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Going beyond Super Bowl engagement metrics to find what consumers really think
Advertisers need to consider consumer sentiment for a more complete assessment of ad performance.
Viewers no longer just watch the Super Bowl. They interact with the big game much the way they interact with all television — with their fingers flying on social media.
And besides their armchair quarterback comments and their cheers and jeers during fumbles, stumbles and interceptions, Super Bowl fans like to talk about the commercials.
Advertisers know this, so the day after, and for days after, we get reports. Lots and lots of reports. With a lot of different metrics on how fans engaged with the brands.
But there is a story behind engagement metrics. It’s a story told by impassioned tweets and shared Instagram posts. It’s a story of sentiment. And with the politically charged society we find ourselves in, it’s no surprise that advertisements with a political slant got a fair amount of, well, sentiment.
Sprout Social measured positive and negative words using its analytics software, Simply Measured. The social media management platform found that although engagement for Dodge Ram’s commercial featuring Martin Luther King Jr. was high, the sentiment was negative.
Specifically, Sprout Social tracked 48,777 mentions of Dodge Ram on the day of the Super Bowl. It found that 81 percent of those messages were negative. The company tracked all the major social platforms as well as blogs and forums.
Social media analytics software Digimind also tracked positive and negative sentiment and found that 68 percent of the negative social sentiment around Dodge Ram came from men and 82 percent were in the 18-25 age range, the truck brands’ target audience.
Digimind also found that 56 percent of those who had a reaction to Wendy’s Twitter taunts of rival McDonald’s had a negative one.
Sentiment around this year’s Super Bowl advertising wasn’t all bad. Emotion measurement company Canvs analyzed Super Bowl ad trailers on YouTube and found that top emotions expressed were love, enjoyment and excitement.
“Some were funny, many were sincere or sweet, and others were awkward, crazy or embarrassing, Canvs CEO and Founder Jared Feldman said in a release. “The viewer emotion data proves the ads that worked had one thing in common: they broke emotional ground.”
There’s a time and a place
In September of last year, Sprout Social surveyed more than 1,000 customers to find out what kind of appetite they had for political content and where they would like to consume it. A whopping 66 percent believed it was important for brands to take a stand. The survey also found that just under half (47 percent) of the consumers would be receptive to a brand’s social/political issues on TV or radio, versus 58 percent on social media. And if they do want that kind of content, they want it to be credible and strategic.
Andrew Caravella, vice president of strategy and brand engagement for Sprout Social, said that it’s important that brands are strategic when getting political.
“During this year’s Super Bowl, brands like Budweiser, WeatherTech and T-Mobile decided to use the spotlight to voice their positions on political and social issues,” Caravella said. “In our current climate, it may seem like a smart move — but some ads, such as the one from Dodge Ram using a Martin Luther King, Jr. speech as a backdrop, really missed the mark with viewers.”
We’re increasingly seeing brands forge deeper relationships with their socially conscious communities by taking a stand on important and topical issues. Yet on a night like this, where mass market appeal dominates the landscape, credibility was not a constant from brand to brand. “Many of these marketing teams may be asking themselves in the morning if a Super Bowl ad was the best place to give it a go,” Caravella said.