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By the Numbers: Which Big Game Ads Won on Social?

This isn’t a blog post. It’s a #TideAd. You can tell by how fresh it is….even though I’m forced to call it The Big Game.

Yesterday, the biggest brands in the U.S. took to our TV screens between downs in one of the most exciting championship games we’ve seen in years to sling some product.

In this post, I’ll take a look at the social data surrounding the conversation and the brands that got involved, using Simply Measured’s Listening and Analytics products.

Are We Done with Hashtags?

Of the 65+ campaigns during this year’s game, only six incorporated hashtags. This is a sharp decline from the 2017 Big Game, which saw 19 ads feature hashtags. While hashtag usage declined, the use cases were more calculated.

If you couldn’t tell from my intro, my favorite campaign was the Energizer Bunny-esque takeover of other ads that Tide orchestrated beautifully, using the hashtag #TideAd. The multi-spot campaign started with a beautiful setup:

They followed it with cross-over spots that harkened back to Old Spice, Mr. Clean, Budweiser, and pharmaceutical ads, prompting conversation around the hashtag throughout the game.

Avocados from Mexico had the most-used hashtag with #GuacWorld, which, in addition to its Biodome/Lord of the Flies spot, capitalized on the brand’s large group of influencers and advocates, and a co-branded sweepstakes with Tabasco.

And, of course, what would the Big Game be without a rapping Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman? Mountain Dew and Doritos didn’t make us find out.

https://twitter.com/MountainDew/status/960241464054710272

Mr. Freeman is in the lead, with #IceCold outperforming #SpitFire.

Most Mentioned Brands

Netflix took the top honor, with “Netflix” being mentioned more than any other brand name on game day, across Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, Google+, Reddit, and hundreds of blogs and forums (the vast majority of mentions for all brands showed up on Twitter and Instagram).

Engagement Shifts on Game Day: Instagram to Twitter

Twenty-five ad spots were released prior to game day. To get a better idea of how these brands proactively generated conversation, we looked at the most active channels: Twitter and Instagram.

In the days leading up to the game, this group of brands generated more engagement on Instagram than Twitter, but that changed on game day, with Instagram engagement dropping off and Twitter skyrocketing.

The shift isn’t surprising when you consider how we use each network. More conversation around the game and the commercials takes place on Twitter than any other network, including Instagram, which is generally reserved for visual storytelling and not real-time commentary.

Testing Your Audience’s Reaction

You could argue that releasing your ad spot prior to game day limits the novelty and excitement. On the other hand, it allows you to add some build-up for your campaign. But which tactic creates a better reaction?

We broke down organic mentions of brand names for each of the advertisers, and separated them into two buckets: Brands that pre-released their ads, and brands that didn’t.

On average, brands that released ads ahead of time generated a higher volume of positive mentions on game day than brands that released ads during the game.

There are a lot of factors at play here. Does a pre-release signal a more tightly orchestrated effort? Were the pre-released ads for brands that have higher sentiment, in general? Is a pre-release an opportunity to test your audience’s reaction?

Want to Take a Look at Your Own Performance?

If you’re interested in checking out your own brand’s performance on game day, or during any campaign, you should check out Tide, because, as I mentioned at the top of the post, this isn’t a blog post about social analytics, it’s a #TideAd.

Learn about the complete social analytics solution

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Kevin Shively

I lead marketing for Simply Measured. Recovering journalist. My team is embarrassed of my hilarious jokes. Firm believer that the best marketers are the best storytellers and the best storytellers use the best data.

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