Super Bowl Social Advertising Analysis — What Moved the Needle?

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Super Bowl ads—whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, as a marketer you are likely wondering whether this year’s Super Bowl ads really moved the needle for the marketers who brought these campaigns to life. While it may be tempting to judge an ad’s effectiveness based on whether it made you howl with laughter or hit you “in the feels,” we as marketers know all too well that you need quantifiable data in order to assess the impact of an ad. Now, using BrandTotal’s suite of social competitive intelligence tools, you can move beyond your first impression and get a deeper look at how brands’ 60 seconds of fame have resonated across the social space.

The below analysis measures Super Bowl content from the following brands: Bud Light, Chipotle, M&M, Robinhood, Tide, Toyota, and UberEATS.


Winners: Bud Light and Toyota

Super Bowl Winners (1)

Perhaps not surprisingly, Bud Light had some of the best Super Bowl ad performance across the social space, achieving a balance of social SOV, engagements, and positive sentiment. While they were not the top spender, their strategy was Twitter-heavy (87% of the media mix) and included a significant paid media push 11 days prior to game day, teasing the commercial and encouraging consumers to enter a sweepstakes to win a 12-pack of Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade.

Bud Light did not spend the most to come out on top

Super Bowl SOV on Paid Social

Bud Light had a significant paid media push leading up to Super Bowl Sunday

Bud Light social media push

Toyota, while having a more modest paid media presence (4%), managed to drive considerable engagement and positive sentiment. Also a Twitter-heavy brand (71% of the media mix), the brand’s heartfelt ad featuring Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long received significant media amplification two days prior to game day.

Toyota graph

Super Bowl Misses: Robinhood and M&M

Super Bowl Misses

Robinhood had the lowest social SOV out of all brands analyzed, and did not allocate any supporting media beyond Twitter and YouTube. Additionally, as a result of the brand getting caught up in the Reddit GameStop controversy, the ad itself made little difference in the domain of public opinion. 


M&M was one of the most significant spenders of Super Bowl on social (35%), but fell victim to creative wearout. The brand had one of the longer paid lead times out of all brands that advertised, and had the highest volume of Organic leading up to the premiere of their Super Bowl commercial. 

M&M had one of the longest creative lead times out of all brands in the category:

M&M - creative lead time

Organic Posts during SUper bowl

M&M also managed to hurt its Net Sentiment score for the “sorry I called you Karen” joke that was made in the Super Bowl commercial. Consumers felt the Karen joke trend is worn out and hurtful, particularly those consumers named Karen. 

Sentiment - M&M

Lessons Learned

  1. While a multi-channel media approach is recommended to help drive engagements across the social space, Twitter is an essential channel for Super Bowl advertisers. Brands participating should consider allocating anywhere from 65-90% of their Super Bowl social budget to Twitter. 

  2. While marketers tend to get really hyped about Super Bowl ads, consumers may be less enthused. While significant levels of social advertising promoting Super Bowl ads starts around two weeks out, brands should concentrate the majority of their ad budget on key “reveal” days that will help raise awareness of the spot.

  3. Don’t mess with anyone named Karen!

Would you like to learn more about BrandTotal and how we can help your company benchmark its brand advertising against your competitors? If you’d like to see what’s working, what’s not, and where the optimization opportunities are, please request a demo.