Over the past several years, Super Bowl commercials have broken trhough of the boundaries of traditional television. No longer a simple afterthought or Monday morning conversation starter, Super Bowl ads are anticipated almost as much as the game itself.
Even before the rise of social media and online video, Super Bowl ads prompted mass sharing via word-of-mouth. I remember sitting in front of my television during the Super Bowl, pen and paper in hand. I wrote down any funny, emotional, memorable commercial that played so I would have a list to talk about with friends at school the next day. Sharing opinions about Super Bowl ads was a way for people to gain social capital with peers—the same can be said about sharing Super Bowl ads today, though sharing across social networks now trumps word-of-mouth.
After this trend of social video sharing gained traction, brands and marketers began releasing Super Bowl spots online before the big game. This method proved successful— according to new data released today by Unruly Media, 60% of the most shared Super Bowl ads of all time were launched before Super Bowl Sunday.
Social sharing of Super Bowl commercials has also been growing rapidly year-over-year. Even with the average length of Super Bowl commercials increasing 112% from 2010 to 2013, the top 10 most shared ads from Super Bowl 2013 generated a total of 10.2 million shares across Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere—an 89% increase from 2012 (5.4 million), and a substantial uplift from the 355,325 shares the top 10 commercials managed in 2010.
These shares are the key to maximizing earned media for a brand, which ultimately leads to virality. The Super Bowl offers unmatchable opportunities in terms of exposure and potential for online social sharing. YouTube, made up of the world’s largest video sharing community, created AdBlitz a channel dedicated to Super Bowl commercials where people can watch, vote for and share their favorite game day ads.
The channel currently features several teaser videos for Super Bowl ads from Intuit, Butterfinger, Pepsi, Doritos and Squarespace. Additionally, it will offer playoff analysis from Fox Sports and other custom content like animated gifs, an interactive game and a hashtag search function.
As brands continue to upload Super Bowl spots to YouTube, AdBlitz will no doubt fuel significant social video sharing. We expect to see big numbers in terms of views, shares and conversations around Super Bowl commercials—stay tuned for our post-Super Bowl article in which we’ll discuss the ads that generated the most buzz, YouTube views and social shares around the big game day.