comScore also reported additional consumer response to the big game, including online spending trends, search habits and ad preferences.
A number of television advertisers' websites posted dramatic increases in the number of visitors within minutes of the actual television advertisement airing. For example, Cadillac ran five ads between 8:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., and visitors to cadillac.com jumped more than tenfold over this period. Also, Warner Brothers ran one ad for The Matrix sequels between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and one for Terminator 3 between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Consumers were clearly interested in learning more about these upcoming films, with traffic jumping more than 300 percent at their respective sites. And, H&R Block ran seven ads between 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; traffic more than doubled at the site during this time period.
While a great many people visited Super Bowl advertiser sites during the game, the highest traffic levels to these sites occurred the Monday after, when Web users at home and work resumed their regular weekday surfing routines. This would appear to indicate that "word of mouth advertising" played a key role in increasing interest in the advertised products and services -- and that the Internet played a key role in satisfying consumers' needs.
Among advertiser sites with at least 10,000 visitors on Monday, the winners this year were car sites and rich-media Hollywood movie sites (many of which had already experienced game-time spikes as mentioned above). The top gaining movie sites versus the prior Monday were: Thehulk.com, up 1,963 percent; Terminator3.com, up 665 percent; and Whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com, up 466 percent. The top gaining car sites were: Cadillac.com, up 1,096 percent; and Chrysler.com, up 93 percent.
Although Reebok's new "Terry Tate, Office Linebacker" advertisement did not prominently feature its sponsoring brand, consumers clearly responded by rallying to Reebok.com to learn more about the character. On Super Bowl Monday, the site posted an increase in visitors of 308 percent versus the previous Monday.
"Considering the enormous cost of advertising on the Super Bowl television broadcast, it is especially gratifying to see the immediate and extended consumer response to brands that have made the investment," said Stephen Kim, chief research officer of comScore Media Metrix, a division of comScore Networks. "The gains we've seen demonstrate how the Internet can complement traditional media spending and continue to cultivate relationships between brands and consumers."
Online Search Activity Reflects the Mindset of Game Watchers
A majority of the top gaining U.S. search queries on Super Bowl Sunday was expectedly related to the championship game. According to comScore Media Metrix' search report, which spans all major search engines, top gaining searches ranged from competing teams to individual players and coaches, including "John Gruden" and "Tim Brown." Even non-football searches were connected to the Super Bowl broadcast, from musical acts performing at the game ("Dixie Chicks" and "Sting") to new movie titles ("Terminator 3" and "Charlies Angels"). "San Diego weather" and "betting online" were also high on the list.
"The extraordinary growth rates of Super Bowl-related searches reflects the degree to which the NFL's championship game has become instilled in the American psyche and the extent to which consumers have gravitated to using the Internet to obtain information relevant to their interests," said Kim.
Online Retailers Cash In
According to comScore e-commerce data, sales of football-related merchandise jumped 580 percent for the three-day period of Saturday, Jan. 25 through Monday, Jan. 27 versus the corresponding three days over the past six weeks. Yahoo! Merchants, NFLShop.com, Amazon zShops and eBay were among the retailers with the highest demand for football-related products. Popular items included the official Super Bowl coin, replica jerseys for Tim Brown, and "Bobble Head" dolls for the Buccaneers and Raiders.
Women Particularly Interested in the Ads
Nearly one in six respondents to a nationwide online survey conducted by comScore were more interested in the ads than the game, while about half were equally interested in both the game and the ads. Interestingly, women accounted for three of every four respondents who were more interested in the ads than the game.