temu super bowl ads

Super Bowl Ads – Temu’s Turning Point in Expanding Overseas Market

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In February 2023, Temu made a splash by spending $14 million on two 30-second ads during the Super Bowl. Fast forward to the same period in 2024, and Temu doubled down, purchasing six ad slots during the Super Bowl, with each slot costing around $7 million. This means that Temu’s ad spend for the 2024 Super Bowl is projected to reach tens of millions of dollars. So, what drove Temu to increase its investment after already spending $14 million on Super Bowl ads in 2023? Fundamentally, the main goal was to leverage the American market’s local marketing culture, demonstrate a willingness to engage with local users, and signal the brand’s commitment to deepening its presence in the local market while continuously expanding its reach overseas.

Temu Marketing Strategy

Temu primarily employs two strategies for customer acquisition and attracting new users:

1. Subsidies and Referral Rewards

This approach is similar to the early promotional tactics used by its parent company, Pinduoduo, in China, but with some differences.

First, for newly registered users, Temu offers a $30 discount coupon on orders over $60. Additionally, new users can enjoy up to 90% off their first order, which is almost like getting products for free. For the first three orders, new users receive a 30% discount, effectively encouraging repeat purchases rather than a one-time buy-and-uninstall scenario. This multi-layered discount strategy has proven effective in attracting a large number of new users and ensuring their continued engagement.

To encourage user downloads and registrations, Temu has devised several methods. Inviting friends to register earns the inviter a $20 reward. Furthermore, Temu has implemented Pinduoduo’s traditional “share to get a discount” feature in the US and other new markets, where successful sharers receive a 20% off coupon. Get Temu cashback

Additionally, there are various promotional activities where users can earn rewards by playing games. Existing users can earn cash or large discount coupons by inviting new users to place orders. However, the group-buying model is less effective in the US due to privacy concerns. Despite this, Temu’s aggressive promotional activities have led to widespread organic promotion, with posts about Temu spreading across social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok.

temu's subsidies and rewards

2. Multi-Channel Advertising and Marketing

Temu employs a multi-channel marketing strategy, including social media, content marketing, and affiliate marketing. During its initial phase, Temu showcased its products on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. In its first month, Temu spent around 1 billion RMB on large-scale advertising. According to Meta, Temu’s advertising volume was staggering, with over 50,000 ads running daily across Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. US media reported that Temu’s daily ad spend across these platforms reached $10 million (approximately 73 million RMB per day).

Temu bought most of the available traffic from Chinese advertising agencies, described by one agent as a “black hole devouring all traffic.” The majority of this traffic came from Google and Meta, and Temu was willing to buy as much as agencies could provide, without prioritizing ROI. This massive ad spend led to significant download growth, making Temu the top shopping app on Google Play in just one month. Temu also collaborated with numerous influencers for unboxing and review videos, driving user interest and social media buzz.

In addition, Temu increased its marketing spend, with third-party data showing that its PPC (pay-per-click) expenditure reached $242.4 million by Q3 2023, surpassing Walmart’s $171 million. According to LatePost, Temu’s marketing expenses reached approximately 14 billion RMB within two months of its launch. This high investment attracted a large number of customers, with some US users commenting that Temu ads were virtually everywhere.

These marketing strategies and tactics have undoubtedly brought significant exposure and a large user base to Temu. However, the real turning point was its Super Bowl debut in February 2023.

temu's ads on super bowl

Why Temu Chose the Super Bowl for Advertising

1. Audience Overlap

The Super Bowl audience aligns closely with Temu’s target demographic. Temu sells a wide range of household goods, and the Super Bowl’s viewers, regardless of income, age, or gender, fall within Temu’s user profile as long as they have shopping needs. Temu spent $14 million on two 30-second slots, featuring a stylish woman amazed by Temu’s affordable clothing and accessories, ending with the slogan “Shop like a billionaire.” This slogan effectively communicated Temu’s value proposition—low prices and a wide selection—making it hard for viewers not to be intrigued. As a result, questions like “What is Temu?” quickly dominated search engines and social media platforms.

