Website design company Wix.com edged out Bud Light in digital marketing agency RKG’s 2015 Digital Bowl Report which evaluated the digital efforts of all the Super Bowl advertisers in areas of social media, display, search engine optimization and paid search & email.
Neither brand scored particularly high in USA Today’s consumer-judged Ad Meter, where an online consumer panel selected the most liked Super Bowl TV commercials. However, the RKG team found that on the digital platforms, Wix turned in the top performance across the board.
What this means for Wix is that it most successfully enhanced its $4.5 million Super Bowl spend for a 30-second TV spot with a well-rounded digital performance. RKG declared Wix “MVP caliber” in three of the evaluated areas, citing a particularly impressive effort in the area of social media, where it concluded that Wix offered “great social content, engagement and conversation throughout the game. The brand’s impressive efforts to keep up with social users in real time—despite the huge time zone gap—really set Wix apart.”
Second place Bud Light was also praised for its “phenomenal showing in the display space and strong presence in search engine results pages (SERP) in both paid and organic. Bud Light locked down its SERP presence with focused ads that included its social hashtags in the copy, pushing users for additional engagement. Where Bud Light really excelled was in its use of display marketing, running pre-roll ads on Super Bowl commercials found on YouTube and locking up a promoted spot on the YouTube homepage. Bud Light also made premium display inventory buys across the Web during the game to stay in front of users on their second-screen in real time.”
Rounding out the Top 5 in the Digital Bowl Report were Budweiser, Doritos and Coca-Cola. The next five included Loctite, Mophie, McDonald’s, Toyota and P&G brand Always.
While Budweiser, Doritos, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Toyota and Always also all finished in the Top 10 most liked by consumers in the USA Today Ad Meter poll, Wix (36), Mophie (26) and Loctite (51) finished lower. What that indicates is that there is a big difference in the criteria of what makes a brand successful and effective online compared to what it needs to do to gain popularity among consumers on TV.
Here is a breakdown of the Digital Bowl Report by the areas the brands were graded in.
Wix dominated the social front, RKG said. “The Super Bowl rookie wasn’t afraid to run with the big dogs—bantering with the big brands and even creating a website on the fly for Doritos, a clear touchdown for its campaign’s tagline #ItsThatEasy,” the report said. “It dominated in the content arena but truly raised the bar in engagement and conversation through its “Easy” contest. Wix successfully leveraged second-screen user behavior to infiltrate ad spaces and steal users’ attention.”
A lot of big brands were making noise on social media, but Loctite was actually saying something, the RKG report said. “The brand’s content had an opinion, it took a side and it wasn’t afraid to play with the seasons vets of Super Bowl advertising. Loctite demonstrated a true understanding of social media: it’s about the users.”
About Coca-Cola’s social media presence, RKG said its tagline #MakeItHappy “was, in many ways, a return to form for this big brand. In 2014, Coke phoned it in with its social and digital campaign, but the brand came back with a stronger playbook this year. It’s content strategy took clear aim at second-screen user behavior, challenging users to help Coke take on the Internet’s trolls and haters.”
On the negative side, RKG said “in the hours after the big game, the brand’s content was beginning to look repetitive and the responses to users more boilerplate.”
RKG said Snickers and Dover “fumbled their opportunity to take advantage of the social audience. They had the opportunity for real-time engagement, but blew it when they responded with canned replies or ignored responses to their calls for user-generated content.”
Volvo, RKG said, “proved you can use other brands’ ad spend to the benefit of your own marketing. Volvo lured users away from competitors’ on-air spots to engage them with its brand. Volvo via social media invited users during any car commercial to tell the company who they would give a Volvo to as part of its #VolvoContest.”
Of McDonald’s, RKG said the brand, “showed up with a savvy content on social, effectively leveraging every other advertisers’ TV spots for the Golden Arches’ gain.” It asked viewers to retweet McDonald’s comments on other brands’ commercials for a chance to win prizes. But while McDonald’s did well in social, RKG said it fell short in paid search, display and SEO.
