As soon as the final whistle of the Super Bowl is blown and the winning team claims the Lombardi trophy, the next big topic becomes: Who won Super Bowl advertising? Lists of the best TV advertisements of the game are published almost immediately, but the winners on social media aren’t quite so obvious.
To determine the social media marketing winners of Super Bowl 51, we evaluated for each of the following categories: number of retweets, number of Facebook Live views, increase in Facebook page likes, and number of YouTube likes. Here’s what we found:
The most retweeted advertisement of Super Bowl 51 thus far is Airbnb’s “We Accept”. This spot celebrates diversity and promotes cultural acceptance, featuring the hashtag #weaccept. It resonated with an expansive audience, resulting in 32,698 retweets and 70,785 likes on Twitter at time of writing.
Airbnb, like many other top advertisers this year, took a serious tone in its Super Bowl advertisement. By centering its spot around a message consumers feel passionate about, Airbnb drove an enormous amount of social sharing, and the tone of the ad helped the brand stand out amidst the more typical funny Super Bowl ads. Its success on Twitter can also be attributed to its decision to pin the ad to the top of its feed, a tactic the majority of the top tweeted brands employed.
For the past several years, Budweiser has earned a reputation as a top Super Bowl advertiser. This year, its creative use of Facebook Live paid off. The #ClydesdaleCam, which featured the famous Budweiser Clydesdales munching on snacks and watching the big game, was a huge hit. It appeared on the Facebook Live Heat Map during the game and had attracted 4,863,730 million viewers at time of writing.
Budweiser’s success on Facebook Live was unrivaled; no brand matched its success in harnessing the power of this relatively new feature. By capitalizing on a campaign that has been very well received in the past but putting a fresh spin on it, Budweiser produced content it knew consumers would be excited about while leveraging the popularity of a new social channel. The Clydesdale Cam’s success can also be attributed to Budweiser’s promotion of it on Twitter throughout the entire game using #ClydesdaleCam, and the mention it got during the live TV broadcast of the game.
84 Lumber was a wild card Super Bowl social media winner. This little-known construction company used its touching spot about the journey of an immigrant and her daughter to make what many people perceived as a political statement. The ad garnered extensive attention on social media, helping 84 Lumber Company’s Facebook page gain 46,155 new likes during the week of the Super Bowl for a near 4x increase in total page likes. While its new likes were slightly outnumbered by Netflix, the huge growth percentage bumped them up to the top for this category.
Facebook is one of the primary hubs for sharing political opinions online (many of Facebook’s top viral live videos centered upon political matters). As such, it’s no surprise that 84 Lumber’s ad found a massive audience there. Although 84 Lumber did not make any specific efforts to funnel people towards its Facebook page, the personal connection many consumers felt with the commercial triggered organic engagement and enormous growth for its company Facebook page.
In terms of YouTube likes, Netflix dominated with its teaser trailer for Stranger Things 2, which is set to premiere in October 2017. At time of writing, the spot had 122,807 likes on YouTube from fans eagerly awaiting the new season of Netflix’s popular original series.
We focused on YouTube likes rather than views because though Super Bowl ads on YouTube are often watched by choice, not all of the views that appear on the view count are earned. Advertisers obtain some of the views through paid promotion, running their ads before other content on YouTube. Likes can’t (as easily) be bought, and, as such, can be a more accurate metric for ad popularity. Likes are also active engagement with an ad, while simply watching an ad long enough to be counted as a ‘view’ is entirely passive.
84 Lumber—“The Entire Journey”
Budweiser—“Born The Hard Way”
Netflix—“Stranger Things 2”