Facebook will allow users to watch and vote on the commercials from this year’s Super Bowl as soon as they air. The commercials will appear on the Facebook Replay tab of the Sports on Facebook Page, which will become available at 2pm PST February 6th, an hour before kick-off.
For years, Google has hosted Super Bowl commercials on YouTube, and has allowed users to vote for their favorites on its AdBlitz channel. Facebook Replay will be in direct competition with AdBlitz in another example of the social network attempting to one-up the search giant by bringing friends deeper into the experience.
Facebook users will be able to vote using the Like button until Wednesday, February 9 at 6pm PST. On Thursday, February 10, Facebook will announce the commercials with the most Likes. The promotion will probably net many new fans for the Sports on Facebook Page.
Facebook has become a big part of how people celebrate their favorite sports teams. Facebook says that the day the Pittsburgh Steelers (800,000 Likes) and Green Bay Packers (325,000) advanced to the Super Bowl, 6.5 million related status updates were made by 4.6 million people. During and immediately after the playoffs, the Steelers were mentioned in over for million status updates, compared to the Packers who were referenced 2.9 million times.
However, independent analytics company Infegy says that a higher percentage (78%) of mentions of the Packers across the web during January were positive, compared to only 69% for the Steelers.
More than 182 million people Like a team, athlete, league or sports activity on Facebook and referral traffic to sports sites has increased by more than 180% in the past year. Watching sports is a fundamentally social activity, as is watching commercials. Users may seek to consume the commercials where they can easily discuss them with friends, so Google’s AdBlitz could lose a significant share of watchers to Facebook Replay. After all, users will already be on the social network cheering on their favorite team.