The best time to spend on a television ad is when you know millions of people are watching – and interested.  The Super Bowl offers this dream scenario – but without social media analytics to ensure you get it right, the cost to your brand is millions.

The Netbase Industry Report 2018 – Super Bowl Advertising has all the scoop on which brands won – and lost – during football’s biggest night last month. We analyzed 30 top advertisers leading up to, during, and following the big game.

We considered volume of conversation, awareness (as a measure of earned impressions), reach (a measure of owned impressions), Net Sentiment, and Brand Passion as measured and analyzed through the NetBase platform.

Given the overwhelming number of Super Bowl advertisers and sponsors, we limited our analysis to a representative group of advertisers during the game. This analysis ran from two weeks prior to two weeks after the 2018 Super Bowl.

Indexing and social ranking is an average measure of actual position for each metric (ranked relative to the other brands in the list), with the largest, most positive, or most passionate brands ranking first. The analysis was English-language only but country agnostic. Our report examines top trends and overall performance of selected brands as discussed across several social channels.

Let’s look at some highlights, and see what your brand can learn from the successes and failures of others.

Go Big, but Be Prepared to Go Home

The Super Bowl draws a viewing audience of more than 100 million people – meaning, the stakes are super high. You want to score a touchdown with your target audience, obviously, but appealing to new segments is also a goal (pun intended!).

Walking this line is risky, and it doesn’t always work. The best brands do it by using social media monitoring to understand the biggest topics surrounding the game, what competitors are planning, and where consumer passions lie.

Of course, there are always surprises – and that’s why social media analytics are so important.

Gender and audience interests, for example, should never be assumed – especially with a crowd as diverse as the Super Bowl’s audience. After all, families and friends watch together, and everyone from sports fans, to music lovers, to those who appreciate a funny or sentimental commercial is invested in the show.

Two examples from our report illustrate this well:

Michelob Ultra’s ad – #23 on our list – appealed to women more than men (we’ll look at why in a moment). Did Michelob expect this to be the case? If not, there’s a new demographic to leverage – and certainly segments within that demographic to further pinpoint new messaging for women who love their beer.

Conversely, the NFL’s take on Dirty Dancing appealed to more men than women – at least, judging by the number of posts it generated for each gender.

Why? And was this the intended target audience? Possibly – after all, there’s something about seeing stereotypical “macho” men wax sentimental and dancing an iconic, romantic number that other men find hilarious. But if the NFL – in our #1 spot overall – meant to engage women in the Super Bowl audience with this ad, they missed the mark.

Celebrity Influencers Don’t Guarantee Virality

It’s an understandable assumption that if you find the right famous face to lead your campaign you’ll win the day – but you know what they say about assumptions, and it applies to social media as well.

For instance, Keanu Reeves’ commercial for Squarespace was liked well enough – but it wasn’t loved, and that’s really what you need for your campaign to go viral. Positive consumer sentiment isn’t enough – you’ve got to consider the passion behind that sentiment as you assess potential influencers.

So who were Super Bowl viewers passionate about in the celeb realm?

Chris Pratt was definitely part of the reason women loved Michelob Ultra’s commercial.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s Alexa ad brilliantly incorporated several celebrities in their “Alexa loses her voice” campaign. What makes the ad so smart is how it provides an opportunity to assess which influencer generated the most buzz for them.

Though Gordon Ramsay, Rebel Wilson, and Sir Anthony Hopkins all make hilarious cameos, it was Cardi B’s bit that inspired the most conversation volume.

Comparing Amazon Alexa discussion volume to the volume of Celebrities included in the ad

Now Amazon knows where to focus their energy as they analyze their audience.

Let That Be a Lesson to You

The Super Bowl is unique because everyone is ultimately offering up the same thing: a television commercial, with promotions happening before, during and after on social media. Want to know how competitors did? Just look at their numbers on YouTube.

If you want to know why their ad went viral (or not) you’ve got to look a little deeper, however. You need social media analytics tools with sentiment analysis capabilities. And if you want to know why your own ads hit or missed the mark, you need them as well.

Luckily, we’ve got the tools you need – and you don’t have to wait until the Super Bowl to use them. In fact, the more regularly you apply social analytics, the more you’ll know when the time comes to run an important campaign – just like training for the big game. It’s what Tom Brady would do.

For the complete list of advertiser rankings and more insights, download the full Netbase Industry Report 2018 – Super Bowl Advertising today!



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