Auto brands had plenty of room to shine during the Super Bowl.
After automakers ran 11 spots in 2018, including five from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, that total dropped to just six this year (including two from Toyota).
That left Audi, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota to dominate the search activity on third-party shopping sites during an underwhelming game this year that left people looking at their phones.
On Cars.com, those companies experienced a 384 percent lift in combined traffic activity on their brand pages Sunday night, with Hyundai coming out on top with a 1,831 percent surge after running the first auto ad early in the game.
Hyundai’s 60-second first-quarter spot touted its Shopper Assurance program, the foundation of its retail strategy intended to make buying more convenient for consumers. It starred actor/producer Jason Bateman, and gave the world a look at the upcoming Palisade, the brand’s three-row flagship crossover.
The traffic results were basically a first-come, first-served situation on the site, where the results closely mirrored the order in which brands’ spots aired. Other than Mercedes-Benz, the third auto spot that ran, and Audi, the second auto ad — which flipped places in the rankings at second and third, respectively — the other brand lifts followed in chronological order.
Toyota ran back-to-back spots in the second quarter and immediately after the halftime show. The second-quarter spot that featured a female football player and the RAV4 Hybrid generated a 225 percent lift, ranking fourth among the ads, while the Supra spot that followed continued that momentum and drew a 138 percent traffic lift.
Kia’s third-quarter spot was the last auto ad to run, and it finished in sixth place after not seeing any lift. The brand’s traffic declined 14 percent from the comparison period. The spot tapped into the working-class spirit of its West Point, Ga., manufacturing base while showcasing the three-row Telluride crossover that is built there.
Cars.com also reported that 74.2 percent of its traffic during the game came from mobile devices, up from the 69.2 percent before the game.
Cars.com says its site traffic data were collected in real time, and performance of TV commercials was measured by comparing the eight minutes immediately before and after each spot aired.