Social Media and the Super Bowl

I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I have come to the conclusion that I cannot write about anything besides the Super Bowl this week. I feel this way partly because I am a die-hard Patriots fan, and partly because Super Bowl XLIV was the most watched show in television history. I, along with millions of other Americans, had my eyes glued to the TV for hours. Some viewers watched the program for the ads, some watched for the game, and viewers like me enjoyed watching both. Although much of America’s focus on Sunday night was on the television, the internet showed no signs of slowing down.

While I am proud that I focused on the game and only tweeted a scant number of times during the pre-game, post-game, halftime performance, and a few select commercials, I wasn’t the norm. According to Salesforce, there were 13.9 million tweets relating to the Super Bowl. Naturally, this is something that many companies are bound to take advantage of.

Brands are beginning to realize that pairing a social media presence with their Super Bowl Ad presence can produce huge results. By using multiple channels, brands increase the likelihood of being noticed. One way to get noticed is by Real-Time Marketing, an inbound marketing technique that companies use to create custom content based on a specific time and place. This year, 31 companies used the technique on Twitter. That’s a steady climb from last year’s 26 and a massive leap from 2013’s 8 early adopters.

P&G was this year’s star. In her article for Tech Crunch, Sarah Perez writes that “the ad was designed for social media buzz.” And she’s right. P&G’s decision to title the “#LikeAGirl ad with a # in it was definitely not an afterthought. #LikeAGirl sparked up a lot of emotions from viewers. It’s no secret that Twitter users like to share their feelings on just about anything–they don’t need a reason to speak out. Give them a hashtag? They’ll go nuts. And that’s just what they did. There were over 400,000 mentions of the spot during the Super Bowl. I think it’s safe to say that this number will only continue to grow since the topic of empowering young girls is not one that will go out of style any time soon.

P&G was a social media MVP, but there’s still a lot of room for other brands to move in on the action. According to Chute’s research, the top five content creators under #halftime on Instagram were made up of fan accounts and internet celebrities. Greetings, marketers! This is a place where you should focus in on. I’ll be the first to admit that creating engaging content is not the easiest task, but a little added effort in this area might lead to huge gains.

There isn’t much evidence on how the online buzz has translated into product sales or customer acquisition yet, but I think it’s safe to say that pairing social media efforts with Super Bowl campaigns doesn’t hurt. It will be interesting to see in the coming months what the full impact is.



  1. I definitely agree that it is advantageous for companies to stay on top of their social media efforts, even when millions are already seeing their commercial. Every time I checked twitter, there was a new commercial being tweeted about, whether it was for its’ humor or controversy. Along with the commercials, the halftime show received a lot of twitter feedback. After a lot of jokes about Katy Perry’s colorful outfit, Cheetos acted quickly to use these jokes as a marketing ploy. By monitoring the twitter world, the company was able to take advantage of what people were already talking about. (See tweet:

  2. Every since Oreo’s (now classic, i suppose) tweet at the SuperBowl black out, companies have been trying to replicate their success. What ends up happening is you have your social media team plus a few other marketers (and potentially legal) squeezed into a small conference room with the television on broadcasting whatever is hot at the moment (superbowl, awards shows, etc). Cue the discord and lively conversation on what they should and should not post and you have yourself one heck of a mess. But what’s the gain? A few extra followers? Potentially higher engagement rate? For the amount of effort that goes in, it’s practically a wash. In my opinion, brands are better off (and social media manager’s stress levels) preparing tweets for events they know are going to happen (or a tweet for each possible outcome) and making sure the delivery is on point and on time.

  3. @allisonridge @rachaelfstr thank you for your comments!
    Allison: I’m glad you saw the Cheetos tweet! That was one of my inspirations for this post.
    Rachael: After writing this post I read an article for one of my other classes about the war rooms that companies make for the Super Bowl. Some rooms have copywriters and designers at the ready to create new content, but a lot of the social media that we see is prepared ahead of time like you suggested. Here is the article, if you are interested:

  4. Nice post. I realize that I tweet about the game more if I’m watching it alone. I also realize I don’t really watch the commercials when I’m rooting for my team.

  5. Nice post. I think it’s safe to say that all the impressions and shares these Super Bowl ads are getting are translating into product sales and customer acquisition. For example, after Budweiser’s 2014 “Puppy Love” Super Bowl ad, customers were estimated to be 37.8% more likely to purchase Budweiser. Pretty impressive!

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