Super Bowl Ads – Using Social Media Analytics to Explain Their Popularity

January 30, 2012
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…Or Their Notoriety

…Or Their Notoriety

It’s been a bit quiet on the CI blog lately as we’ve been working on a new dashboard for the upcoming group of Super Bowl ads. It’s called Brand Tracker: Super Bowl 2012 and it provides a unique view into what is driving the popularity of the ads.  Seeing which ads generate the most conversations is interesting but only up to a point; an ad that generates lots of social media conversations may translate into a popular ad but maybe not for the right reasons.

The Super Bowl ads have a lot to accomplish in a 30-second spot; they need to entertain us, maybe inspire us to purchase a product or view a show and spark a social conversation. But if you rely exclusively on volume-defined popularity then you are missing the critical reaction piece that complements and explains why a particular ad is popular.

Do you remember last year’s Super Bowl ads? Specifically, the one for Groupon that generated a lot of commentary, especially across the social media network? If your organization was focused exclusively on the popularity of your ad without qualifying the volume, you might be pretty happy with your top 3 listing.

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However, what’s interesting from a brand perspective are the conversation drivers comprising that number. In other words, to truly understand consumer reaction to an ad, you need to apply additional filtering that allows you to extract the characteristics of the conversation.  For last year’s Super Bowl,  we created and applied  an “unfavorable” and “offensive” filter so that we could qualify and rank the performance of each ad according to how positively an ad was perceived. So, when Groupon topped the list of ads perceived to be “unfavorable” and “offensive”

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we expected that to translate to a lower ranking on our Engaged Consumers list, which ranks how positively an ad was perceived in comparison to the other brands.

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Groupon still ranked pretty high in our list of “Engaged Consumers”.  However, the difference between 1st and 5th place was quite significant and may provide an early indicator of sales health or brand awareness.

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Ad popularity is an important benchmark of ad performance (If you’re wanting to view the popularity of an ad, check out the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter 2012). Understanding the conversation drivers behind the social media volume can help an organization translate those numbers into a more meaningful assessment of an ad’s performance. Knowing, in real-time, if your ad is having the intended impact may encourage your business to amplify your message on other key channels or course correct, like in the case of Groupon, by removing your ad.  By all means, track the popularity of your ad but remember to confirm that it’s the appeal of the ad driving the conversation and not is notoriety.