New Record For 2014: Hashtags Mentioned In 57% Of Super Bowl Ads

Hashtags were used in 57 percent of nationally-run Super Bowl ads, up from 50% in 2013 and setting a new record. Facebook was the social network most mentioned, though barely. It had only five mentions and just edged past Twitter with four.

The numbers are from our third annual #Hashtag Bowl count of social media mentions during the Super Bowl. We only counted ads shown nationally, and only ads from after the kick-off until the game was over. Promos for Fox, the network that carried the Super Bowl, were not included. Nor was the Pepsi lead-in to the half-time show.

In change from last year, a hashtag also no longer counted the same as a Twitter mention. All the major social networks now support hashtags, including Facebook. However, it still seems likely that hashtag use was especially designed to drive real-time discussion on Twitter. We’ll have a follow-up article to look more closely at this, as well as social media highlights.

The Count

Our scoreboard at the top of this article has the final count, but here’s the summary with percentages, based on a total of 54 national ads reviewed:

  • Hashtags: 31 total, 57% of ads overall
  • Facebook: 5 total, 9% of ads overall
  • Twitter: 4 total, 7% of ads overall
  • YouTube: 3 total, 6% of ads overall
  • Shazam: 2 total, 4% of ads overall
  • URLs: 22 total, 41% of ads overall

(NOTE: An earlier version of this story missed the Transformers national ad, which had no mentions of any type. That changed the percentages as follows: Hashtags from 58% to 57%; Twitter from 8% to 7%; URLs to 41%; others unchanged.)

Once again, Google+ was completely shut-out. Instagram, which got a mention last year, got none this year. Shazam was a surprise, picking up two ads encouraging people to use the audio service. YouTube also scored two mentions.

Hyundai Wins For Most-Inclusive Of Social Networks

Only Hyundai seemed to fear leaving anyone out. The company ran two ads. Both carried logos for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, along with a Hyundai URL. One of them also had a hashtag:

Subway was the runner-up for inclusivity, carrying logos for Twitter and Facebook, along with its URL:


T-Mobile Loves Facebook

Facebook owes its one mention edge over Twitter to T-Mobile. For its online Super Bowl ads, T-Mobile used logos for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Google+, as you can see below

But for the game itself, T-Mobile chose to drop everyone but Facebook (sorry for the fuzzy picture), while also running its own URL and a hashtag:


RadioShack Loves Twitter

If T-Mobile had some unusual love for Facebook, RadioShack decided it was all about Twitter, using Twitter’s logo and RadioShack’s Twitter account name even over a hashtag or RadioShack’s own URL:


Let’s Hear It For The URL

While so much focus is on hashtags and social media mentions, let’s not forget the lowly URL. Actually, lowly isn’t the right word at all. URLs are the permanent home for any brand on the web, and that value seemed recognized by many of those advertising. Our count had 41% of ads carrying a URL, the most commonly used call-to-action after hashtags.

Running Order Of Ads

Here’s the running order of commercials counted. For each commercial, if there was a hashtag, this is shown. If there was any type of social media or other mention, that’s also listed. Ads that carried URLs to their own sites are also noted:

  1. Bud Light: #UpForWhatever
  2. Maserati
  3. Doritos: #Doritos
  4. Chevy: #SilveradoStrong
  5. Need For Speed: #NFSMovie (and YouTube URL)
  6. TurboTax
  7. Bud Light: #UpForWhatever (Shazam)
  8. Beats (URL, iTunes, Google Play, Windows Phone)
  9. Red: #Connect4Red
  10. Hyundai (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube & URL)
  11. Cheerios
  12. Squarespace
  13. RadioShack (Twitter)
  14. Chevy (URL)
  15. GoDaddy: #LiveYourDream (and URL)
  16. Bud Light (URL & Shazam)
  17. TMobile: #nocontract (and Facebook, URL)
  18. WeatherTech (URL)
  19. Transformers
  20. VW: #VW
  21. Wonderful Pistachios (URL)
  22. H&M: #BeckhamforHM (and URL)
  23. The Amazing Spider-Man 2: #SpiderMan (and URL)
  24. CarMax: #slowclap #slowbark
  25. Geico
  26. M&M
  27. Coca-Cola: #AmericaIsBeautiful
  28. Sonos: #sonos
  29. Toyota (URL)
  30. Subway (URL, Twitter & Facebook)
  31. Jeep: #stayrestless (and URL)
  32. Crackle/Seinfeld (URL)
  33. Audi: #StayUncompromised
  34. Intuit/GoldieBlox: #TeamSmallBiz
  35. TMobile: #nocontract (and Facebook, URL)
  36. Axe: #KissForPeace
  37. Chobani: #HowMatters
  38. Kia (URL)
  39. Sprint: #framily (and URL)
  40. Heinz: #ifyourehappy
  41. Honda: #hugfest
  42. Budweiser: #salute
  43. Chrysler: #AmericansImport (and URL)
  44. Coca-Cola: #AmericaIsBeautiful
  45. Butterfinger: #cuptherapy
  46. Microsoft: #empowering (and URL)
  47. Hyundai: #NiceHashtag (and Twitter, Facebook, YouTube & URL)
  48. Jaguar: #GoodToBeBad (and URL, Shazam)
  49. Dannon
  50. T-Mobile (URL)
  51. SodaStream
  52. Budweiser: #BestBuds
  53. GoDaddy: #ItsGoTime
  54. Doritos: #Doritos

Who Won The Super Bowl? Stay Tuned

Now that you’ve seen the count of hashtag use and other mentions, you’re likely wondering who won in terms of brands. Well, stay tuned. Determining who won is complicated, but we’ll be working on that in our follow-up coverage here on Marketing Land.

For example, a sign of failure could be if searching for a hashtag doesn’t bring up an ad from a particular brand. Take both Butterfinger and Honda. A search on Twitter for the hashtags they put out brings up results topped by their own promoted tweets:



In contrast, Audi doesn’t appear to be doing promoted tweets for its own hashtag. Or if it is, I didn’t get an Audi ad when I checked. Instead, I got one from Lincoln, which may be targeting Audi’s hashtag and trying to hijack some of the interest that generated for itself:


It could also be some weirdness in terms of how Twitter does ad targeting, too. That’s what I mean about figuring out success being complicated.

Crucially, what happens when people turn to Google to search not for hashtags but for some of these brands is often a point of failure, as we see year-after-year. We’ll be looking at that again soon, along with other metrics of success or failure, such as which ads spiked in viewership online and which hashtags seemed to generate buzz.

Our post-game analysis is coming, so be sure to tune back in! An easy way to keep up is to visit our special #Hashtag Bowl page, where any of our future coverage will appear.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Features: The #Hashtag Bowl | Super Bowl | Top News


About The Author: is Founding Editor of Marketing Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search marketing and internet marketing issues, who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Tom Blue – Lead411

    the hashtag bowl was more exciting than the superbowl. :)

  • Mr. Oizo

    Spell check much?

  • Josh

    You missed #thisisreal from the American Idol ad. (NM: station ad, not national)

  • Entreb

    It only shows that hastag, when used properly, could be helpful. It connects us – it connects everyone who are interested in the superbowl, and companies also tried to ride on that connection.

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