Adobe Dig­i­tal Index research indi­cates record play­off audi­ences and surg­ing social media buzz, which sug­gest Super Bowl XLVIII view­er­ship is poised to cap­ture the top posi­tion as the U.S.’s largest tele­vi­sion audi­ence broad­cast of all time. What’s more, Fox Sports’ announce­ment that it will live stream the game to iPads just about ensures that this year’s game at MetLife Sta­dium, in New Jer­sey, will also be the most mobile Super Bowl ever.

For mar­keters, how­ever, this year’s Super Bowl—which, for more than two decades, has been a show­case for the most inno­v­a­tive and expen­sive adver­tis­ing of the year—has become a more com­plex chal­lenge: While the worlds of dig­i­tal and broad­cast have merged into one from the viewer’s per­spec­tive, they remain some­what dis­con­nected on the marketer’s side. Social media mar­ket­ing, online video releases, and mobile opti­mized web sites are now key to cre­at­ing that trophy-winning Super Bowl mar­ket­ing moment. That’s why many mar­keters have assem­bled teams of dig­i­tal spe­cial­ists to aug­ment their grand broad­cast invest­ments to score some big-game points.

Social Media Is Off The Sidelines

The oppor­tu­nity to cap­i­tal­ize on social media mar­ket­ing dur­ing the Super Bowl is mas­sive.  In fact, adver­tis­ers have already started to see large gains in their social men­tions and after a week of post play-off activ­ity, Super Bowl adver­tis­ers have sur­passed the social media men­tions of their competitors. This trend shows no signs of slow­ing down we roll into the game.


The main dri­ver of increased social buzz appears to be tele­vi­sion adver­tis­ing.  Chevro­let released an ad teaser on the 28th that helped put it to the num­ber one spot in social media mentions. Pepsi’s big ad dur­ing the Grammy show pushed the brand above Coca-Cola for the first time in the last few weeks.  Bud­weiser launched a series of pre-Bowl ads designed to ini­ti­ate con­ver­sa­tion on Twit­ter with #Upfor­What­ever which saw some buzz but not enough to break into the top 5 adver­tis­ers.


In addi­tion to the size of the cam­paign, qual­ity cre­ative that is humor­ous, altru­is­tic or emo­tion­ally evoca­tive fac­tors into the results for marketers.

Social Buzz Pre­dicts Big Viewership

We’ve demon­strated in pre­vi­ous Adobe Dig­i­tal Index reports that social media buzz is an accu­rate pre­dic­tor of future view­er­ship.  This year, if the num­ber of social media men­tions of the Super Bowl, teams, coaches, and key play­ers in the week imme­di­ately fol­low­ing the final play­off games are any indi­ca­tion, view­er­ship for this year’s event should be sky-high, lead­ing us to pre­dict this year’s Super Bowl will be the largest US sport­ing event audi­ence ever.


Con­ver­sa­tion about teams and quar­ter­backs is also grow­ing and shows the build­ing excite­ment about the game.



Web And Mobile Traf­fic Playbook

Adobe Dig­i­tal Index analy­sis of the past three Super Bowls demon­strates that Inter­net traf­fic starts pick­ing up for Super Bowl adver­tis­ers prior to Sun­day, with peaks increas­ing dur­ing the broad­cast as a result of more mobile traf­fic. Traf­fic is typ­i­cally up 15% dur­ing the day of the game; dur­ing the event, itself, traf­fic runs 20% above nor­mal. Traf­fic also stays higher than aver­age for a few weeks after, as the lin­ger­ing impact of the adver­tis­ing continues.

Adobe Dig­i­tal Index research, also sug­gests that with more social pregame activ­ity, adver­tis­ers’ web sites will see an uptick in traf­fic ear­lier, and post-campaign activ­ity could sus­tain that traf­fic surge longer.


Mobile Is The Ticket

Over 50% of view­ers will have a smart­phone in their hand at some point dur­ing the Game. 1 in 3 will be using the phone to chat on social media.  So it’s not sur­pris­ing that Adobe Dig­i­tal Index research also sug­gests that vis­its to advertiser’s web­sites via mobile devices are expected to lead the increase in traf­fic on game day and Super Bowl adver­tis­ers will see a jump in mobile traf­fic of 60% ver­sus a typ­i­cal day, with nearly one in three web site vis­its com­ing from a mobile device dur­ing the big game.

2014’s Biggest Opportunity?

This is the year the Super Bowl’s tra­di­tion of mar­ket­ing excel­lence will become truly dig­i­tal, with the event likely gen­er­at­ing the largest mobile and social mar­ket­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties of 2014. Not only are savvy adver­tis­ers mak­ing sure their web sites are opti­mized for mobile traf­fic, they are also push­ing for­ward with incre­men­tal mobile and social sup­port­ing cam­paigns. Even those mar­keters that can’t afford the $4 mil­lion TV ad price tag are poised to take advan­tage of the incre­men­tal mobile and social traf­fic to launch digital-only campaigns.

After the game, check back to find out how Super Bowl adver­tis­ers fared in social, mobile and web site traffic.


Research is based on the analy­sis of select, anony­mous, and aggre­gated data from over 5,000 com­pa­nies world­wide that use the Adobe Mar­ket­ing Cloud solu­tions, to obtain real-time data and analy­sis of activ­ity on their web­sites.  Social men­tion data was gath­ered using Adobe Social and sourced from pub­li­cally avail­able records. Survey con­ducted by Adobe included 400 online sur­veys com­pleted in the United States.  Research con­ducted Jan­u­ary 2014.