predictions last week raised expectations about the role that social media would play in reshaping what has historically been one of the most engaging non-holiday events in the U.S. every year, the first analysis of yesterday's public social network data by advertising analysis firm Networked Insights makes a compelling revelation: Almost three-fourths of the chat taking place among Twitter and Facebook users Sunday night had nothing to do with the game itself.Although
In fact, according to Networked Insights' data, the Super Bowl topic that trended in third place was "Brady," but when you break that topic down, you realize it may actually have been more about Mrs. Tom Brady - supermodel Gisele Bundchen, who appeared on camera perhaps once during the game, whom Tweeters evidently referred to as "Mrs. Brady" or perhaps "Lady Brady" - than about the New England Patriots quarterback.
Though it may not be entirely surprising that commercials constitute the bulk of online chatter during the event, it's astonishing to see that TV commercials make up some 42% of all Super Bowl-related online chatter. Although New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw scored what Super Bowl history may record as the most awkward game winning touchdown - slowly being seated on the goal line after trying to stop himself short at the 1-yard line - his maneuver only elicited a minor wave compared with Mrs. Brady.
A spokesperson for Networked Insights told RWW this afternoon that part of the reason for the lopsided topic mix may have to do partly with the game. It was a low-scoring game with only one interception, whose outcome was only sealed when the clock reached zero. It may have been such a nail-biter, in other words, that true football fans may have been biting their nails rather than tapping their keys.
"It's not surprising to see viewers' commentary of Super Bowl advertisements surpass those of the game itself," Dan Neely, NI's CEO, tells RWW this afternoon. "Brands can partly attribute this social lift as a by-product of a low-scoring game that allowed viewers to discuss the commercials."
A word about the volume of tweets: Naturally, NI's tracking included tweets that included the hashtag
#superbowl. NI estimates tweets to that hashtag alone to have numbered around 1.6 million, though it will have updated, hardened data later in the week. That's as many tweets as are normally archived in a single day, the NI spokesperson tells us.
As an analysis firm for advertisers, NI itself was concerned more with the commercials than the football. Gaining the most overall viewer response among celebrity endorsers was the tattooed, underwear-wearing veteran of what "far'ners" call football, David Beckham. His shorts reached out to 39% of folks talking about just the Super Bowl commercials (as opposed to the game), according to NI's figures. This is what NI means by "share of value." Sentiment among chatting consumers was 23% more positive than negative, suggesting the H&M undies went over well. Coming in second was Clint Eastwood, whose two-minute ad that may have been for Chrysler but may really have been for the city of Detroit, had 21% "share of value," while 9% of the discussion was more positive than negative.
Though NI gives Chrysler kudos for choosing Eastwood, it notes that the resulting chatter was three times more about him than about Chrysler.
By comparison, as much as 28% of folks chatting about Super Bowl topics during halftime were discussing Madonna's halftime show. Their discussion constituted 32% of Super Bowl-related social traffic by volume. Sentiment for Madonna was generally negative (-21%), with tweets about her staying relatively short, with a particularly negative peak towards the end where the lights converged to reveal the message, "WORLD PEACE." By contrast, sentiment for her on-stage co-star MIA - whose little birdie expressed exactly the opposite sentiment - ran generally positive at +6%, commanding 3% of the discussion. The star of the halftime show ended up being Nicki Minaj, whom perhaps more viewers recognized than Clint Eastwood. Minaj commanded a 7% share of value, with 26% of it more positive than negative.
Breaking down just the Madonna comments, MI found that as much as 2% of this subgroup were making comments about her age (53). This group was split down the middle as to whether she looked great for her age, with the negative group making snarky comments about such things as her "veiny" arms. Sentiment turned positive when she began singing "Like a Prayer," which was originally released in 1989, though it tipped downward to -11% after she began her latest single, "Give Me All Your Luvin.'" (NI does not appear to have data regarding consumer sentiment about its spelling.)
"The takeaway for networks, producers, and sports leagues is the need to create multiple engagement points around content that is in sync with the interests of a target audience," states NI's Dan Neely. "Going forward, the winners will be the programs that leverage social technology to drive participation."
What the Twitterers of the world may have missed Sunday night was the terrific sense of community and shared excitement. Just the NFL Experience - the week-long slate of activities in downtown Indianapolis among football fans who love the game and who keep their phones mostly in their pockets except to take pictures - pulled in some 265,000 people over a nine-day period, according to the latest estimates.