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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75 Replies to “2013 Superbowl Ads Favor URLs, Hashtags –Not Facebook”

  1. I found very few of the hashtags memorable. #MiracleStain from Tide was the only one I clearly remember today…and I was looking for them. Of course, being a Ravens fan probably hindered my #BrandBowl participation.

  2. Many brads need to go back to Marketing 101. #betterwithmms hashtag was useless for M&Ms. The commercial did not promote a URL and searching
    Google for the 2013 ad, I found 2012 content. Searching for the hashtag, Google
    thinks that the user intent of the hashtag was Miracle Mineral Solution, a solution
    of sodium chlorite in distilled water often referred to as MMS. #HashtagFail

    Who did it right? Calvin Klein. Not only did they have their URL but also encourage people to use it as a hashtag. Even people that did not like the ad were using #CalvinKlein. I should write a blog post about this. Thanks Jeremiah!

  3. Great insights. Just a heads up that you might want to correct the percentage change of corporate URLs/Microsites… 🙂

  4. am I reading this wrong? It seems like if anything this was a major drop in corporate URL usage?
    Corporate URL/Microsite
    58% (2012)

    46% (2013)


  5. Here’s a list of brands, and hashtags used in the Superbowl ads:

    Subway , 15yrwinningstreak

    M&Ms , betterwithmms

    Audi , braverywins

    Calvin Klein Concept , calvinklein

    Mio Fit , changestuff

    Budweiser Clydesdales , clydesdales

    Pistachios , crackinstyle

    Doritos , doritos

    Doritos , doritos

    Subway -Februany , februANY

    subway – Februany , februANY

    VW , gethappy

    Go Pro , gopro

    Speed Stick , handleit

    Bud Light , herewego

    Bud Light , herewego

    Bud Light , herewego

    Best Buy , infiniteanswers

    Tide , miraclestain

    cars.com , nodrama

    Hyundai , pick your team

    Godaddy , thekiss

    Samsung , thenextbigthing

    Rav 4 , wishgranted

  6. “And yes, this means we maintained sobriety in the name of research.” Love it. And good information, although I’ll be surprised if hashtags really do overtake websites next year.

  7. “And yes, this means we maintained sobriety in the name of research.” Love it. And good information, although I’ll be surprised if hashtags really do overtake websites next year.

  8. “And yes, this means we maintained sobriety in the name of research.” Love it. And good information, although I’ll be surprised if hashtags really do overtake websites next year.

  9. A request came in to share the order in which the ads surfaced. As most know this game was unusual due to the aprox 15 min blackout, which resulted in more inventory for ads to be run (I’m curious of they had to pay more, if so, how much).

    This list does not include NBC ads, Superbowl ads, NBC shows. The numbers indicate which quarter the ad was run, “HT” indicates half time. Time included from start of kickoff till end of game, where Ravens did the safety dance.

    Quarter, Brand

    1 Bud Black Crown

    1 M&Ms

    1 Audi

    1 Hyundai

    1 Godaddy

    1 Doritos

    1 Pepsi Next

    1 Best Buy

    1 Bud Black Crown

    1 Wizard of Oz

    1 Coke

    1 Oreo

    1 Fast & Furious 6

    1 Rav 4

    2 Doritos

    2 Calvin Klein Concept

    2 cars.com

    2 Bud Light

    2 Godaddy.co

    2 Star Trek

    2 Milk

    2 Hyundai Sonata

    2 VW

    2 Coca-Cola

    2 Subway

    2 Taco Bell

    2 Sketchers

    2 Bridgestone Tires

    2 Lincoln MKZ

    HT Go Pro

    HT OnPoint Credit Union

    HT Honda

    HT Jeep

    HT Ford Escape

    HT Xfinity

    HT American Family Insurance

    HT Miller Paint

    HT Bi-Mart Music Festival

    3 Iron Man 3

    3 Century 21

    3 Blackberry z10

    3 etrade

    3 Subway -Februany

    3 Bud Light

    3 subway – Februany

    3 Bud Light

    3 Axe Apollo

    3 Mio Fit

    3 Kia Forte

    3 Gildan (thread count)

    3 Pistachios

    3 Lincoln

    3 Speed Stick

    3 Beck’s Sapphire

    3 Budweiser Clydesdales

    3 Toyota Tundra

    3 Homestreet Bank

    3 Jack n the Box

    4 Dodge Ram

    4 Kia Sorrento

    4 Tide

    4 Sodastream

    4 Mercedes CLA

    4 Samsung

  10. Jeremiah, thanks for the analysis and the lists. I REALLY appreciate that you would watch the SuperBowl so I don’t have to. That you’d do it sober in the name of science warrants a very special kind of merit badge. 🙂

