Well, we know it will be the Chiefs and Eagles. But for us marketers, there are other big questions: 

  • Are Super Bowl ads worth the price tag? 
  • Is the publicity generated just by placing an ad worth more than the ad itself? 
  • Are the ads for the masses, or for advertising enthusiasts who want to analyze every aspect?

To answer these questions, the experts at Futurety Digital took a trip back in time. We looked at last year’s Super Bowl’s best ads and their impact on search engine queries.

A word on graphs below. These are pulled directly from Google Trends, a source to index search queries over a set period of time. That is, how many people search on a specific term in a specified time frame. We chose to show search query activity for 2022 in all of our cases. Queries are all normalized to scale so a “100” on the index is the peak of terms search activity, rather than representing a specific number.

We are data people, so we see the limitations of this study. Every ad blogger and publication has their own take on the “best spots.” Search queries are just one aspect to look at when considering success. What about brand perceptions? Quarterly sales? Stock prices?

However, we have found a lot of consensus around the favorite ads and in many cases search queries are directly correlated with financial performance. Without further ado:

The Year of the Crypto Bowl

Crypto companies grabbed headlines and dropped dollars with Super Bowl ads. However, did spending in this newly created ad category make an impact?

The cryptocurrency darling, FTX, went from the belle of the ball to spectacular collapse in a wild 2022 rollercoaster. The exchange allegedly spent $6.5 million for the thirty-second spot, before production costs. The result?

As seen below it did see a bump on search traffic directly timed with the Super Bowl ad. However, the bump is nothing compared to the searching that occurred as the company collapsed. In fact, searches during the company collapse were 14 times higher than search queries driven by the commercial. 

Meanwhile, rival, Coinbase, had the critics split. Depending upon your source it was either the best commercial of the game or a miserable flop. However, from a search perspective, the ad did drive one of the brand’s two search peaks of 2022. 

The final contender in the crypto ad race was eToro. Similar to FTX, the spike caused by the Superbowl ad paled in comparison to the news that the eToro SPAC was being liquidated and delisted from the NASDAQ. The theme in crypto? Super Bowl ads drive traffic, but nothing compared to what catastrophic financial news does. 

Do Automotive Ads Drive Search Traffic?

While Cypto is the new kid in town, Automotive is a staple of Super Bowl advertising. 

Luxury brand BMW featured Arnold Schwarzenegger and Salma Hayak as Zeus and Hera in a commercial that generated buzz for weeks. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for BMW, people  search for BMWs year round so the ad had no real impact on search volume.

BMW Google Trends Data

Meanwhile, Toyota’s “Jones” commercial was also well received and did result in the manufacturer’s highest search query volume of 2022, though not by a dramatic amount. Interestingly enough, Toyota has just announced that it will not be advertising in the 2023 Super Bowl.

Toyota Google Trends Data

Toyota rival GM ran with an Austin Powers-themed commercial and a full 60 seconds of air time. Similar to Toyota, the brand did enjoy higher search volume in the timeframe of the commercial, though search volume peaked in Q1 of 2022, both before and after the commercial ran.

GM Google Trends Data

The Snack Food Show Down

What says football like an oversized bowl of chips? Lays, Pringles, and Doritos, all placed ads during the 2022 Superbowl. Seth Rogan and Paul Rudd not only generate a lot of laughs and widespread approval for their Lays spot, the Internet also rewarded them. Lays has consistent search queries year but the commercial did result in a peak of queries. 

Lays Google Trends Data

The Pringes “Stuck In” ad ranked below Lays on most of the critics’ reviews and had less discernable impact on Pringle’s search queries, landing on the higher end of the spectrum where the brand normally is, but far from the peak in search in queries.

Pringles Google Trends Data

Doritos meanwhile had the most decisive spike of all the chip brands and in fact all of the brands we looked at, clearly driving its highest search volume during the ad airtime.

The Final Score

Super Bowl ads are fun, and funny, and get a lot of mileage in the media. In the automotive industry, where brands have steady search volume year round, the ads correlate to a slight but noticeable spike.

In volatile industries like Crypto not even a Super Bowl Ad drives more interest than bad news. And in consumer products like chips, the jury is still out, but it certainly seems like Dorito fans were much more influenced than Lays fans.