Super Bowl 2014 Advertisers: Did They Win the Search Game?

  |  February 7, 2014   |  Comments

A look at which brands managed to capture search and meet the expectations of potential customers arriving at their landing pages, and which ones did not.

There were many aspects of Sunday's game that left people quite disappointed. Forget the game. I don't even want to comment on the persuasiveness of the Super Bowl television ads. Today, we are just going to look at how well those advertisers did at blocking and tackling the digital marketing fundamentals of capturing search and meeting the expectations of potential customers arriving at their landing pages. You may be as disappointed as I am about what marketers haven't learned in the last decade and delighted by those who have.

After the Super Bowl in 2006 we wrote about how badly GoDaddy's banned commercial failed to take account of ad continuity/scent and people's natural behaviors to marry TV and online. Their ad called for people to go to their website to find out more and it took three to four clicks to find anything related to the Super Bowl and their commercial. In 2007, GoDaddy came back and improved their landing page, even though their advertisement couldn't score like the Broncos. However, then chief executive (CEO) Bob Parsons said the following about GoDaddy's 2007 Super Bowl advertising effort:

  1. " makes money by selling URLs
  2. Even if it stinks [and it did], the ad drove over 100 percent more revenue than last year's ad
  3. This doesn't add up, since traffic was down 48 percent compared to last year's Super Bowl bump
  4. But, hey...Money is better than traffic."

It did, because in 2007, their landing page included the same actress on the homepage as on the ad, an image of a football if you wanted to see the ad, and the same offer as the TV commercial.


Even If the Ads Stink...

They still drive tremendous volumes of traffic to search and to advertisers' websites. How well they create the ad/landing page experience and include the ad's scent in the landing page can make all the difference in the world in winning the digital marketing game.

The Biggest Losers of the Night


Their ad can be seen here.

A search for Squarespace shows their ad on the top with a reinforcement of their TV ad message, "A better Web starts with your website." However, there is no reference to the Super Bowl ad in the pay-per-click (PPC) ad (which you will see examples of in the winners).


Their big failure, though, is that they didn't plan for the demand to their website and the website did not load up right after their commercial aired. Imagine the erosion of confidence of having someone promise a better website-hosting experience and then failing to even load.


A while later and their page finally loaded and here is what it looked like:


Not bad scent at all. Pity they just couldn't keep it up.



Bryan Eisenberg

Bryan Eisenberg is co-founder and chief marketing officer (CMO) of IdealSpot. He is co-author of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times best-selling books Call to Action, Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?, and Always Be Testing, and Buyer Legends. Bryan is a keynote speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as Gultaggen,, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others for the past 10 years. Bryan was named a winner of the Marketing Edge's Rising Stars Awards, recognized by eConsultancy members as one of the top 10 User Experience Gurus, selected as one of the inaugural iMedia Top 25 Marketers, and has been recognized as most influential in PPC, Social Selling, OmniChannel Retail. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of several venture capital backed companies such as Sightly, UserTesting, Monetate, ChatID, Nomi, and BazaarVoice. He works with his co-author and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at

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