Super Bowl Sunday has become a tradition for Americans over the past 50 years. For hard-core fans and casual viewers alike, Super Bowl Sunday is a day of feasting, socializing and enjoying the well-awaited halftime shows and commercials with friends and family. We set out to investigate how the Super Bowl impacts America’s online activity, focusing on the two main pillars of the game day: food and entertainment.

We analyzed U.S. consumers’ online searching, browsing and food delivery behaviors before and after gameday to identify what football fans ate during the Super Bowl, and which advertisement resonated most with the public. Read on for our data-driven findings.

Pizza Rules Supreme

We compared traffic trends of the leading national pizza chains to those of the leading restaurant delivery services in the States to see where consumers went to feed their hunger. We analyzed the online traffic to Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s Pizza, GrubHub and Eat24 between January 31, 2016 and February 7, 2016 using the Jumpshot Site Analysis report. We found the national pizza chains displayed an average week-over-week increase of 91 percent in visitors, while the food delivery services only grew by 15 percent. This trend was mostly led by south eastern states, such as Florida, North Carolina and Georgia.

Week-over-week traffic trends of national pizza chains and food delivery services

Papa John’s had the largest week-over-week increase, with more than double the amount of visitors on Super Bowl Sunday compared to the previous week. This astonishing traffic surge intrigued us, so we decided to look into the keywords behind this trend. Using the Jumpshot Keywords Research tool, we quickly identified a correlating upward search traffic trend to Papa John’s from consumer ‘Super Bowl’ related keywords that increased as the game day grew closer.

Super Bowl Search Traffic Trend on Papa John's

Binging on Ads

Super Bowl ads are as much a part of the experience as the halftime show is. Over the years, these multi-million dollar prime-time placements transformed from focusing on brand or product placements to entertaining stand-alone videos that are consumed by the public both during and after the Super Bowl. We analyzed the top five Super Bowl commercials viewed on YouTube on February 7 and 8 of 2016 and detected the following trends:

1) Mountain Dew’s Puppymonkeybaby commercial was in the lead, capturing 28 percent of the viewers and displayed a 367 percent increase in viewership the day following the Super Bowl.

However, the compilation video of the Top 10 Super Bowl Ads was viewed by 67 percent more people than the Puppymonkeybaby ad the day following Super Bowl 50.  

2) 64 percent of the viewers watched upcoming summer action blockbusters the likes of Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War”. Views of these trailers grew on average by 180 percent on that following Monday.

3) T-Mobile’s “Drop the Balls” campaign showed that you can leverage a celebrity snafu and turn it into a buzzworthy ad. Interesting to note, this was the only commercial within the top five that did not receive significant YouTube traffic during Super Bowl Sunday.

Super Bowl 50 Ads on YouTube Analyzed

Bottom Line: While the Super Bowl focuses on plays on the field, it has widespread impact off of it as well, influencing consumer behavior both online and off.  With the highest ad costs during the big game, advertisers and marketers alike need to be able to detect search and browsing trends in real-time to come up with a game plan that brings the ball into the end zone.