Super Bowl Sunday is almost here, and you know what that means. It's almost time to watch some of the funniest, weirdest and most elaborate TV ads we're bound to see all year. Oh, and there's some sort of big football game going on, too.
But seriously, folks. You know you tune in to the Super Bowl to watch the ads as much as the actual game. However, some of that allure has gone away, thanks to so many ads being released online before the big day. For the past week, the Internet has already been abuzz with chatter about Budweiser's heartwrenching puppy commercial, Kim Kardashian's playful T-Mobile spot and Snickers' hilarious ad.
We can debate whether or not this is good for brands or if it takes some of the fun out of watching the Super Bowl. In fact, there have already been some thinkpieces about this. But one thing is for sure: People are watching these ads online, and they're increasingly doing so on Facebook.
The research firm iSpot.tv tracks ads on TV and online, and it found that Facebook has had a huge surge in viewership of Super Bowl ads on the platform this year. In 2014, the social network "was essentially a non-factor in Super Bowl ad viewing online," The Wall Street Journal's CMO Today blog reported. However, Facebook now accounts for 35 percent of the views tracked by iSpot.tv.
"We're actually seeing Facebook catching on in a bigger way [sic] that we thought," iSpot.tv's CEO Sean Muller told CMO Today. "Last year, it was all YouTube basically."
The research firm found that as of Friday afternoon, Super Bowl ads had been viewed 100 million times online overall, an increase from the 69.2 million views at this time last year. Most of these views are still happening on YouTube, however. As of Wednesday, users had watched more than 100 million minutes of Super Bowl commercials on YouTube, which is triple the time at this point last year. Factoring in all Super Bowl ad content on YouTube (ads, teasers, videos from creators), YouTube reported that there were 80 million views of Super Bowl ads through Wednesday, up 75 percent from last year.
While YouTube's numbers are obviously still strong, Facebook's emergence into the arena this year shows how much of a formidable opponent it will be to the video streaming platform, not only in terms of Super Bowl ad content but for online video views in general. The company recently reported that users log three billion video views per day on the social network. So YouTube may be winning the Super Bowl showdown this year, but Facebook is clearly not going down without a fight.