First of all, who were the 25% of advertisers that did not include any kind of digital media links? And secondly, as you can see, Facebook fell a little bit out of favor, and I consider this good news as we did not see last years repeat of "Like our page on Facebook" as a summons at the end of ads.
If we look at social media in terms of in-commercial inclusions of any kind, Twitter was an even clearer winner:
The Twitter phenomenon in fact was probably the most noticeable "media event", also for consumers. In fact, for every seven Twitter game mentions there were two ad mentions:
So what might advertisers have been after in terms of social media and engagement?
It is safe to assume one thing they might want is Consumer Engagement. This goes along the lines of "if they talk about me and like me, they might have a more favorable impression of me and buy me (eventually)".
Salesforce Marketing Cloud tracked brand buzz in the run-up to the main event (see here for their report).
Some obvious conclusions:
1. Sex sells: Kate Upton for Mercedes.
2. Controversy sells: Mercedes (see point 1), Blackberry (the return of/the death of)
How did these brands in the end fare on Game day?
Oops... especially if you are Coca-Cola, Blackberry and I guess, to a degree, Mercedes.
1. Animals sell: especially if they are cute little baby Clydesdales.
2. Sex sells: especially if it includes a super model and nerd, or just a super sculpted male model.
Now let's look a little closer at engagement results. First of all on Facebook.
As stated a little earlier, it is true that Facebook was not the main "destination" sold through the Super Bowl ads. But obviously all of the brands have a Facebook page, and if people liked their ad, did they also like the brand more? Here is what the "Likes" tell us:
But we just said it wasn't about Facebook Likes, so let's look at Twitter. You can't "Like" a tweet but you can "mention", "Favorite" it or "Re-tweet" brands and ads and perhaps that is a proxy for a "Like"? Here is what happened:
- As with Facebook, sex and baby Clydesdales also sell on Twitter
- Unless you take "sentiment" into consideration, in which case Go Daddy did not win anything at all
Are we any clearer? Are we winning? Do we even know what we are doing?
Obviously, I do not have access to the data that has been gathered during and after the event for brands specifically, nor do I know exactly what the advertiser's objectives were.
But to me, I believe the only credible goal advertisers could have had was "reach/awareness". Engagement during the Superbowl? No, thanks. Viewers obviously have their companion screens and devices at the ready - hence all the tweets. But consumers don't hold them close by for you, mister brand, but to share moments of anticipation, exhilaration, disillusion or disgust with their family and friends.
The chatter is about "my" consumer experience, and not about "your" brand experience. If I find something funny, engaging or gross, I will share it with my best online friends. At best, for a brand, it is conversation about you, not with you.
Coca-Cola found this out the hard way. They delivered plenty of buzz pre-event with their open ended commercial, but did people vote on who should win the epic race through the desert to the cold bottle of Coke? No, because we were too busy tweeting about the lights that went out, the win of the Ravens and that gross Go Daddy kiss.
This is why I believe common sense has been ignored during the decision making process in many of the meeting rooms, war rooms and board rooms as advertisers prepared to justify their massive Superbowl investments. Common sense would tell you that the event is first and foremost an event that is shared for the sake of the event. The moment. The interaction between friends and family.
Perhaps, as a brand, you have a small bit part to play in entertaining during the breaks. But seriously, next time consider just tweeting a smart and topical bit of content that is fully aligned with what people are actually talking about, instead of investing multiple millions in a TV spot and trying to "be" the conversation.