Search Engine Optimization
The report said, “Wix created an optimized landing page not only for its Super Bowl commercial, but also unique websites for past NFL players ‘companies’ which were featured in their ad. The player company websites were individually designed to portray the scope of Wix’s product offering, and were complete with game- and campaign-specific content. Wix rolled out the #ItsThatEasy campaign before the game, allowing them to rank for Super Bowl-related searches and garner backlinks. During and after the game Wix updated its landing page to encourage individuals to take part in fun contests, as well as to vote for the brand in YouTube’s AdBlitz favorite commercial contest. On all fronts, Wix seamlessly incorporated search into its overall marketing strategy.”
Bud Light’s branded landing page was fully optimized to organically rank for both Super Bowl and campaign-related searches, the report said. “As a sequel to last year, the brand continued its “Up for Whatever” campaign and used recycled content in the form of user-generated Instagram posts. Bud Light organized the images into categories to provide visitors an easy way to explore, helping to build backlinks on the Bud Light domain and increase the site’s strength.”
Doritos set itself up with its “Crash the Super Bowl” landing page, where user-submitted commercials were hosted and where visitors could view and rate the videos. The Doritos landing page was also optimized for mobile and integrated with its social channels. “Overall, the brand positioned itself well to capture online traffic and keep its audience engaged,” the report said.
Both Budweiser and Bud Light went above and beyond with display ads, the RKG report said. Each created commercial-related landing pages that were tagged with various tracking pixels that could be used for retargeting later. “The commercials were pre-loaded to YouTube and both brands purchased numerous display spots on prominent sports websites during,” RKG said. “Additionally they took some extra steps we weren’t expecting, including running pre-roll ads on videos returned for YouTube searches for ‘super bowl ad,’ as well as getting a promoted spot on the YouTube homepage below the section for Super Bowl game highlights from the NFL.”
Mercedes created a Super Bowl commercial landing page fully loaded with tracking tags and also placed the Google Retargeting Tag on its YouTube Page, which allowed it to retarget users who viewed the ad or subscribed to its page, RKG said. “Similar to Budweiser, Mercedes was capitalizing on the extra traffic to YouTube’s homepage by setting up a promoted placement spot that featured 5 of its channels’ videos below the top Super Bowl clip.”
Toyota released one of its Super Bowl commercials a week before the game on YouTube and another during the Super Bowl. “Both videos were extremely well-integrated with Toyota’s social media efforts (#OneBoldChoice) with links to Facebook, Twitter, Instragram and Google+ in addition to two links back to Toyota’s YouTube channel and website,” the Report said. Toyota’s website had over two-dozen advertising tags that will enable the brand to reach and retarget users. To reinforce its Super Bowl spots, Toyota also purchased premium display inventory around NBC’s live-game stream.
RKG bashed T-Mobile, saying it “cut themselves off at the knees in display.” In its #KimsDataStash commercial, starring Kim Kardashian, on YouTube, instead of sending users to the #KimsDataStash site, the link in the video description went to the brand’s “data stash page” which features a different marketing character—Data Vulture.
Also, the T-Mobile banner ads that were cotriggered during its Kardashian commercial on the NBC live stream during the game had users landing on the brand’s “Wi-Fi calling” page that featured Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman. Said RKG, “By failing to send users to relevant pages, T-Mobile prevented themselves from closing the loop.”
Paid Search & Email
“Website-builder Wix matched its customizable platform with some fully-customized paid listings,” RKG said. “The advertiser prioritized strong keyword coverage to capture all interested Super Bowl searchers. Not only were the brand’s ads showing, but each ad was curated to match the variety of queries on which it was advertising. Each of Wix’s four ‘All-Pro websites’ was paired with a unique search ad, with fun sitelinks, hashtags from their Super Bowl campaign and relevant callout extensions that took up additional real estate on search results pages. The targeted approach and varied keyword list kept the brand in the conversation.”
Budweiser and Bud Light both offered well-structured and eye-catching ads in paid search.
In email, Microsoft, Pepsi and Coke each gave consumers coupons and in the days leading up to the Super Bowl sent out previews of ad content, contests and other happenings on social media.
Lexus in the week before the Super Bowl ran ads on BMW and Mercedes-Benz searches.