How marketers used the Super Bowl to influence fans on social media and search
The Super Bowl is that rare TV event where fans watch the commercials as intently as the programming, which also means that marketers are looking to gain traction not only on the big screen that friends and family are watching together, but on individual mobile devices through social and search channels.
Brands that paid millions of dollars for a single TV spot boosted their investment by leveraging cross-screen engagement, while other brands, even those who didn’t advertise during Super Bowl LVI, looked to take advantage of all the attention around a single event to redirect some of those eyeballs and clicks toward their product.
Why we care. Performance and brand success during the Super Bowl has broader implications for the rest of the year. Marketers use the occasion of the Super Bowl to introduce new strategies and messages.
As the relationship between linear TV, CTV and mobile-first social platforms evolves, marketers across the industry can learn lessons about these moving goalposts and how they apply to their particular brand game plan.
Game Day or Game Week? Brands that show an ad during the game are looking to gain awareness during their big moment. But they also realize that the hype surrounding the game begins much sooner, and hopefully extends in the days and weeks following.
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A little further down, we’ll look at specific wins during the big game. But it’s worth noting that because there has been a lot of attention lately paid to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology (including the use of NFTs in marketing campaigns), that attention overall grew last week for NFTs and cryptocurrency.
This doesn’t mean that awareness didn’t spike to another level during the game. The most unlikely sign of advertising success during the Super Bowl was probably when Coinbase’s ad ran with a QR code and the Coinbase app crashed from all the traffic. Mission accomplished, I guess!
Game Week lifts or more of the same? Omnichannel marketing platform Zeta Global took the long view and found that awareness for crypto and NFTs was up week over week by 67.6% and 101%, respectively. It suggests not only that the public is interested, but that they are making some distinctions between two areas in the combined blockchain arena.
Social media influence. AI-driven influencer platform Influential tracked 288 million social mentions during Super Bowl LVI. It’s also not surprising, given their interest in personalities, that they ranked celebrities featured in ads this year by the number of social mentions garnered during the game. In this way, Super Bowl ads can be seen as super-powered influencer efforts.
Here are the top celebrities and the brands that featured them in a Super Bowl ad, according to Influential:
- Zendaya (Squarespace)
- Dolly Parton (T-Mobile)
- Eugene Levy (Nissan)
- Matthew McConaughey (Salesforce)
- Larry David (FTX Crypto)
Intent. Influential also took a close look at user behavior on social to determine what ads drove the most purchase intent. Note here that Coinbase, although the ad crashed its app within seconds, didn’t even crack the Top 5.
Discovery and search. Taking a step back from actionable intent, sometimes marketers are looking to connect with new customers who are still in the discovery phase. To this aim, Larry David worked very well, according to Google’s own analysis of trending topics on Google and YouTube.
Here’s their list of top celebs that were searched during the Super Bowl:
- Larry David
- Dr. Evil
- Jim Carrey
- Peyton Manning
- Scarlett Johansson
One final point to note about Super Bowl ad traction and marketing success – views don’t always correlate to search and discovery. The five most searched advertisements during the game were Budweiser, Michelob ULTRA, Doritos, Coinbase and Chevy. None of these five brands cracked the global top 10 for ad views. And believe it or not, the third highest Gameday Views winner, according to Google, was Hyundai USA’s “History of Evolution” spot, which didn’t even run during the game.
In planning for the next Super Bowl, marketers should keep in mind that the game, and expensive ad placements during it, can be part of a winning plan. But there is a complex digital ecosphere where the real game is won or lost through discovery and purchase intent on search and social media.
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