Posted February 13, 2012 9:23 am by with 1 comment

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This guest blog post comes via HubSpot. It is written by Donald Nosek, VP of Strategy for ymarketing, a data-driven, digital marketing agency specializing in inbound marketing, and a VAR for HubSpot.

So what can the greatest outbound marketing event of the year teach inbound marketers? As we did last year, we’ve looked at key social media markers ( to determine what impact Super Bowl commercials have on the social media efforts of the brands who advertised.

What makes the following five lessons significant to inbound marketers is that the conclusions are statistically based.

Lesson #1: Ignore Mobile at Your Peril
For the first time ever, the Super Bowl could be watched using smartphones. That included the commercials, so it must have been a moment of panic for Coca-Cola when its “real-time” or “live” polar bears commercials could not be viewed on mobile. How can you complete engagement on “second screens” when you leave up a live stream that isn’t even viewable on mobile phones and tablets? Perhaps as a result of this, or because the commercials were not engaging enough, the commercials only got 339 comments and 34 likes on YouTube, and on Monday morning less than 100,000 had viewed the commercials (compared to the 4 million that VW and Doritos got).

Lesson #2: If You Build It, They will come
Effective social media and inbound marketing takes time and effort. You need to build your fan base, interact with them and make sure you stay engaged. The companies that increased the number of Facebook fans/likes the most during and after the Super Bowl were the companies that already had vested the most time and energy into their Facebook marketing efforts. Disney Pictures, Coca-Cola, H&M, History Channel, PespiCo’s Doritos and Samsung already had Facebook fans in the millions, and they enjoyed the greatest gains.

Lesson #3: It’s What You Say That Counts
In the world of inbound marketing, content is king. But just creating content to fill the pipeline is not enough. More important is offering content that resonates, that actually says something. Chrysler went for a two minute commercial during half-time. The ad feature Clint Eastwood talking about how this is half time for America and we, as a nation, are ready for the second half. It reminded us of the tough times we have faced, and the fact that we are tough enough to turn things around. It appealed to our inner strength as a nation, rather than pandering to our patriotism. It was powerful. And it resonated, resulting in strong social media buzz. The spot had more than 7,700 likes on YouTube, and “Clint” mentions have topped 33,000+ Tweets with more than 15,000 news results on Google within 24 hours of its airing. Plus, because it reminded people of the government bailing out the auto industry, we know the social commentary will have a long shelf life.

Lesson #4: Give The People What They Want
For social media it pays to listen to what your customers like. In today’s social media world, if it works on YouTube, don’t fix it. We’re talking about animal videos, and this year’s Super Bowl commercials had plenty of them. Dogs were featured in ads from Volkswagen, BudLight, Skechers, and Suzuki. Total YouTube viewership during and after the game – almost 10 million.

But animals are not the only thing people want to see. This past year there were two popular phenomena that the Super Bowl advertisers capitalized on – The Twilight Saga (and the continuing fascination with vampires) and singing competitions (American Idol, X Factor, The Voice, America’s Got Talent). Audi parodied Twilight while PepsiMax had Elton John be an imperious ruler who awards Pepsi only to those singers who meet his standards.

The results. Audi added 8,000 Twitter followers (4% increase), received almost 4,000 Twitter mentions, increased its Facebook fans/likes by 320,000 (8% increase), had more than 177,000 talking about them on Facebook, had more than 6 million YouTube views (and 11 thousands YouTube likes) and had a social sentiment ratio of 12:1 (positive vs. negative comments). PepsiMax received amore than 3,200 Twitter mentions, added 170,000 fans/like to Facebook (22% increase), had 66,000 talking about them in Facebook, had 2.5 million YouTube Views, and enjoyed an 11:1 social sentiment ratio.

Lesson #5 – Integrate Your Social Media with Your Marketing
This was the year the big boys and girls recognized the value of social media. If you wanted, you could have easily watched the majority of the commercials before the Super Bowl began. In fact, brands created campaigns around their Super Bowl commercials, with an eye on maximum engagements. Companies like Chevrolet and PepsiCo offered competitions for creating ads, and the losers and the winners were shown on YouTube long before the coin toss. Chevrolet had an app that showed you the ads, the twitter feeds, trivia etc. For their efforts Chevrolet increased its Twitter followers by more than 9,000 (14% increase) with 11,000 Twitter mentions.

Bridgestone Americas’ Facebook page served as the digital epicenter of its new campaign. Visitors there found a 3D animated Performance ball (and puck) and tire models that offer an interactive technology demonstration. Bridgestone increased its Facebook fans/likes by 21%.

There were probably several other lessons that we could learn from the Super Bowl commercials. Our Super Bowl Social Brand Scoreboard Report will hopefully point out some other ones. Can you think of any others?

The thoughts and opinions in this post do not necessarily represent those of Marketing Pilgrim.

  • I especially agree with your points about content. Content is useless (either as a Super Bowl ad or a social media post) if it doesn’t resonate with the audience. Any kind of inbound marketing content that is created needs to have the target audience in mind in order to establish trust over time.