Football fans didn't tap into mobile devices to catch the New York Giants' win over the New Engine Patriots Sunday as many analysts expected, but the ad industry did hit a major milestone in multichannel marketing. Consumers searched for data and game stats on desktop and mobile search engines, and viewed ads on YouTube and other video channels.
Attaching buzz from Super Bowl ads this year to video, mobile, social and search marketing became a major departure from previous Super Bowl TV campaigns, according to Mary Beth Keelty, vice president, marketing at digital marketing agency Zeta Interactive.
"Multichannel marketing that can take the campaign through pre-promotion, event and follow-up later turns the package into a campaign," she said. "We've heard people talk about this before -- but really, we saw it this year. We even saw media channels like "Extra" start to cover commercials."
The overall buzz around this year's Super Bowl commercials is slightly less positive than that of last year, according to Zeta. The average buzz ranking, 80.9% positive, represents commercials at this year's Super Bowl, slightly down from 83.5% positive the morning after the game in 2011.
While buzz dropped slightly this year, the volume surrounding Super Bowl ads skyrocketed. This year the Super Bowl ads received 14% more attention in the first 12 hours, compared with the entire 24-hour period following last year's game.
Zeta's Top 10 list of commercials receiving the highest Zeta Buzz ranking at this year’s Super Bowl starts with Honda "Matthew's Day Off - Ferris Bueller" – 91% positive, followed by M&M's "Mrs. Brown - Sexy and You Know It" at 90% positive, Budweiser "Eternal Optimism - Block Party" at 90% positive, Acura "Transactions - Seinfeld" at 89% positive, and Skechers "Dog Race" at 89% positive. The bottom five ads came from Lexus, Hyundai, Chevy, Cadillac, and H&M. Some ads did better than others, but 27 ads received Zeta buzz rankings of 80% or better at this year's game, which is the same as last year.
This year, however, brands also promoted products through social media and search. Keelty said brands running TV ads, costing a minimum of $3.5 million for the first 30 seconds, ran at least one paid-search ad on YouTube. Chevy and Century 21 also launched branded YouTube Channels.
In fact, the ads or teasers on YouTube were watched more than 30 million times before the big weekend, according to Google stats. Game day searches for "super bowl ads" rose 122 times higher than the same time last week. Acura, GoDaddy and M&Ms were the most popular commercials in terms of Google searches. Searches for The Avengers" movie trailer also trended high, along with Chrysler’s spot featuring Clint Eastwood.
Live streaming the Super Bowl led to spikes in searches on game day, according to Google. Searches peaked at kickoff primarily on desktops, followed by mobile phones and tablets. Searches for the Spanish-language version of the live stream made the list of top trending queries. "Madonna," "halftime show," "patriots," "tom brady" and "giants" were the top trending searches on Google during the game across Google properties.
Web sites experienced a spike in smartphone traffic, especially on sites like Samsung, Cars.com, GoDaddy and Volkswagen. The GoDaddy Web site outperformed the company's promoted application, although the margin was relatively small between the two.
At NPD, an increase in NFL and Super Bowl-related searches across Google properties represents 6.4% of total searches on game day, up nearly four times compared with the two Sundays prior. NFL.com showed a significant spike in traffic, disputing the claim that apps dominate search at the expense of the Web, according to the research firm.
Ironically, neither apps from the Giants or the Patriots showed significant use during the game and were not in the top sports apps on Sunday. The NPD Connected Intelligence SmartMeter is an application that runs on Android and BlackBerry devices supporting an opt-in panel of consumers, tracking data consumption, function and content use.