Stephen Bottari

By The Numbers: Social Media and the Super Bowl

Social media rushed the field during this year’s Super Bowl ad extravaganza. It was anything but business-as-usual. Folks the globe over are a-chatter about what they saw during the game, and comments were more positive than most anyone anticipated. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Not only did online conversation increase by 9% overall compared to last year’s numbers, but it is significantly more positive. Low expectations led to mixed pre-game comments. Before the game, 72% of online buzz was positive. But, by the time the game started, the numbers had risen to 83%, up from 79% in 2010.
While everybody was making predictions about which ad was the fan “favorite,” the Twittersphere was buzzing with reactions.  Numbers show that Chrysler’s “Detriot/Eminem ad took the top spot, with over 32,000 Tweets since it aired.

The ad’s popularity could be due to its honesty, to the story being told behind the images. The commercial portrays Detroit as the city that’s been “to hell and back” and doesn’t shy away from showing some of the city’s less-than-glamorous areas.

Disney’s “Transformers 3 teaser took second place in the most-buzzed-about-on-Twitter contest, with over 18,000 mentions in an hour. And Dorito’s fans round out the top 3, with about 15,000 mentions in an hour.

Getting people talking during the game is one thing. But turning that buzz into action is something completely different. So now it’s time to play Monday morning quarterback: Do any of these numbers surprise you? Which Super Bowl spots do you think will have the greatest impact? Let us know in the comments section below.

  • Anonymous

    I hear you and, yet, I doubt your numbers. First, there’s the matter of whether “conversation online” really went up. Since the last Super Bowl, for example, average daily visitors on Facebook are up 69%, according to Comscore, and Twitter visitors climbed 18%. In that context, is a conversation “increase” of 9% really an increase or is a steep drop in participation as a percentage of those engaged in social media? You’ll have to tell me because I have had 30 seconds to devote to this research and the task clearly requires more.

    On the sentiment side of the research, I am always even more dubious. I think the last time I looked into Buzzmetrics own assessment of the accuracy of their sentiment measurement, it was something like +/- 30%. And they’re the best in the business.

    At any rate, I am wary of these statistics. Just as I am skeptical about the real results generated by Super Bowl ads. Seems to me there are better uses—even better marketing uses—for $200 million more or less of the clients’ money.

  • Stephen Bottari

    You bring up great points when looking at these numbers. Social media usage is up across the board from a year ago and trying to determine the sentiment of a post is still much more “art” than science. It is important to contextualize the numbers with this information and to have a healthy skepticism about measuring sentiment using social media. The tools are there and are rapidly becoming more refined and accurate as they evolve.

    In regards to the Super Bowl itself, I certainly agree that a far more engaging and successful campaign could be run for far less money. Yet, on a pop culture level, I’m hesitant to write off the importance of the event – after all, this Super Bowl was the most watched event on television ever, averaging 111 million viewers. There’s something to be said for that number, namely, that’s a lot of eyeballs all seeing the same images. I would submit that with social media now a sizable part of daily life, people feel the need to be culturally relevant and appear that way in their digital persona. So when the Super Bowl makes its short lived annual return into the zeitgeist, many become insta-pundits online, really driving brand buzz. With that said, you won’t see a commercial from me during the game anytime soon.