The Super Bowl is great, particularly for those of us who happen to live in the greater Boston area. One reason it’s so great: every year, football fans and non-football-fans alike tune in to see arguably the greatest, most creative day of TV commercials. A great, clever commercial can generate tons of conversation regarding a brand, or a product, and carmakers have traditionally been among the biggest spenders.

So how does a Super Bowl ad impact an auto OEM’s online visibility? Swoop runs a quarterly Online Visibility Index, and Google Trends is available to all, so let’s find out!

First, the contenders, here are major automakers’ advertisements from this year’s Super Bowl:




Alfa Romeo

It should be noted that, in addition to doing three separate commercials, Alfa Romeo spent big bucks as the halftime sponsor, and revealed their upcoming Giulia vehicle. Kia as well focused on a new car, the Niro, in a Melissa McCarthy adventure.

First, we looked at Google Trends and the query volume for the four brands and the newly-launched Giulia over the past 30 days:

Kia, Audi, Alfa Romeo and Buick trends - Super Bowl

We can see huge spikes for both Alfa Romeo and its new Giulia on the day of the Super Bowl, while Audi, Buick and Kia remain relatively stable. There are a few possible reasons for this: people may be surprised to know that Alfa Romeo is available in the US; Alfa Romeo’s three ads vs. one by their competitors may have hammered it home; and the sponsorship of the halftime show with multiple brand mentions may have cemented some interest.

But what about actual content consumption? Did people simply Google the brand while watching the game? Or did they take the next step and actually go online and research the brands and vehicles, generally seen as the first important step down the purchase funnel? And did the advertising have a longer lived effect, vs the one day spike in search traffic we see in Google.

To find out, we distilled visits to Swoop’s network of endemic automotive content since the beginning of the year to see whether people were reading articles mentioning these brands more, less or roughly the same:

Super Bowl ad effect alfa romeo buick giulia niro

Pre and post Super Bowl visibility - Audi and Kia

Super Bowl visibility effect - auto

As we can see, Alfa Romeo had a big jump from their pre-Super Bowl visibility levels for both brand and vehicle, mirroring the spike in searches we see in Google Trends. Surprisingly, Buick found themselves with a big boost, as well – not seen in Google Trends, but we saw 81% more pageviews on articles about Buicks in the week following the Super Bowl than in the average of the four weeks leading up to it.

Audi saw a moderate bump at 10%, and Kia, with very memorable Melissa McCarthy vehicle, actually saw fewer people reading about their brand and the new Niro after the Super Bowl than before.

It should be noted that we had to separate out the weekly visibility graphs because Audi and Kia have significantly higher base levels of visibility; including them all in the same graph would make it impossible to see the changes properly. This, too, needs to be taken into account when examining the results – in terms of raw hits, a 56% jump in Alfa Romeo’s visibility is equivalent to a 3% jump in Audi’s.

In the end, though, between their jump in visibility across Swoop’s network of endemic automotive sites and their spike in search queries as seen in Google Trends, it’s easy to declare Alfa Romeo the winner of the Super Bowl automotive advertisers.

Oh, one last thing – Melissa McCarthy seems to be the big, big winner of the Super Bowl weekend. Check out the Google Trends line for her, encompassing her Sean Spicer bit on SNL followed by her Kia commercial:

Melissa McCarthy wins Super Bowl weekend

We’ll check back in a few weeks to see how much of the post-Super Bowl buzz is sustained.

Categories: Automotive

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *