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The Top 2015 Super Bowl Ads on Twitter

unnamed (13)The Super Bowl ad roster this year was diverse, ranging from adorable runaway puppies to empowering spots like Always’ #LikeAGirl ad, and everything in between.

But what did the numbers say? How did top brands fare on Twitter on the big day?

Pre-Release Impact 

About two-thirds of advertisers that were confirmed ahead of the Super Bowl either teased their ads or released them in their entirety before the event.

This isn’t necessarily a shocking statistic in the social media era, but this piece of information widens eyes a bit: Both advertisers who did and didn’t tease their ads before the Super Bowl received a comparable amount of Twitter handle mentions from 1/23 – 1/29, but brands that didn’t pre-release their content saw more than 2.5 times the average mentions during the Super Bowl.


This disparity is due to one brand. McDonald’s scored the largest boost in Twitter handle mentions compared to this base period. @McDonalds had 30,641 Twitter mentions during the 7 day base period, but saw 417,482 during the Super Bowl.

In their Super Bowl ad, they announced that random customers will be allowed to “Pay With Lovin’ ” through Valentine’s Day. The excitement generated by the news of free Big Macs contributed to over 400,000 mentions of @McDonalds during the game.


Excluding @McDonalds mentions from the data set shows that most brands who pre-released spots were able to see success both before and after their ad aired in the Super Bowl.

Similar Hashtag Employment to 2014

Marketing Land reported last year that 57% of ads run nationally during the 2014 Super Bowl featured a hashtag.

This year, brands that aimed to generate buzz ahead of the game relied much more heavily on hashtags.

We calculated 79% of ads that were released before the Super Bowl featured a hashtag. However, among all ads that aired during the 2015 Super Bowl, 59% featured a hashtag – only a modest increase from last year.

So who were the big hashtag winners among brands?

Top Performing Hashtag Campaigns 



Airing just one spot, Always’ hashtag mentions even outperformed advertisers with more than one commercial.

Always joined in on the uplifting tone established by many other advertisers, doing a great job spreading positivity by turning around a common phrase that’s usually negatively applied.

By focusing a great message on a usually under-targeted demographic during Super Bowl advertising, Always was able to rush past other brands’ hashtag usage during the game.

Ads with Staying Power 

Let’s take a closer look at how these hashtags performed over time during the game. I included data from an hour past game’s end to catch more volume for ads that aired late in the game.


You can quickly see when the Always #LikeAGirl ad aired (indicated by the mustard yellow line), and that Budweiser’s #BestBuds ad was generating buzz as early as 4:04 PST (indicated by the light blue line), but it’s hard to see some of the lower performing campaigns.

Let’s look at when the greatest share of mentions of each hashtag happened.


Most ads, like #LexusRC in gold at around 5:40PM PST, peak very high, indicating that most of each ad’s mentions happened very quickly after it started.

One last graph! Let’s look at how each campaign relates when we line them up along their air time.


You can see that a large portion of hashtag mentions happened right after each ad aired.

On average, a third of hashtag mentions happened in the first 11 minutes after a spot aired.

Some ads peak early, but the ads that stayed with Twitter users the longest have the longest tails in the graph above.

Some of the best ads are the ones that keep people talking long after they air. The ads with hashtags garnering the most mentions coming 15 or more minutes after their airing are listed here:

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 4.19.18 PM



Kim Kardashian’s own Twitter account drove continued engagement with #KimsDataStash after the ad aired. Multiple spots with the same hashtag also lead to continued engagement over time.

What Do You Think? 

Do my results surprise you? Which brands do you think got the biggest bang out of their Super Bowl bucks? Lets us know in the comments below!

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Michael Thomason

Michael is Simply Measured's Marketing Analyst, focused on measuring, analyzing, and understanding the social strategy for the most successful social brands in the world.

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