Second Screen's Super Bowl Recap II

February 12, 2015 | By: Adnan Muhammad | 3 min read

A Super Bowl Recap

Last year, I had a lot of fun covering many social media happenings here on the LaneTerralever blog: Everything from unexpected acquisitions and branded banality to scrappy upstarts and my distaste for DiGorno. But my favorite post to write was a look at the conversation surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII. Considering this year’s events were even more entertaining, I’ve decided to make it an annual tradition.

But before we begin - let’s look at an excerpt from 2014’s introduction:

“That makes this year’s game not only the most watched ever, but the most viewed television event ever. Those weren’t the only record numbers to come out this week, though. While the riots wind down in Seattle, let’s take a glance at a few things we can learn…”

This year’s recap could have opened with the exact same line (especially the riots in Seattle, sorry to the 12th). In yet another record-setting performance, the game drew an audience of 114.4 million. That’s good for a 49.7 Nielsen rating, or the highest ever recorded in the three decades they’ve collected viewership data. And yes, I too had to look up what that Nielsen rating even means: Apparently it “equates to nearly half of viewers in the 56 largest media markets tuning into the game.” So, it’s safe to say everyone you know was tuned in, unless you believe in speculative figures from ESPN personalities.

Even though it was a momentous occasion for the NFL, it wasn’t the only winner. Let’s run through some of the others from football’s biggest night:

Football fans

Aside from the wildly competitive game between the Patriots and Seahawks, football fans also won out when it came to the conversation as a whole. Records fell on the second screen just as they did on the first. Facebook saw a 30% rise in the number of participants throughout the day and a 43% increase in likes, comments, and shares over last year’s game. Twitter’s records were more modest: A 14% increase in the number of tweets with a 4% higher peak point of 395,000 tweets per minute. For the second year in a row, that peak came at a critical point in the football game itself: Last year’s Percy Harvin touchdown and this year’s Malcom Brown interception. On both Facebook and Twitter, the conclusion of the halftime show notched the #2 most chatty point in the evening.

Missy Elliot

Speaking of the halftime show, it appears this year’s was one of the most well received in recent memory (aside from Prince, of course, because Prince can do no wrong). You know who really stole the show, though? The one and only Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot, making a surprise appearance even though her last album dropped a decade ago. Just look at the spike in popularity as of the Monday morning following her 3-song performance:

  • Three songs in the iTunes Top 20 and eight songs in the Top 200 singles
  • Four albums in the iTunes Top 200 albums
  • 676% growth in streams on Spotify, with “Lose Control” increasing by nearly 1,400%

Remember the shock and consternation that took place when the NFL announced it had narrowed potential halftime acts to Rihanna, Coldplay, and Katy Perry, only to add it would select whoever was willing to pay to play? It’s unclear whether anyone had to ante up for this year’s show, but judging by some of these numbers, the NFL now has some leverage to require future acts to do so. 

Foot Locker 

The athletic apparel chain aired a regional spot in a few markets featuring NBA All-Star snub Damian Lillard and Nick Cannon, but what truly made Foot Locker shine was something it never could have planned. Minutes into the first half, Seattle wide receiver Chris Matthews made his first NFL reception on a 44-yard bomb from quarterback Russell Wilson. He would go on to be the game’s early breakout star (as well as a strong contender for MVP had Seattle won the championship) and was a trending topic by halftime.

Sportscasters made no secret about Matthews’ unlikely story: When he was first invited to try out for the team a year ago, he had to request time off his day job at Foot Locker. The brand jumped on the moment by stoking the conversation and saw noteworthy mentions from current stars like Dwayne Wade. In a game where unpredictability was the norm, this was a pleasant surprise for everyone involved.


Although many consider Volkswaagen leaking its 2011 commercial the origination of posting a Super Bowl ad instead of premiering it during the game, now might be when it becomes the norm. According to an article from the LA Times, “commercials that were leaked before they were aired [in 2014] drove about 2.5 times more views on average than commercials released on game day.” By the time kickoff came around this year, over 115 full ads or teasers had over 80 million views (a 75% pre-game increase from last year). With total costs to produce/air a spot hovering around $20 million, and only projected to increase from there, this method of guaranteeing longevity has gone from a gimmick to the status quo.

But what really makes YouTube a winner this year? Once again, those of us outside of Georgia must trek there in order to see this guy.

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