According to Hitwise, the share of U.S. internet searches for "super bowl ads" increased by 1416 percent in the week prior to Super Bowl XL compared to the week prior to Super Bowl XXXIX. The company's research also indicates that those advertisers who enhanced their TV ads with online activities gained added viewership.
For the four weeks ending Feb. 4. 2006, "super bowl ads" was the most common search phrase containing the words "super bowl," demonstrating that the custom of watching the ads during the big game is highly steeped in Super Bowl tradition.
On Super Bowl Sunday, visits to IFILM, the leading site to watch Super Bowl clips and ads, increased by 49 percent versus the previous day. Prominent placement of IFILM's Super Bowl ads on Yahoo Video Search was responsible for much of the increase: Yahoo Video Search was the source of 27.9 percent of visits to IFILM on Feb. 5, versus 5.9 percent of upstream visits on Feb. 4.
AOL Sports also featured Super Bowl ads on its site, and visits increased by 131 percent on Feb. 5 versus Feb. 4. Visits to the Hitwise Sports category increased by only 6.8 percent in the same period, indicating that unique content on AOL sports drove traffic on Super Bowl Sunday.
"User behavior on Super Bowl Sunday clearly demonstrates consumer demand for the online component of these commercials," says Bill Tancer, general manager, global research for Hitwise. "Engaging consumers online with a service or product brand is a great way to leverage the investment in these costly spots."
As an example, Burger King and Diet Pepsi created special interactive sites for Super Bowl XL that tied in with the television commercial. Diet Pepsi's site, Brown & Bubbly, which tied in with the P. Diddy commercial, had an average user session time of three minutes 59 seconds on game day, compared to a 16 second average session time for the Diet Pepsi site. On Brown & Bubbly, users could watch "video reject" ads and create a personalized video by uploading a digital picture. Burger King's Whopperettes site encouraged users to create a customized Whopper out of Whopperettes, and had an average session time of one minute 23 seconds.
GoDaddy.com, promising viewers that they could "see more" on their website, registered the greatest daily increase on Super Bowl Sunday, with a 423 percent increase in market share of visits compared to the day before. Dove, which registered a 251 percent increase in daily visits to its Campaign for Real Beauty website and received kudos for its commercial that promoted self-esteem for teen girls, was also responsible for driving 9.8 percent of its visits to a donation page for the Girl Scouts of America's Uniquely Me program.
Research from Reprise Media indicates that despite the efforts of these few companies, most Super Bowl advertisers missed the "extra point." Many commercials still didn't even include their company's or brand's URLs, for example-- an easy way to indicate to users that there’s additional content available online. And search presence was few and far between, ensuring that those that attempted even a rudimentary campaign linking their commercial to their website clearly stood out.