I don’t believe this was a random event, or caused by Mother Nature. My theory is that tv ad execution, combined with early social promotion, was partly responsible, and this phenomenon will continue in the future.
Specifically, Super Bowl commercials are gaining more equity because they’re getting publicized more aggressively before the game and across various channels, including through viral and paid media strategies on Facebook and Twitter. That’s giving them a better platform to become more sophisticated, with multilayered storytelling and buildups.
As of 12 p.m. EST on Super Bowl Sunday, over 30 commercials had had at least one million views, while two advertisers tracked over 10 million YouTube views of their spots. Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” had just over 33 million views on YouTube, after launching only a few days prior. Hyundai’s “Nice” had accrued nearly 12 million views by that time. Budweiser's Puppy Love Page post on Facebook was a breakout, having accrued over 1 million Likes within a matter of days, what we believe is a brand first.
Moreover, early buzz is also pushing highly anticipated and engaging commercials into TV appointment-viewing status. If viewers weren’t waiting around for specific ads to air, then viewers’ buzz-induced affinity prompted them to pay more attention and call others’ attention to them as well.
And some of the most engaging and interactive Super Bowl commercials happened to air in the second half. Again, “Puppy Love” is a case in point. Then there is Esurance, which scheduled an ad immediately after the Super Bowl ended, promising $1.5 million to one lucky person who tweeted the hashtag #EsuranceSave30. Esurance quickly received more than 2.1 million tweets with the hashtag, with 200,000 arriving within the first minute. Do content and stunts like this sustain viewership?
Marketer mandate: Obviously, engaging, shareable content matters in TV advertising; great content can perform like lightning in a bottle. Still, when it comes to blockbuster media investments, like the Super Bowl, early online buzz matters as well. And early online buzz at high scale doesn’t usually just happen on its own. It requires smart promotions and integration across channels -- especially, investing in paid media to amplify positive word of mouth. In our work with Super Bowl advertisers, we’ve found that amplifying word of mouth can have an exponential impact on early buzz and help drive a tipping point.