This article was published on February 4, 2013

For Twitter, Super Bowl XLVII (and its power outage) proves to be the perfect match

For Twitter, Super Bowl XLVII (and its power outage) proves to be the perfect match

As an advertiser or media platform, a power outage at a major sporting event is a moment that leaves you without a plan and with presenters working ‘off the cuff’ to keep the program going. If you’re Twitter however, then that very occurrence at Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday, made it the best Bowl ever.

This year, Twitter saw a record 24.1 million tweets sent relating to the game that marks the climax of the US football season. Indeed, Super Bowl 2013 had already surpassed the total for last year’s final by the beginning of half time, Twitter revealed in a blog post, such was the conversation.

This was arguably the ideal stage for the microblogging site to show off its progress into a mainstream communication medium, while also demonstrating the opportunity to reach audiences via its ad model.

A recent Wired article said argues that the Web is in flux and that the new role of the Internet is to tell us what is happening right now. If you subscribe to that belief, then there’s little doubt Twitter delivers on your expectation. You could literally keep up with every moment from the game by doing nothing more than watching updates flow in via the service.

Forget the game time itself, the half hour power outage stole the show and accounted for the more messages than anything else. At its peak, Twitter saw 231,500 tweets per minute (TPM) during the black out period. That puts it well above the most tweeted game moments:

  • 108-yard kickoff return for Ravens touchdown by Jones: 185,000 TPM
  • Clock expires; Ravens win: 183,000 TPM
  • Jones catches 56 yard pass for Ravens touch down (end of 2nd quarter): 168,000 TPM
  • Gore touch down for 49ers: 131,000 TPM

Most importantly for Twitter, in an era when Super Bowl means Super Ads, it dominated. Not only did it feature or get a mention in 50 percent off the ad spots, but quick thinking brands grabbed a chance to entertain, amuse and promote themselves to game watchers during the power outage.

“It took just four minutes for the first Promoted Tweet to appear against searches for [power outage] on Twitter,” Twitter explained, without revealing more specifics. Equally as interesting were the series of brands that opted against paying and instead used the #blackout hashtag to gain kudos and large numbers of retweets for clever messages.

Of these two examples, the Oreo tweet got nearly 14,000 retweets, Audi saw 9,000 plus and Tide’s was shared more than 1,250 times.

Twitter says it will provide more details of how the ads performed, but it must already be very pleased with the event. Record engagement, perfect use of promoted tweets and clever use of images — which now only show in-line using its own photo service — now that’s a match made in heaven for the company.

Headline image via TIMOTHY A. CLARY/Getty Images

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