Well, folks, it’s here. The only time of year when people across America actually want to watch commercials. So much so, in fact, that they’ll search for them online, share them with their friends, and talk about them endlessly. It’s Super Bowl time. The Super Bowl commercial craze isn’t limited to football fans, either – even people who couldn’t care less about the game will still tune in just to watch the commercials…or at the very least, they’ll watch a few online. And for those who don’t actively seek Super Bowl commercials out on their own, most nightly news broadcasts will spend a few minutes recapping the most memorable ones.
Of course, with all the buzz surrounding Super Bowl commercials, the companies paying for them would be crazy not to wrap entire online campaigns around these ads, as well. And most do, releasing them early on YouTube, posting teasers about them on social media, or creating new pages for their websites dedicated to ramping up the buzz even more. In addition to the hype, each company uses to promote its Super Bowl commercial, crowds of regular people comment on them online as well – from mommy bloggers applauding the family-oriented ones, to respected news journals ranking them according to various criteria.
As an online marketing company, we here at Zen Media thought it might be fun to do a little Super Bowl commercial ranking ourselves. But rather than looking for the funniest, or the cutest, or the most shocking, we’re ranking them by…what else?…their rankings on Google! Not only will this little exercise be fun, but it will also give us some insight into which SEO methods work best when promoting campaigns as huge as these. Searching for “Super Bowl commercial” gives us the following results:
Let’s look at the paid search results first. Hyundai and H&M grab the tops spots with their PPC ads, both of which ask you to vote for their commercial. Interestingly, Hyundai never once uses the term “Super Bowl,” preferring to go with “Big Game” twice instead. Still, it’s at the very top of the page, which definitely counts for something. But looking at these two ads, which one would you be more likely to click on first? The one that just says “watch and vote,” or the one that actually gives you an incentive to vote, by channeling either your hope of seeing Beckham “#uncovered,” or your preference that he stay “#covered?” (We’re guessing most gals would go with the first hashtag, and most guys would go with the second one…) Beneath the paid ads, in the organic results, the first site listed is not a company with a commercial, but a site that collects them all in one place: superbowl-commercials.org. This site is obviously optimized for being found in this exact search. Submitting your commercial to this site might be a good way to get more visibility – and we do see that Swiffle and Toyota are both mentioned underneath the link.
Next, we’ve got a news listing from the New York Daily News, discussing the Cheerios commercial. Crafting a Super Bowl commercial to be newsworthy is a good ploy to get attention in this way, as well. Then we have The Huffington Post’s Super Bowl commercial page, full of Super Bowl SEO goodness. And underneath that, two links to the Budweiser commercial – one on YouTube, and one via USA Today.
It’s obvious Budweiser knew what they were doing when they wrote their YouTube description – and they, too, took advantage of free media publicity by making it newsworthy. Under this it’s all downhill as far as individual companies’ results, starting with Wikipedia and moving on to collections of last year’s Super Bowl commercials, and then a few links to current collections of this year’s ads. So which company wins “Best Super Bowl Commercial” based on Google SERP? Drum roll, please! It’s a tie between H&M and Budweiser! H&M’s use of paid ads to rank high on the page means their ad catches the eye first – and their creative use of a fun incentive to vote means that many will click.
And Budweiser manages to show up twice, both times with a video preview making their listing stand out from the crowd. Their high ranking is probably also the result of Budweiser’s general popularity online – their commercials get shared and liked and talked about a lot.
It might be surprising that more individual companies’ Super Bowl commercials don’t show up in the results, this close to the game – for example, what happened to the Doritos commercials? Why aren’t they getting any attention from Google? It’s most likely a result of the optimization of those commercial collection websites. It’s hard to compete against a site whose name contains “Super Bowl” or “Super Bowl Commercials” – which makes it all the more impressive for the companies who do manage to get onto the first page of results. So congratulations, Budweiser and H&M! As far as we’re concerned, you’re the companies with the best Super Bowl commercials, based on Google SERP.