Super Bowl 2008: Fumbling Through Social Media

With the release of Reprise Media’s 2008 Super Bowl Search Marketing Scorecard, this week on Searchviews we’ve recapped and reviewed the Super Bowl’s biggest winners and losers in integrating TV ads with online strategy. Today, we’ll take a closer look at one criteria of the Scorecard that’s new this year: social media.

Social media factored into the final rankings this year for a couple of reasons. First, over the last couple of years, Internet traffic has shifted dramatically from portals and shopping sites to social media sites. Second, these sites are highly visible in organic search results – sometimes ranking higher than a company’s website – making them important to branding and driving traffic.

So a few days before game day, we looked at YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook for profiles belonging to known game-day advertisers; see screenshots of our findings on the Reprise Media Flickr page. Brands got points toward their Scorecard standing for having official profiles, groups, video channels, etc. on those three sites, which are among the most popular. Also, MySpace and YouTube both created special pages to highlight Super Bowl ads.

Our findings showed that while marketers have gotten a little bit savvier about search over the four years we’ve tracked the big game (20% more bought search ads for their branded names this year than last) they’re not as smart about social media. Fewer than half of advertisers had profiles on social networks and  video-sharing sites, and only 14% had Super Bowl-related content on social networks.

This year, one clever advertiser, Dunkin’ Donuts, used search to drive traffic right to its YouTube channel, which Pizza Hut did last year.

But zero advertisers, not even the winners, called out their social media profiles in their TV ads, which is a missed opportunity for many of them because of the prevalence of squatters on branded pages that can make official pages hard to find (again, see our Super Bowl social media Flickr set).

In coming years, advertisers will likely begin to wise up about the importance of social media in cross-channel marketing, much like they’re getting savvier about paid search. This year, they weren’t quite there yet.

For all the Super Bowl ad winners and losers, download the Scorecard. And stay tuned for our upcoming whitepaper, which will be released February 21.

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