Who won the Search Bowl

search-engine-optimization.jpgSo considering how important it is for advertisers to extend their Super Bowl campaigns online, especially through the use of paid and organic searches, I thought I’d take a look around and see what the search situation was like for the movies promoted during the game. For this I kept it simple, searching for (“movie name” “super bowl”) using Google. I figured that’s a decent assumption to make on how people would generally be going online to find the spots.

Part of the problem, which leads to the necessity of search being a major factor, is that the URLs for the movie’s official websites were gone before you knew it on TV. Instead of putting the domain on the screen for either the whole spot or at least a major chunk of it it was just kind of thrown on at the end, where people were most likely to ignore it.

For the record here are my thoughts, at least for an ideal world:

  1. The official website should be in the top three organic search results. This should be the goal anyway but it’s especially important right now. But studios should have made sure “super bowl” was among the keywords on the site’s meta data for specifically this reason.
  2. Paid ads should be for that same site and not for a competing movie. If a competitor has swooped in and bought up keywords relating to your movie to trigger ads for their movie you’ve got big problems, one of which is a wallet that’s too tightly closed.

But enough about that. Let’s see how the studios did.

Vantage Point:
Organic: Nowhere to be found on the first page of results. It’s all news coverage, including my own post in the #6 slot.
Advertising: Nothing. Just a sole ad for some sort of warehouse equipment wholesaler. WTF?

Drillbit Taylor:
Organic: Nowhere to be found. Again, it’s all news coverage but this time I’m #3.
Advertising: Sponsored Link at the top does point to the official site, including copy that touts the site as the place to watch the ad that ran during the game. There’s also an ad on the sde that goes to the NFL’s Super Bowl page.

Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins:
Organic: The site doesn’t show up but the top organic result is to the YouTube video for the commercial. It gets bonus points for being the officially sanctioned version of the spot so that’s good.
Advertising: None. Nada. Nothing.

88 Minutes:
Organic: Nowhere at all on the front page. It’s all news coverage and video links, but not to any official versions.
Advertising: None of any kind.

Wanted:
Organic: No presence at all on the front page.
Advertising: The top Sponsored Link goes to NFL.com/Superbowl. The first paid slot on the right goes to the MySpace page that hosted all the game trailers. Finally, the second paid slot on the right does link to the movie’s official site and includes text marking it as the place to watch the Super Bowl commercial.

Iron Man:
Organic: It’s all news coverage of the spot once again.
Advertising: The top Sponsored Link does go to the movie’s official site and the link says “Watch the Iron Man ad” but unfortunately there’s nothing about it being specifically Super Bowl related. I hate to pick nits here but that’s worth noting. The one Paid Link to the right again goes to MySpace’s commercials page.

Leatherheads:
Organic: Nothing in the actual search results, at least not on the front page.
Advertising: Top Link goes once again to NFL.com/SuperBowl. The one ad to the right at least goes to the official site and is tagged with text identifying the Super Bowl TV spot.

Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian:
Organic: Just news coverage on the first page of results.
Advertising: Not a single thing.

Semi Pro:
Organic: Mostly news coverage, though there are a couple links to YouTube videos, thankfully the official versions from New Line.
Advertising: Just a single ad that points to MySpace’s commercial page.

Wall-E:
Organic: Just news coverage of the spot.
Advertising: Not a single solitary thing. I’m genuinely surprised by this since I thought considering how much the spot was anticipated it would have attracted a few ad dollars.

Jumper:
Organic: All news coverage, with a couple links to the official MySpace videos.
Advertising: Only two Sponsored Links, one to the NFL page and one to MySpace’s page.

You Don’t Mess With the Zohan:
Organic: Just to make sure this is uniform, it’s all news coverage with a couple video links scattered around on the front page.
Advertising: Goose eggs. Nothing.

Overall impressions? These people are sucking the place up. Only four of the movies had any sorts of results on the first page of results and all of those were paid ads. That’s basically the studios conceding defeat and saying it’s not that important for them to get your attention.

Now the results may have been skewed by the fact that I was looking specifically for the movie in relation to the Super Bowl. But that’s behavior that’s likely to be mimicked by members of the audience who are going online looking for the commercial they just saw. At the very least there’s no excuse for not trying to optimize the site to come up in a search that includes “super bowl,” especially since that’s where the studios are hoping to create a jumping-in point.

Considering the studio’s much-heralded return to the Super Bowl the spots don’t seem to have generated much excitement. There were some that were better than other, some I loves and some I thought were boring. Most of the movie spots ranked at the bottom of the USA Today AdMeter Poll. And while that’s not perfect it is a measure that a lot of people pay attention to.

But regardless of all that there really needs to be follow-up on the web if the studios want to get people engaged. In that respect they failed pretty badly.

4 thoughts on “Who won the Search Bowl

  1. Well the thing is with Google, that off-page factor contribute as much if not more to SERPs than anything else. If the sites didn’t mention “super bowl” on the page and if no links had been pointing back to them with “super bowl” in the anchor text, it’s understandable that they don’t rank for that particular term.

    Vic

  2. @Vic: You’re exactly right about the limitations faced in the realm of organic search results. But that still doesn’t excuse the fact that no one was able to buy some AdWords. Doesn’t seem that pricing was too competitive so I can’t imagine too many opted out due to being outbid or anything. They just didn’t. And with the limitations you mention about organic results being completely foreseeable that makes the negligence on the paid side all the much worse.

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