2013 Superbowl Ads Favor URLs, Hashtags –Not Facebook

For the last few years (see 2012 data). This analysis is a bellwether on how brands will spend on an integrated experience for the year. Overall, we saw brands still hold onto corporate websites, although a big jump in hashtag usage, and decline in Facebook integration.

Majority of 2013 Superbowl Ads Integrated URLs, Hashtags –Few use Facebook
2012-2013 Superbowl Ad Tech Integration

Tech Integration Type 2012 2013 Percent Change
Corporate URL/Microsite 58% 46% -12%
Facebook 11% 7% -4%
Hashtag 7% 38% +31%
Shazam 6% 2% -4%
Total Ads with Integration 68% 75% +7%


Integration to reach the Dynamic Customer a top priorty for brands.
Brands know they must integrate their brand experience on multiple experiences and apply real time interaction, Altimeter’s research theme the Dynamic Customer Journey explores this challenging trend.. Adobe shared with me that: “Visits and page views to companies that advertise on TV during the Super Bowl show a 20% increase in visits on the day of the game and maintain higher than average traffic for a week following the game.” This integrated approaches means longer adoption over the 30 seconds. Top findings include:

  • 75% of Brands integrate second screen experience, up 7%. Overall, 75% of brand ads integrated social, mobile, hashtags, or apps in their $4m, 30 second spot (that’s $133k per second), this is up from 68% integration in 2012. This second screen promotion extends engagement to their websites and social sites, fostering a further integrated experience. Of note, Oreo was able to quickly create ads on social channels that tapped into the unexpected blackout, showing their advertising and marketing prowess, cross-screen. Expect this growth rate to only continue in 2014, as ads should cross the 80-90% integration rate.
  • Hashtags, presumably aimed for Twitter, dominate over Facebook. Hashtag integration in ads dominated the airtime, with 38% of ads including Hashtags in visual display on ads, up 31% out of a total of 64 ads. Twitter, a media-centric, network serves better for real time interactions of live events, rather than Facebook, which may spur deeper engagement through interactive media, social interactions, and applications.  Brand advertisers chose to integrate Facebook URLs or Icons a mere 7% down 4% from 11% in the prior year.   Facebook’s limited hashtag search restricts how brands can identify and engage in trends beyond a specific page. We observed that Calvin Klein trended on Twitter, at US level.
  • Niche Players Come and Go: Shazam down, Instagram Enters. The social media space is littered with startups that come and go. And while Shazam showed some promise in last years 2012 superbowl, their brand adoption rate decreased significantly. For the first time, Instagram made an entry with Oreo, and attracts thousands of followers. While Shazam fell in adoption, QR codes and SMS messages were not present at all in 2013, despite a few experiments in prior years.

Summary: Expect Hashtags to Overake Corporate Websites in 2014
Brands prefer deeper integration on their own website and leverage over-arching hashtags for events –beyond pointing to Facebook. Isolated Facebook falls in favor for these real time events, but likely provide a deeper brand engagement beyond the immediate event. While individual URLs to microsites and corporate accounts maintain dominance, Hashtags, which can be used in a variety of social networks, are permeable to multiple networks, extending broader engagement. Expect that the 2014 Superbowl favors hashtags over corporate URL usage.

Methods:  Altimeter tallied integration in Ads from kickoff to end of game, of major ads on TV.  We did not include ads involved in specific CBS promotions, instead brands that had paid airtime to reach this network. And yes, this means we maintained sobriety in the name of research.

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