Super Bowl MVP: The mobile device - 41% of searches for Super Bowl TV ads during the game came from mobile devices

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 | 1:55 PM

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What were you doing on Super Bowl Sunday?  Like many of the 111 million people around the world who tuned into the game, you were probably lounging comfortably on your friend’s couch or sitting in a neighborhood bar with some buddies, holding a deliciously unhealthy snack in one hand... and your smartphone or tablet in the other.  

Multi-tasking while watching TV isn’t new, but nowadays smartphones and tablets are also becoming popular couch companions. Mobile devices have driven increases in total searches because of their always on, always-with-you nature. During the Super Bowl, 41% of Google searches in the US related to Super Bowl TV ads came from mobile devices. By looking at a selection of specific Super Bowl related queries both during the game and one week before, we found that the number of searches on these terms increased at a significant rate across all devices and was particularly high for mobile. Super Bowl ad related searches in the US rose 200% on desktop, 970% on tablets and a whopping 2700% on smartphones.

For example, when Clint Eastwood talked about “Halftime in America” in the moving Chrysler spot, viewers were increasingly reaching for their mobile devices to learn more.  Smartphone searches on his name jumped nearly 5500% during the game. Here is a look at what happened with some other popular terms on mobile devices:

Smartphone and Tablet Search Volume Increase During Super Bowl

It’s clear that multi-tasking on small screens while watching the big screen is quickly becoming the new norm.  Nielsen reported in a recent study that about 40% of tablet and smartphone users in the U.S. used their devices daily while watching TV.  They pick up their smartphones and tablets because they’re often the closest and most convenient internet-enabled devices.  

For advertisers, these big spikes in mobile search volume in response to TV ads point to the increasing importance of having an integrated mobile strategy.  Advertisers are beginning to see that mobile can deepen engagement with their brands and extend the value of their ad buy  beyond the 30 seconds on air. For example, Toyota’s ads encourage users to ‘Shazam’ the TV ad for a chance to win a new Camry. And by integrating a mobile search ad campaign with their Super Bowl TV ad, Volkswagen ensured mobile users could find and continue watching their ad during and after the game.

So what can we expect for Super Bowl XLVII?  Perhaps some party invites that specify BYOC* (*Bring your own charger).

Posted by: Dai Pham, Google Mobile Ads Marketing