Crypto millions on Super Bowl ads didn’t drive app downloads


Coinbase Global Inc, FTX Trading Ltd. and Crypto.com all released advertisements during the National Football League’s championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. — Reuters

Cryptocurrency-trading platforms drew national attention with star-studded Super Bowl ads, a first-time appearance for many in the industry. However, it didn’t yet translate to a flood of new users on their apps.

Coinbase Global Inc, FTX Trading Ltd. and Crypto.com all released advertisements during the National Football League’s championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Yet the exchanges and investing platform eToro all saw a decline in US app store downloads over the week prior to Sunday, according to research firm Apptopia.

Coinbase, the largest US crypto exchange, emerged on Monday in the second highest slot on Apple Inc’s app store rankings of top free apps. However, the meaning of the rank – driven by an unknown algorithm – is little understood, with some analysts under the belief it’s based on usage and velocity of downloads.

Coinbase was the clear winner of the group, and likely came in with the most brand recognition, said Adam Blacker, vice president of insights at Apptopia.

The trading platform released a minute-long ad of a blank screen and a moving QR code, prompting viewers to scan the mobile barcode to learn more.

The code offered a giveaway of US$15 (RM62) worth of Bitcoin for new users within 48 hours of the ad airing. It drove 20 million hits to the company’s landing page, temporarily crashing the site, and while a jolt of new users was not immediately recorded, according to Apptopia, it could still see a boost from Apple’s app store ranking.

"Once you hit the top of the app store it creates this self-fulfilling prophecy,” Blacker said. "More people today and tomorrow are going to look at the top of app store and they’re going to see Coinbase is up there, and they’re going to download it because it’s just in their face.”

"While Coinbase is one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, outside of the crypto world, many people still haven’t heard of it,” Owen Lau, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co Inc, said in a note. "Immediately after the release of this ad, there was lots of discussion about this commercial on social media. Some people liked it, and some people hated it. But, we believe Coinbase achieved its mission: getting massive attention.” – Bloomberg

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