It was a big win for the New York Giants last night, but also for advertisers who banked on buzzworthy ads and social media integration. According to data compiled by social TV analytics company Bluefin Labs, Super Bowl XLVI drew 12.2 million social media comments, an almost 600% growth from last year’s 1.8 million. Out of that, all of this year’s commercials combined generated 985,000 social media comments—more than the entire telecast of the 2011 Academy Awards.
So why the firestorm of Twitter and Facebook activity? Tom Thai, Bluefin’s VP of Marketing and Business Development, attributes the record-breaking boom to the increase in the consumer behavior known as social TV. "It’s really all about consumers having access to smartphones or their laptops while watching TV," he says. "People want to check social media, and with TV being such an important part of people’s lives, whether it be a mega event like the Super Bowl or everyday events, it’s becoming more and more of a natural behavior for people to tweet and Facebook post when they watch TV."
H&M’s ad featuring David Beckham took top social media honors last night, pulling in 109,000 comments. Unsurprisingly, says Thai, Chrysler came in second with its spot featuring Clint Eastwood—a strong follow-up to last year’s ad with Eminem. "With these types of events, Americana always does really well," he says.
When it comes to boosting social media comments, Thai touts the impact of hashtags. "When you think about it, showing a Facebook URL in a commercial is quite different from showing a hashtag because it’s a web destination—you go there to get more web content," he says. "But showing a Twitter hashtag means you want the audience to go and engage in a conversation about your brand and commercial."