2. Massive Reach and Credibility

The Super Bowl’s influence is immense, and the event is highly authoritative and reliable. With over 100 million Americans watching the annual championship game of professional football, the Super Bowl is comparable to China’s Spring Festival Gala in terms of reach, impact, and coverage, earning it the nickname “America’s Spring Festival Gala.” In 2022, the Super Bowl drew 99.18 million viewers in the US, and in 2024, viewership reached 123.7 million, setting a new record for the highest-rated TV program in US history.

Advertising during the Super Bowl also confers a sense of credibility and authority, as it’s a stage where major brands showcase their creativity. For instance, Dunkin’s ad featuring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez was highly praised, and Apple’s iconic “1984” ad became a benchmark for Super Bowl commercials. Therefore, the Super Bowl is indeed a platform that can measure a brand’s strength to some extent.

After Temu’s ad aired, it sparked significant online discussion in the US and also had a substantial impact in Canada, where over half the population watches the event. This ad not only boosted Temu’s US business but also accelerated its progress in Canada.

The High Stakes of Betting on the Super Bowl

Temu’s decision to advertise during the Super Bowl was a high-stakes gamble. Launched in the US in September 2022, Temu initially relied on Pinduoduo’s “social virality” strategy, which had short-term success but struggled to sustain growth. The limited reach of social apps abroad and American users’ preference for sharing apps in non-familiar social settings forced Temu to adjust its marketing strategy and focus on public domain traffic.

Starting in January 2023, Temu ran approximately 8,900 ads across Meta’s platforms. That month, Temu’s total visits reached 74.52 million, with transaction volumes hitting $200 million. In February, Temu made a significant investment in the Super Bowl, setting a record for the highest ad price in the event’s history and becoming the youngest brand ever to advertise during the Super Bowl. This large investment paid off, with a 45% surge in downloads and a 20% increase in daily active users on the night the ad aired.

Why Temu’s Super Bowl Ad Was a Success

1. Memorable Slogan

Temu leveraged Pinduoduo’s successful domestic strategy of ultra-low prices in its overseas market. The key selling point Temu needed to highlight in the US was its compelling affordability. The slogan “Shop like a billionaire” effectively conveyed this message: even if you’re not a billionaire, Temu’s low prices allow you to shop without worry, creating an instant and relatable connection with the audience.

While platforms like Shein already offer low prices in the US, Shein focuses on a single category, whereas Temu is a comprehensive e-commerce platform covering all categories. The slogan “Shop like a billionaire” encapsulates affordability, variety, and convenience in a single, memorable phrase. Paired with a catchy background music that repetitively sings the slogan, it becomes nearly impossible for viewers to forget.

The success of an ad slogan can be measured by whether the audience remembers it. During Temu’s initial launch, the Super Bowl, and leading up to Easter, the phrase “shop like a billionaire app” reached peak search volume on Google, achieving a Google Trends score of 92 and 100 (with 100 being the highest search interest) during the Super Bowl and Easter periods. This indicates that many people remembered the slogan, even if they didn’t recall the brand name, and used it to find Temu through Google searches.

the search trend changes of temu's slogan shop like a billionaire on google trends

2. Low Prices and Attractive Promotions

As advertised, Temu’s products are significantly cheaper than those on other platforms. On average, Temu’s prices are 30% lower than Shein’s and 50% lower than Amazon’s. In addition to low prices, Temu offers numerous promotions, making it difficult for consumers to resist participating. Even those who are initially skeptical are tempted to learn more about Temu, leading to a substantial increase in app downloads. Once users experience the genuinely low prices and attractive deals, many are converted into loyal customers.

With substantial capital backing, Temu has methodically and effectively penetrated the overseas market. The strategic decision to advertise during the Super Bowl, combined with a memorable slogan and unbeatable prices, allowed Temu to achieve remarkable success rapidly.

Temu super bowl ad FAQs

How much money did Temu spend at the Super Bowl?

Temu spent 14 million dollars on super bowl ad in 2023 and about 15-21 millions of dollars in 2024.

Why are there so many Temu ads on the Super Bowl?

Because The Super Bowl presents a great opportunity for Temu to boost its visibility and expand its international market. Additionally, Temu has the financial resources to invest in advertising and marketing.

Did Temu sponsor the Super Bowl?

Yes, Temu did sponsor the Super Bowl. They actually took a big leap by buying ad time for several commercials during Super Bowl LVIII, which took place earlier this year in February 2024. Their ad campaign was quite successful, sparking significant consumer interest and helping grow their user base

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