Iron Man benefits from Super Bowl blackout as viewers turned to Facebook after commercial aired

“Iron Man” was one of the biggest winners during the Super Bowl blackout on Sunday. The Paramount Pictures film received as many as 2,000 new Facebook fans per minute following its commercial, which happened to be the first one CBS cut to after the power in the Superdome went out during the big game.

The “Iron Man” page exceeded the next largest Super Bowl advertiser’s growth by a factor of seven, according to data provided by Facebook analytics and advertising company Optimal. This was largely because the commercial for the third film in the comic book franchise included a call to action to see an extended trailer on the movie’s Facebook page. Perhaps because of the game delay from the power outage, viewers were more likely to turn to the social network and seek out the page. Click here for a closer look at the graph below and to compare the growth of other Super Bowl advertisers.

Optimal notes that not only were viewers coming to the page and viewing the extended trailer, but they were also sharing it. The video post has more than 59,000 shares and 88,000 Likes. More than 57 percent of users who shared the trailer were women with an average age of 33. This demographic was 7 times less likely to have been a fan of “Iron Man” before Sunday, according to Optimal’s Audience Matrix. The U.S. fanbase of the page skews 61 percent male with an average age of 24.

From the distribution of Likes per minute, it does not appear as though the “Iron Man” page was running Facebook ads on Sunday, so the new fans are most likely the result of Super Bowl advertising and organic News Feed stories about users’ friends interacting with the page.

“Iron Man” also gained significantly more fans than other movies that advertised during the Super Bowl. “Oz The Great and Powerful,” which included the hashtag #disneyoz after its commercial but no mention of Facebook, got only a slight bump in new fans. “Star Trek” barely registers on the graph below, as it was gaining fewer than 17 new Likes per minute. The commercial for that movie included a call to action to download an iOS app from the App Store, but no mentions of social media pages.

“Fast & Furious 6” was another movie that advertised during the Super Bowl and included a Facebook mention, but Optimal did not track the Likes by minute for the page. According to our own PageData tracking tool, the movie’s page gained 214,976 new Likes that day, nearly 6 times more than the day before. Its three posts on Sunday received between 16,000 and 60,000 shares each, though we don’t have data on how many of those shares were likely from new fans versus the franchise’s more than 24 million existing fans.

Optimal says the trends from the Super Bowl are a reminder of how television and social media can work together to drive awareness and engagement for a brand. Advertisers wouldn’t have been able to predict the blackout, but they could perhaps consider other ways to time their promotions to maximize the opportunities for users to take action on or offline. The company wrote in a blog post:

“Although the blackout was accidental, the minute-by-minute social data shows the potential for interplay between television, online content and social sharing, and how advertisers need to think holistically about how channels work together to create incremental reach and interest in their products.  In Iron Man 3’s case, the promise of exclusive online content, a ready social audience plus a bit of lucky timing became the fuel that rapidly propelled Tony Stark’s image to a new audience.”

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