The obvious answer is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but the less obvious answer comes from asking “which Super Bowl advertiser got the biggest Internet bump?”. This blog aims to answer that question.
Before, during, and after the game a crack team of three people who work on Cloudflare Radar looked at real time statistics for traffic to advertisers’ websites, social media in the US, US food delivery services, and websites covering (American) football. Luckily, one of us (Kari) is (a) American and (b) a fan of football. Unluckily, one of us (Kari) is a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Cloudflare Radar uses a variety of sources to provide aggregate information about Internet traffic and attack trends. In this blog post we use DNS name resolution data to estimate traffic to websites. We can’t see who visited the websites mentioned below, or what anyone did on the websites, but DNS can give us an estimate of the interest generated by the commercials. This analysis only looked at the top-level names in each domain (so example.com and www.example.com and not any other subdomains).
The Big Picture
To get the ball rolling here’s a look at traffic to NFL team websites and sports websites. Traffic builds to a peak as the game begins just after 1830 local time. As the game progresses traffic to those websites drops off hitting a mid-game low at about 2015 before jumping up for 30 minutes during the halftime show.
The big peak at around 2145 appears to be at the same time as a streaker ran onto the field. A lesser peak comes soon after 2200 when the Buccaneers sealed their victory.
As well as reading about the game, fans were also using social media to get news and add their own commentary. Here’s a look at US social media use during the game.
Social media use dips a little just as the game is about to begin and then ramps up until the Buccaneers’ victory is final. And then, as people go to sleep, social media use falls away.
Taking a look at food delivery services it looks like folks orders ramped up about 90 minutes before the game started and people’s hunger was sated before the game ended.
The Internet Impact of Commercials
One question is “Does a Super Bowl commercial drive traffic to the company’s web site while the game is on?” Answer: yes. Here’s one that went vroom peaking at over 40x baseline:
Vehicles and related services played a big part. GM tried to take on Norway with a commercial about their electric vehicle batteries.
And the electric vehicle theme continued with Cadillac:
And Jeep’s commercial caused a similar spike:
Food and Drink
Anheuser-Busch had a “corporate” commercial this time (as opposed to a commercial for their individual brands). You can clearly see from this chart when that aired.
And Bud Light got a boost that seemed to keep people thinking about beer through the game.
Some brands see a spike when the commercial airs and then traffic reverts fairly quickly towards the baseline. Another brand that lingered on post-commercial is Mountain Dew. Prior to the commercial, traffic to the Mountain Dew website was steady, then came the airing of the commercial with a greater than 25x peak followed by interest throughout the game and into the night.
Pepsi sponsored the halftime show and that’s clearly visible in the charts as they get a boost through The Weeknd’s performance.
Moving on from drinks and reaching for the snacks we can see that Doritos were pretty popular all evening long with visible commercial induced spikes.
Brands that might not be so well known get a large traffic boost from their Super Bowl commercials. Here’s the impact on oat milk company Oatly:
And ever popular chain Jimmy John’s saw a large traffic jump when their commercial aired.
Cleaning products (household and personal) were also the order of the day. First up, we have Dr. Squatch advertising their soap products for men.
Microban24 makes hand sanitizer and got a jump from their commercial:
But perhaps the biggest surprise in this category is Tide, which not only jumped up but stayed up throughout the game. Maybe it was the sight of all the sportswear on the field that was going to need cleaning:
The folks at WeatherTech showed their commercial more than once and hit over 20x baseline.
Rocket Mortgage got a lot of people thinking about mortgages well into the night:
Financial services firm Klarna got a big jump as the game was wrapping up.
Throughout the game Paramount+ was touted more than once. Another streaming service? Definitely looked interesting to many.
Skechers’ got people thinking about what they put on their feet throughout the first half of the game:
And lastly, for this look at just some of the Super Bowl LV commercials, Fiverr got the message out about about freelancing:
Which brings us to the all important question...
So, who won Super Bowl LV?
Taking “highest commercial induced peak” as the measure then it’s Dexcom. Dexcom makes wearable continuous glucose monitors for people with diabetes. They got a 100x boost.
A close runner up is Inspiration4, a privately funded trip into space where one seat is up for grabs via a lottery. Inspiration4 went from very little traffic to over 70x and continuous interest throughout.
Of course, this doesn’t tell the whole story. Inspiration4 had very little traffic prior to the game so the magnitude of the peak isn’t that surprising.
After a tough 2020 perhaps it’s not a surprise that a healthcare product and an inspirational project should “win” Super Bowl LV.
Of course, for brands that already get a lot of Internet traffic that spikes aren’t so high yet represent a great deal of traffic because the baseline is so much higher. Here’s online marketplace Mercari getting a 2x jump.
And businesses like Disney or Amazon have so much traffic that commercials might drive a small increase in overall traffic but it tends to get lost.
One More Thing: Tom Brady
One person who didn’t advertise during the game but nevertheless got a bump in traffic to their website was Tom Brady. Brady’s fitness and nutrition brand TB12 saw traffic grow as the game ended and continued interest into the night.
Visit Cloudflare Radar for up to date Internet traffic and attack trends.