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Forget Pittsburgh and Green Bay — Google Wins the Super Bowl

Friday, 4 Feb 2011 | 4:21 PM ET
Google
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Google

The Super Bowl isn't just the biggest TV advertising event of the year, it's also one of YouTube's biggest events of the year. Advertisers are determined to eke out the biggest possible bang for their Super Bowl ad buck, so they're increasingly going online to support their TV ad spend.

That means a massive spike in traffic for YouTube, with dozens of millions of visitors nd a huge boost in ad revenue for Google.

YouTube is hosting its fourth annual 'Super Bowl Ad Blitz' — posting Super Bowl ads online for viewers to view and vote as soon as the game ends. The voting continues for about a week and the winning ad is featured prominently on YouTube's home page, valuable free ad placement.

For the first time AdBlitz will be available on mobile devices, which should send traffic through the roof. People socializing after the game at Super Bowl parties will be able to pull up ads without the hassle of finding a laptop. Plus, YouTube's mobile views have tripled in the past year — which means people are now getting used to watching video on their phones. There's no doubt, YouTube will surpass last year's 42 million video views.

Google doesn't charge marketers to post their ads on AdBlitz, but there are a number of other ways this initiative generates revenue. YouTube cashes in on the spike in traffic. Once people go to the site to check out one video, they usually stick around and watch many more. The more videos YouTube streams, the more ads the company displays.

Business of the Super Bowl - See Complete Coverage
Business of the Super Bowl - See Complete Coverage

And Google sells ads supporting 'AdBlitz' — directing people already on YouTube to watch certain spots. And Google's ad push goes beyond just YouTube. A huge range of Super Bowl advertisers, from Budweiser to VW, are buying regular Google search ads to direct web surfers to watch their ads. (Search for funny Super Bowl ads and a rotating selection of ads from major marketers will pop up.)

Google also sells YouTube Brand Channels for $500,000. Companies like eTrade and Bridgestone have ponied up for dedicated, branded pages both on YouTube and the mobile platform. Jim Lecinski, Google's Managing Director of U.S. Sales won't tell me how many of the Super Bowl advertisers have committed to these pages, but he did say that they're continuing to strike deals right now and will post many more pages before Sunday.

The Super Bowl has had an important impact on the way marketers approach an ad campaign. It's been effective to extent Super Bowl ad campaigns online, so marketers are starting to do that with other events — like the Oscars, or product launches. And all that ads up to more revenue for Google.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.