113 million people tuned in to watch the Kansas City Chiefs win the 2023 Super Bowl (source: Nielsen), the third largest viewership in the program’s history. But at Profitero, we know the real all-stars didn’t step foot into State Farm Stadium. Instead, this year’s MVPs were the brands that fueled the Big Game parties and captured our hearts in 30 seconds or less.
So which brands were in the best position during the essential pre-game stock-up period? And did anyone see an immediate boost from their multi-million-dollar ad campaigns?
Profitero set out on our annual Super Bowl bonanza to answer these questions. Using our daily item-level view of placement data, we analyzed 1000s of data points from the snacks categories on Amazon & Walmart, plus beer on Instacart.
Below is the play-by-play of what we learned, both in the run-up to the Super Bowl and during the game itself.
Who won leading up to the game?
Our pre-game MVPs
The importance of being front of mind for consumers in the run up to big events like the Super Bowl is underscored in this article we published before the big day. Our research on Amazon Retail Analytics reports (ARA) shows that three weeks before the game is when shoppers start searching for “chips”, “snacks” and “super bowl party” terms. In fact, between New Year and the big game in 2022, the search rank for those terms rose 61%, 173% and 3,555% respectively.
Doritos kept up the momentum from its 2022 ad campaigns & gained 1.7 ppts share of page 1 results for ‘chips’. Lay’s lost 4.2 ppts despite also advertising at the 2022 Super Bowl.
The following brands made sure they were in the best position to capitalize on their 2023 ad campaigns by gaining the biggest increase in share of page 1 results for the most relevant terms in their categories.
The battle of the beers
This year, the battle to be the beer in everyone’s game day coolers intensified, with alcohol brands Crown Royal & Molson Coors advertising during the game and brands ramping up their conquesting of competitor terms online. We’ve taken a look at who was in the best position to win by securing the largest share of page 1 for “beer” on Instacart at the end of January.
Corona also proves you don't need to spend big on a flashy Super Bowl ad, but instead focus your resources on sponsored placement.
Brands need to protect their blind side more than ever
With the rising cost of living at the top of consumers’ minds, it’s no surprise that a key player in this year’s snack game is Private Label.
Ahead of the game, Walmart Private Label gained 1.3 ppts in share of page 1 results for Chips over last year, and Amazon’s Happy Belly brand increased their share of “Nuts” by a whopping 7.6 ppts.
Who won the game?
Our game day MVPs
Super Bowl ads have been traditionally dominated by cars, beer and snack brands, but this year beauty brands came to play and might be some of the biggest winners of the night.
Rihanna's mid-performance product placement helped her Fenty Invisimatte Blotting Powder product rise 98% in bestseller rank on Amazon. Plus, as reported by Launchmetrics, her brand Fenty Beauty brought in $5M in media impact value in the first 12 hours after the event.
e.l.f. Cosmetics also made its prime-time debut with a clever commercial featuring Jennifer Coolidge's comedic charm promoting their e.l.f. Power Grip Primer. The strategic play paid off and boosted the item's best-seller rank on Amazon by 459%. These beauty brands highlight why it's so important to think about the interrelationship between national / TV media and digital shelf activation all the time. Part of e.l.f.'s success is down to its strong content on Amazon: their products appearing on page 1 of search results for “primer” have an average star rating of 4.5 and 13.7k ratings, beating the overall benchmark of 4.4 stars and 11.4k ratings.
Here are our top tips to make sure you’re game ready year-round:
1. Show up ready to practice
Teamwork makes the dreamwork. Nearly one out of five leaders (19%) say eCommerce responsibilities are now democratized across their businesses, up 20% from the prior year (source: The 2022 eCommerce Organizational Benchmark Study). Silos which separate teams create inefficiency and a lack of cohesion. It's more important than ever to get everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction.
Start by understanding how your eComm strategy stacks up against your category — take the 11-question eComm Readiness assessment here to see how your brand compares across 8 critical eComm capability areas (such as strategy and leadership, content management, retailer digital media planning, and more).
When building your Super Bowl strategy, make sure you’re coordinating executing across eCommerce, media and retailer teams to drive a consistent message across all shopper touchpoints.
2. Lead with a solid defensive strategy
Protect your branded terms — as we’ve seen in our 2022 analysis, special events like the Super Bowl are rife with competitors trying to capitalize on the extra attention your brand is getting. Plus, there's no such thing as "set it and forget it" on the digital shelf. It's constantly changing, as the search for "nuts" on Amazon below demonstrates.
With Profitero, you can set up automatic alerts using our platform. For example, you can set up alerts to be notified when you lose the Buy Box, on which products and to whom — so you can take action and win back share.
Proactively schedule notices when one of your products falls off page 1 for your priority terms and similarly when you go out of stock at your key retailers. Our research shows that it can take brands 6-7 days to recover organic search placement on Amazon, Walmart.com and Tesco.com after being OOS for 2+ days, so make sure you set DAILY out-of-stock alerts to avoid having to make up lost ground.
3. Create a balanced offensive attack
Use the increased traffic opportunity to conquest brand terms for your competitors who are gaining national attention through Super Bowl advertisements. In the Super Bowl this year we noticed the following:
Lays conquesting “Pringles” through Display ads and sponsored search
Nut Harvest conquesting “Planters nuts” through display ads
Monitor share of page for key competitor brand terms in the build-up to the Super Bowl weekend to understand sponsored activity and likely investment levels.
Set up alerts to quickly react to competitors who are attempting to conquest your brand terms.
4. Carry the ball to the endzone
Make sure your content is primed to encourage conversion. There are countless ways to enhance your product detail page, but optimizing for the right things can have a significant impact. As we saw in Stats Unwrapped, brands can expect a 36% uplift in sales from adding Videos to their PDP.
In addition to making sure your content highlights the benefits of your product — especially if it comes with a premium price tag — be sure to benchmark your content regularly against the best-in-class for your category across different retailers. Interested in a custom retailer analysis that identifies & prioritizes the right levers to pull to win your category? Learn more about our Boost solution here.
Drive consistent messaging from your advertising campaign through to your product content. e.l.f. Power Grip Primer was a great example of this and resulted in some of the biggest increases in bestseller rank during the Super Bowl weekend.
A strong partnership between a player and coach can lead to a flawless execution of a game plan.
Having an expert commerce partner can be the difference between a game-winning touchdown and a clumsy fourth-quarter fumble. Choose people who can help you perfect your pre-game playbook, champion (best) practices, and are nimble enough to make adjustments on the fly so you can take advantage of all opportunities to win.