Scoring the 2011 Super Bowl Commercials For Search Visibility and Visitor Engagement

Read more at: SearchEngineLand

Advertisers have a captive audience during the game, searching for commercials. How many of those brands and commercials show up in search results? And how many really take advantage of that interest? Every year, I keep track of the commercials and take note of which cause search spikes (check back over the next few days for a report on that) and which brands show up in search results. How did things go this year?


100% of brands had at least some search visibility (other than movies). This is significantly better than in past years.

When URLs were included in commercials, those URLs were almost always visible in search. This is starkly different from previous years, when use of vanity URLs and promotional microsites often kept advertised URLs from showing up at all.


Many brands didn’t include mention the Super Bowl ads at all on their home pages, which likely prevented engagement with key audiences searching for them. Several brands required actions such as registration or Facebook “like” to see ads or to interact with brand.

New This Year

Advertising Facebook URLs rather than owned domains – on the one hand, these advertisers gave all of their Super Bowl traffic to Facebook and lost some control. They likely also excluded some of their potential audience as fewer than half of Americans are on Facebook. However, Facebook does provide an easy platform for content creation that might have been prohibitive in the advertisers’ internal environments.

Advertising Twitter hashtags – I didn’t see any Twitter accounts shown in commercials (although I did see Twitter icons), but several movie ads included hashtags, no doubt intended to encourage conversation about the movie.