Fanatics Targeted Fans on Facebook and Instagram to Score Massive Super Bowl Sales

The brand increased its use of Dynamic Ads to reach a passionate fan base

The creative used in Facebook ads to promote the Eagle winning merchandise. Fanatics
Headshot of Ann-Marie Alcántara

It’s a touchdown for Fanatics, which had its best Super Bowl ever, thanks to merchandise sales (and a surprise underdog win from the Philadelphia Eagles).

Fanatics, NFL’s ecommerce partner for the past 12 years, used Facebook and Instagram to promote and sell Eagles merchandise as soon as the game ended. Overall, the company saw Super Bowl merchandise sales increase 60 percent in the nine hours following the game compared to last year when the New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons.

The company, which regularly uses Facebook Dynamic Ads, used them to target fans, making them “an excellent tool for driving consistent sales through digital channels,” said Jakii Chu, svp of digital marketing at Fanatics. The company declined to provide specific numbers, but Chu said the company bought more Dynamic Ads to reach fans following game this year.

For this year’s Super Bowl, Fanatics sold a variety of Super Bowl Eagles merchandise but saw a higher click through rate for the “locker room” t-shirt and the podium zip-up jacket. Chu believes these products are more popular because they are the items the players wear on the field postgame, as well during the press conferences and interviews. 

It was also Fanatics second biggest event in company history (including sales across Fanatics network such as behind the Chicago Cubs’ World Series victory in 2016.

It should come as no surprise that Fanatics cashed in thanks to Facebook because according to company, more than “62 million people had 270 million Super Bowl-related interactions on Facebook” with 90 percent of them happening on mobile.

“So while major sporting events like the Super Bowl or key sales periods like the holidays are absolutely an important time for brands to tap into Facebook and Instagram, we’re working with brands every day to help make the mobile transition,” said Simon Whitcombe, group lead, travel and ecommerce at Facebook.

Basically, Facebook’s happy with whatever business brands build with them—but it wants that business year round, instead of solely during big events.

Fanatics’ big sales win could possibly be attributed to the Eagles coming into the game as an underdog favorite. According to ownerIQ, a consumer data company, there was an 858 percent lift from the day before the Super Bowl to the day after in terms of merchandise bought (the data set does not include Fanatics merchandise).

“This was going to be a big Super Bowl for Fanatics no matter who won,” Chu said. “Both teams combined had set a record for sales heading into the game, but since this was the Eagles’ first-ever Super Bowl fans definitely wanted to celebrate the iconic moment by quickly purchasing lots of Championship merchandise and apparel.”


@itstheannmarie Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.