Video:

  • How many incremental branded searches were generated? 
  • Which brands had the best performing spots?
  • For brands with multiple ads — like Mercedes-Benz’s SIX spots — how does engagement change (especially with a contextual integration)?
  • How are emerging brands’ celebrity investments — like the new Dr. Squatch campaign with Justin Herbert — performing inside and outside of the NFL? 
  • Who won the battle of sports betting brands — like DraftKings, FanDuel, and even Underdog Fantasy — which continue to increase their investment in the NFL? 

*And since we all know the fortunes for NFL players (and advertisers) change every week, check back regularly for EDO’s latest predictive performance data for brands.

We can all agree the goal for brand advertisers is ultimately growth. And wouldn’t you know it, Amazon happens to move more than a few items on their website. With Thursday Night Football, Amazon will stream video to Prime customers (who are just one click away from buying almost anything). Amazon is betting that its bold TV rights deal pays off in an entirely different way. It’s a move worth watching.

And neither the NFL nor Amazon are known for coming up short.

Want more NFL ad insights? Check out EDO’s public ranking of top NFL ads, updated weekly.