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Hashtags In Super Bowl Ads Dropped Slightly To 45% In 2016
As with last year, social networks were rarely mentioned, with Twitter and Facebook tied in our count.
Hashtags were in 45 percent of Super Bowl 50 ads, slightly down from 50 percent last year. Twitter and Facebook tied as the most-mentioned social networks, though neither was explicitly mentioned often.
The statistics are from our fifth annual Hashtag Bowl count of hashtags, URLs and social media network inclusions with ads during the Super Bowl. As always, we counted only nationally shown ads and only ads shown between kickoff until the game ended. Promos for shows on CBS or from the NFL were not included.
The scoreboard at the top of this article has our final count, but here’s the summary with percentages, based on a total of 60 national ads reviewed.
- Total national ads (kickoff to end-of-game): 60
- Hashtags in ads: 27 total, in 45 percent of ads overall
- URLs in ads: 21 total, in 35 percent of ads overall
- Twitter in ads: 3 total, 5 percent of ads overall
- Facebook: 3 total points for four ads (see note further below), 5 percent of ads overall
For hashtags, 45 percent is the lowest percentage in Super Bowl ads since Marketing Land has been tracking their usage for four years:
In 2014, hashtag usage in Super Bowl ads hit a peak of 57 percent. It was 50 percent for 2013 and 2015. The lowest usage was in 2012, when Marketing Land first started tracking.
The Small Tie Between Twitter & Facebook
We’ve called it as a tie between Twitter and Facebook for explicit mentions, even though there might be some debate on both sides.
Some argue that any hashtag usage is effectively a Twitter mention, since hashtags are undoubtedly intended by many — if not most — brands using them to generate conversations on Twitter.
However, hashtags aren’t unique to Twitter these days, nor have they been for some time. From 2013 onward, we no longer credited Twitter with a mention just because an ad carried a hashtag. As a result, Twitter’s mentions drastically dropped — and were edged out by Facebook for two years running.
For those who consider any use of a hashtag to effectively be a Twitter mention, then 2016 was another great year for the service. There’s no doubt plenty of hashtag-oriented activity happened on it. We’ll also have follow-up stories documenting some of this.
This year, Facebook would have edged Twitter out again, four mentions to three, if we had simply counted any usage of a logo or notation of a social network to be the same. However, as explained further below, T-Mobile gave Twitter so much more prominence over Facebook that it didn’t feel fair to count both mentions as exactly the same. Instead, Facebook received half-credit for these.
Overall, neither social network was mentioned much explicitly, each in five percent of ads, by our way of counting for both.
T-Mobile Features Twitter, Mentions Facebook
Once again, T-Mobile was the only ad to give both Twitter and Facebook mentions. But Twitter definitely got the more prominent space, its logo adjacent to the hashtags that T-Mobile showed in both of its ads:
Because Twitter was much more prominent than Facebook, we only gave Facebook half credit for each of these mentions.
Jungle Book Goes Big With Twitter
The Jungle Book movie gave Twitter special treatment in its TV spot, unlike what happens when you view the same ad online. Here’s how it looked on TV:
Independence Day, X-Men Love Facebook
Facebook’s solo mentions both came in relation to movies. Independence Day: Resurgence and X-Men Apocalypse featured the social media site:
Nothing For Snapchat, YouTube or Instagram
Last year, Snapchat got one mention in an ad. That didn’t repeat this year. Instagram and YouTube had appearances in years before that. They didn’t return for 2016. The iTunes App Store, Google Play and Amazon got mentions as part of the Mobile Strike app ad.
Running Order Of Ads
Below is the full list of commercials included in our survey, listed in order of appearance. The columns show if there was a hashtag. If an ad had a URL, Twitter or Facebook mention, there’s a 1 shown. If not, there’s a zero. As explained above, for T-Mobile ads, Facebook got 0.5 credit.
|4||Avocados From Mexico||#AvosInSpace||0||0||0|
|25||Teenage Ninja Turtles||1||0||0|
|58||Secret Life of Pets||1||0||0|
Most Creative Use Of A Hashtag
Coca Cola deserves a special mention for hashtag usage in an ad. It didn’t just put a hashtag at the end of its ad, which featured the Marvel characters of The Hulk and Ant-Man; it also included it on a billboard during their (friendly) fight scene:
As for a big miss, that was perhaps by Turbo Tax, which had Anthony Hopkins repeatedly saying “TurboTax.com,” though its commercial didn’t show a URL nor even call itself TurboTax.com (it went with just Turbo Tax) in its ad.
Stay tuned for more. Now that the hashtags have gone out in all these Super Bowl ads, Marketing Land will be churning through the data from various parties over the coming weeks to help readers understand which ads and campaigns were big hits and which were not.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.