    If hashtags are going to be as important (or more so) than corporate URLs in marketing, I think it would behoove many brands and agencies to get a primer on hashtag usage. I can’t help but wonder who came up with some of those lame hashtags. Was it ad agencies who aren’t steeped in the ethos of Twitter? I mean seriously, 17 characters?! Big fail for #15yrwinningstreak on that basis alone. Likewise, any experienced Tweeter knows you don’t need to include “the” or “with” or similar parts of speech in a hashtag (attention: Samsung).

    Hashtags are about brevity, originality and ease of use. In that regard, I think many of these brands missed the mark. Moreover, it seems like some just bolted their Twitter strategy onto an existing advertising strategy without knowing a lot about how Twitter actually works.

  11. It’s totally doable, here’s the table of contents, off the top of my head:

    Foreword by Hashtag inventor, Chris Messina
    About Author: Carri Bugbee
    Preface: Why this book, why now

    1) Why Hashtags are unique (crowd engagement vs corporate messaging). “Marketing has changed”, bombastic metaphor relating to crowd vs command
    2) Unique properties of Hashtags (span multi-social network)
    3) Case examples
    4) Advanced Integrations
    5) Real time interactions
    6) Purchasing sponsorship for acceleration
    7) Readying your agency partners
    8) Aligning interior of your company
    9) Future of cross channel customer engagement
    10) Practical next steps.

    Totally doable.

  12. Even from Brussels we did watch the Superbowl, starting at 00.30 local time (in Hard Rock café Brussels). Our motivation ended quickly with the first quarter, due to late hour, free beers, and the fact that ads were not shown…So thanks for the recap, on my side my bet of the future are corporate sites (with responsive designs) + hashtags will blow all others. Corporate sites are here to stay to convey the brand, no matter what.

  13. Karen Russel asks on Twitter “I’m more interested that 25% did NOT integrate. Who are these people?”

    Here’s the answer set:

    Bud Black Crown
    Wizard of Oz
    Star Trek
    Bridgestone Tires
    Miller Paint
    Bi-Mart Music Festival
    Kia Forte
    Gildan (thread count)
    Beck’s Sapphire
    Toyota Tundra
    Homestreet Bank
    Dodge Ram
    Kia Sorrento

  14. Sure, brands appearing to take one side may see a blip of backlash. But this is surely the most discussion around laundry detergent in quite some time. They most likely thought the positive outcome was worth the potential risk.

  15. Jeremiah, while I agree that a high percent of brands used a hashtag, which is great, most did not use them effectively — beyond the promotion of it. They did not take further advantage of our second and third screens to pull us into the brand and participate further in an experience aimed to make us more loyal advocates for the brand and more likely to purchase. Coke was the most effective. Oreo did fairly well also with the use of instagram. Wow, so many missed opportunities when you think of it. Do you agree?

    As a result, I have decided to make this a project for my Digital Marketing students at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. They will, in teams, take on a brand and develop a stronger consumer experience for the various ads and hashtags that were used for the Super Bowl. I will then post their recommendations on slideshare.

  16. thanks for the analysis and the lists. I REALLY appreciate that you would watch the SuperBowl

  17. Jeremiah thank you for this great post on the future #hashtags. We are thrilled to see this data and have been building our oneQube platform based on your post. We see the hashtag as the atomic element of relevance in real-time marketing. It holds together rea-time micro communities and content around macro events. When you run analytics against them you can market and build audience in real-time. Heres an example of hashtag analytics run against the #SuperBowl & Brands hashtags running during the game http://internetmedialabs.com/the-hashtag-bowl-2

    Look forward to your thoughts and insights..

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