The Super Bowl is one of the most-watched sporting events in the world, with one of the most highly anticipated musical performances of the year.
Amassing an average of 100 million viewers each year and a collection of widely viewed, multi-million dollar ad campaigns, Super Bowl Sunday will be a sight to see. This year, the event will take place on February 13th and for the first time since the pandemic, it is planned to be hosted in full capacity. In this blog, Croud’s SEO Associate, Ashton Maxey, and SEO Account Director, Tom Trimmer, explore key Super Bowl search trends for this year.
Over the last couple of years, many sports organizations and sports broadcasting stations have had to adapt to the restrictions caused by the pandemic. Last year, we covered key 2021 super bowl search trends, and this year we are going to examine how some of these trends have evolved.
Historic trends and practices
Leading up to the event
Year over year, search traffic around the Super Bowl doesn’t gain much momentum until the two weeks leading up to the event. It’s within these fourteen days until game day that we see a rapid increase in search interest around the event. So how does the Super Bowl garner such widespread attention in this extremely short amount of time?
About two weeks ahead of the game, broadcasting channels begin promoting the game and the performing artist(s) begin sharing trailers for their halftime set. These bits of content increase excitement around the event, and ultimately fans become more eager to tune in on the day of the game. Year in and year out, this approach of generating hype and awareness through multiple channels has continued to be successful for the Super Bowl. Below we can see its monthly search volume across both the US and Australia (as well as a global overview of its search volume).
Super Bowl ads
Super Bowl ads are undoubtedly all part of the experience too. Leading up to the event, brands begin delivering sneak peeks of their highly anticipated Super Bowl commercials to grow fans’ interest. Some companies reportedly pay upwards of $6.5m for a 30-second time slot during the game to air a commercial. However, the demand for searches around Super Bowl ads seems to have gradually dropped since 2004. This could be due to a number of reasons, but overall, it seems that people are increasingly becoming less interested in these Super Bowl commercials, with Ahrefs reporting a 44% drop in searches from 2020 to 2021 alone.
Super Bowl festivities
The Super Bowl holds many traditions in a lot of American households. People tend to wear football jerseys, eat ‘game day’ food, and celebrate the event each year almost ritualistically. It’s important that you understand how and what people are searching online around the time of the event, if you experience a spike of activity within your industry. For example, searches for buffalo wings recipes peak every single year in February, as people search for ways to make this traditional Super Bowl snack.
The Super Bowl Halftime Show
While the athletes and game of football already give huge incentive for people to tune into the event, the Super Bowl Halftime Show gives fans an additional reason to watch the game. As one of the biggest musical performances of the year, it’s no surprise that many viewers tune in just to watch the Halftime Show. Each year, a legendary global artist performs at the event, helping to garner more attention around the event. This year’s musical acts include Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Mary J. Blige, following last year’s performance by The Weeknd.
Similarly to search trends around the Super Bowl, we can see that this interest around the Halftime Show also increases two weeks leading up to the game. It has become a huge component in driving search traffic around the event and is now a trend of its own. The sport and musical performance in tandem create an exciting atmosphere for all friends and family to enjoy.
Unlike last year, the NFL plans to host the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium without a limit on attendance capacity. The brand new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California can hold up to 70,000 people, and can even expand to 100,000 if needed. Ticket costs this year are higher than ever, with prices amounting to anywhere between $7,000 to $30,000. In comparison to last year, search traffic and interest in Super Bowl tickets 90 days leading up to the event has increased, and continues to grow as we quickly approach the event.
The Super Bowl’s impact on wider search
The Super Bowl commands not only the viewing attention of most American households, but it brings with it a huge amount of attention from all across the globe. The 2020 Super Bowl had an average viewership of 99.9 million in the US, with an estimated additional 30-50 million viewers from around the world. Even worldwide searches for the roman numeral LVI (the number 56 to mark the number of years the Super Bowl has taken place) have skyrocketed over the last 30 days, which heightens the global information request around traditional Americanism.
Search engines quickly understand the shift in searches, and begin to associate and serve related queries that are relevant to the Super Bowl. You can see that the top keyword suggestions drawn from Ahrefs are all now related to the Super Bowl, and they begin to associate wider topics, such as the teams competing, to the Super Bowl.
Most people in the US are familiar with the format and participants of the Super Bowl LVI. However, the same could not be said for the rest of the world. Informational searches around the teams and rules peak significantly in the build up to the game, as the global audience attempts to best prepare themselves for the big event.
This year, the Cincinnati Bengals are competing in their first Super Bowl since 1988, where they faced the San Francisco 49ers. The New England Patriots, in comparison, have appeared in the annual championship game a record 11 times, winning six of those titles. Worldwide searches for both teams speak to this, with interest in the Bengals only surpassing interest in the Patriots within the last week (for the first time since 2004).
American Football can often be deemed lengthy in comparison to its European counterpart, and certain search trends over the last five years show this. People unfamiliar with the game don’t seem to quite know what they are in for. Thus, searches around how long the event lasts has made a huge jump in February of every year. It’s interesting to note that these spikes in search traffic around this specific query doesn’t really seem to happen until the game has actually begun. Below you can see that searches around this topic in 2022 have not taken off just yet.
What have we learned?
As organic search marketers, we will continue to have to adapt to the times we are in. However, there are many new opportunities to help build brand awareness. The success of the Super Bowl didn’t happen overnight. Their ability to focus on the two weeks before the event showcases how they cultivate different audiences.
Look at historical trends to preempt search demand
Historical search data can show us what people are looking for before, during and after the game. It’s important to make sure, where possible, we can capitalize on these opportunities by aligning our content early on, against potential searches over this period. If you think one of your products or services will peak during this time period, get ahead of the curve and make sure you’ve taken the time to review, improve and update your content around it. This will give you the best chance of ranking high at the time of peak searches.
Bring the game to everyone
Despite it being an American game, the Super Bowl has a significant viewership that comes from overseas, where it is traditionally far less known. If you can offer information to these global searches, you could be answering valuable queries and directing people to your website. Look at question based keyword suggestions from your favorite keyword tools and see if you can answer them effectively.