ISpot.tv and Nielsen diverge
ISpot.tv reported Super Bowl data less than three hours after Fox’s release on Monday, and on the surface, the numbers looked close to Nielsen’s. ISpot.tv showed an average minute audience of 118.2 million vs. the 113 million reported by Nielsen via Fox—a difference of 4.6%.
Both of those numbers include out-of-home viewers, according to the companies. (An iSpot release and follow-up answers indicated that the 16.4 million average out-of-home viewers iSpot measured through its Tunity Analytics unit were in addition to the 118.2 million, but actually, they were included in that number). Nielsen didn’t break out the out-of-home component. Out-of-home audiences in bars and restaurants—three years after the start of the pandemic—were up 32% from last year, according to iSpot.
Nielsen, in its final numbers released Tuesday, reported an average of “nearly 50 million” households watched the game, similar to the 48.3 million reported by iSpot, which suggests the differences between the two boil down largely to out-of-home measurement.
ISpot, which gets data from millions of smart TVs and set-top boxes, also shows a considerably bigger household viewing number than Samba TV. Both iSpot and Nielsen report more than a 30% higher number of households watching than Samba.
Besides a lot more households, more people in households watch the Super Bowl than other things. ISpot, which gets co-viewing data from TVision, in which it owns a minority stake, reported an average of around 2.1 people per household watched the Super Bowl this year, well up from the roughly 1.6 for the conference championship game, and the 1.1-1.3 that’s common for typical linear TV programming, according to agency and network executives. Nielsen didn't break out its co-viewing multiplier, but other numbers in its final report suggest its estimate was around 2.3 viewers per household.
Related: The top 10 most liked Super Bowl ads
The Farmer’s Dog wins—and loses
One thing iSpot and Samba agree on is that the single most watched ad in the Super Bowl came from The Farmer’s Dog, which also was the most liked per USA Today’s Ad Meter.
But while the story of a girl-turned-woman growing up with her dog warmed hearts and kept people watching, it did less well at getting them to pull out their phones or head for a computer to search about the brand, according to EDO, which tracks search response to TV ads. The Farmer’s Dog ad ranked only No. 63, about the middle of the pack of all ads in Fox Super Bowl coverage before, during and after the game. And it was below average for in-game ads.
Search response is definitely important for a direct-to-consumer dog food brand spending eight figures to win new customers and with less brand awareness than its big rivals.
Temu surprises on many levels
Temu, on the other hand, was a huge success at search, even if its ad wasn't as well-loved or watched. The China-based e-retailer, which was a surprise big-spending entrant into the Big Game with four spots, including pre- and post-game inventory, was also a surprise hit in EDO’s search rankings. Temu’s two in-game ads ranked No. 4 and No. 8 in search response among Super Bowl ads, and its two post-game ads came in No. 15 and No. 20 among the more than 120 monitored by EDO. That’s a big deal for a retailer searching for awareness and new customers as it enters the U.S. market.
The Flash beats Jesus
Jesus also did well with the Super Bowl this year, with the “Love Your Enemies” spot from the “He Gets Us” campaign coming in second among all spots at generating search response per EDO, and the “Be Childlike” spot coming in a well-above-average No. 27. But no one beat “The Flash,” or more precisely the Super Bowl promo for the upcoming Warner Bros. film.
~ ~ ~
CLARIFICATION: An iSpot.tv release and follow-up answers indicated that the 16.4 million average out-of-home viewers iSpot measured were in addition to the 118.2 million average minute audience, but actually, they were included in that number.