Super Bowl 50 was won handily by Peyton Manning, Von Miller and the Denver Broncos, but for many Americans and viewers around the world, the most exciting part was not the game, but rather the hilarious and ridiculous ads that appear onscreen. These ads don’t come cheap, and on average advertisers paid $5 million for a 30 second spot. SimilarWeb data allows us to discover how these ads performed and find out which advertisers performed best online.
To do this, we looked at desktop and mobile web traffic to the websites of Super Bowl advertisers, omitting sites that had less than 1000 daily visits. We looked at web traffic to each site on February 6th, 7th, and 8th, the day of the Super Bowl, and one day before and after. Traffic on each day was compared to the average traffic for that day in the weeks before. For example, web traffic on Saturday February 6th was compared to the average traffic of January 30th, 23rd, and 16th the 3 Saturdays prior. This same process was done for Sunday and Monday, with Monday representing only desktop traffic.
On Saturday, the top performer in terms of traffic increase was Budweiser, whose site, Budweiser.com, grew 380% compared to the average Saturday. Budweiser’s ad featured Helen Mirren in a PSA against drunk driving and the 1 minute clip has become extremely popular online, the full commercial can be found below. After Budweiser, Mountain Dew was the next best performer on Saturday, rising 111% from the average Saturday.
Despite Mountain Dew’s impressive traffic gains, the site actually peaked on January 28th, over a week before the Super Bowl. The site slowed in the lead up to the game, but then saw increases in traffic on Sunday and Monday. Mountain Dew has shown that in Super Bowl ads, often the most important day is not on Superbowl Sunday, but rather, the days leading up to the big game, when companies release their ads on YouTube, and users explore the internet, looking for the best ads. With SimilarWeb, other advertisers can find the optimal time to release their online ads, find out more by contacting us here.
On Super Bowl Sunday itself, the big winner in terms of traffic was Deathwishcoffee.com, the small business featured by QuickBooks, which grew their web traffic an average of 514% compared to the average Sunday. Once again, second place belonged to Mountain Dew, who performed better on Sunday, with a 333% increase. Close behind, Jack in the Box, saw a 325% increase in Sunday traffic, but it was actually Monday that favored the burger joint the most. After Jack in the Box, 4 out of the next 7 advertisers are car brands who clearly know how to capitalize on Super Bowl Sunday traffic.
Death Wish Coffee, like Mountain Dew, is another example of a site receiving their biggest traffic boost over a week before the game. The website saw their biggest spike on January 27th, and slowed down before picking up again on Super Bowl Sunday.
Monday’s traffic winner was also the overall traffic winner and that distinction belongs solely to Jackinthebox.com. The commercial for the fast-food burger restaurant was released on YouTube on February 7th (Super Bowl Sunday), and included an offer of free burgers if viewers visited the website. As a result, Jackinthebox.com had an amazing 1890% traffic increase on Sunday, compared to the average Sunday traffic. After Jack in the Box, second place belonged to Colonialwilliamsburg.com, whose controversial ad which featured 9/11, grew an impressive 614%. The data shows that controversial ads and free giveaways work best for Super Bowl advertisers.