What Kinds of Super Bowl Ads Generated the Most Online Buzz?

How celebs, hashtags and logos fared

Now that the advertising industry has dissected which Super Bowl brands nailed and failed TV creative last night, it is probably a good time to take a look at how the Big Game ads stacked up online.

Omnicom-owned Annalect and Optimum Sports measured the total number of online engagements for each of the 71 national ads that ran last night. The findings were assembled with crowdsourcing, creating a score that considers all public information about an online ad's performance—including views, clicks, "likes" and shares on various platforms.

"Over the past few years, digital platforms have enabled expansion of the engagement opportunity to include the weeks leading up to the game," said Jeremy Carey, managing director of Optimum Sports. "Now we can harvest insights regarding the creative that have value far beyond a single event."  

One of the main things Omnicom's data shows is how logos impact digital engagement. Sixty-five percent of ads showed a logo three times or fewer, which led to the highest levels of online engagement. Such brands included Snickers, Esurance, Always, Sprint and TurboTax. On the other hand, Logo-heavy ads did not score as well.

Here are some key points in Omnicom's Super Bowl research:

• People saw hashtags in half of Super Bowl commercials, but didn't notice as many calls to action to follow a brand's social media accounts. Always' "Like A Girl" ad generated 920 million engagements, followed by Budweiser's "Lost Dog" spot with 177 million engagements. Both used hashtag campaigns.

• Ten percent of ads were tied to a patriotic message. Carnival, Microsoft and Jeep all leaned on the theme, but Twitter users complained that Jeep's campaign mirrored a campaign from The North Face.

Snickers, Clash of Clans, Kia and Esurance all leaned on celebrities in their TV ads. In terms of celebrities who racked up the most social buzz, Clash of Clans' Liam Neeson pulled in 37 million engagements. The second most popular ad packed with celebs was Snickers' spot with Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi—which generated 26 million engagements.

• But interestingly, those celebs don't directly correlate to online success. The average engagement for spots without stars (which included Bud Light, Budweiser and Always) generated engagement six times higher than ads with high-profile actors.

• Twenty percent of this year's ads included a sports or lifestyle theme. Standouts in the category included P&G's "Like A Girl" campaign from Always and Mercedes Benz's "Fable" spot.

Click here to see all of the research's findings.

Recommended articles