A $6 Million Dollar Fumble? Watch What Happens When Top Super Bowl Advertisers Can’t Answer Questions With Their Own Website Search

The average cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad this year is a whopping $6.5 million. That means brands from Anheuser-Busch to Avocados From Mexico shelled out more than $200K per second to drive brand awareness during the big game.

While it’s true that this splashy spending will put advertisers in front of around 100 million viewers, these brands certainly aren’t just banking on only driving water cooler discussion the next day — they want your business. And if the multi-million dollar creative is a home run (baseball pun intended), customers and prospects will likely visit their company website.. But the question is: will their websites be ready? 

As we have said many times before, the customer journey starts with a search. In 2022, customers are searching more than ever, including on brand websites. But for the third year in a row, we did some research and discovered that, once again, major brands who spend millions on ads during the Super Bowl couldn’t answer one of the top questions about their brand with their own website search. And when that happens, it means that the customer is likely to bounce away to a search engine like Google, where that brand’s competitors are ready and waiting to recover the fumble. 

Instead of looking at every advertiser, we wanted to compare the rookies – the brands hitting the Super Bowl airways for the first time – and the veterans, whose names have become big game staples over the years. Will the newbies outsmart the vets when it comes to site search performance? Here are the results:

The rookies: 

  1. Planet Fitness: Fumble

New year, new you, and now that gyms are (mostly) reopened, whether you go or not isn’t necessarily about your motivation, but rather COVID protocols.

The search: Do you have to wear a mask while working out at Planet Fitness?

Their answer: Random answer

  1. Crypto.com: Fumble

Cryptocurrency is hitting the mainstream quickly, but for many it’s still a bit murky. Like, do you use “normal” money for admission into web3?

The search: How do I link my bank account to crypto.com?

Their answer: Fumble? Try foul! No search bar! 

  1. FTX: Fumble 

Like we said — people still have a lot of questions about cryptocurrency. (Um, what’s bitcoin, again?) People who just discovered FTX through their Super Bowl ad are bound to ask… 

The search: What are FTX coins?

Their answer: No answer! Users can’t search for natural language questions in their search bar 

  1. Carvana: Fumble

With prices on the rise, plenty of consumers are interested in alternative ways to buy a car — ie, purchasing a used vehicle online, rather than at a dealership. But whether or not this is a viable option often depends on the financing details.  

The search: What is the minimum credit score for Carvana?

Their answer: Random answer

  1. Caesars Sportsbook: Fumble

Football might be over for the season, but sports betting certainly isn’t. For those who decide they want to get in on the action for the next big game (hey, the NBA playoffs are around the corner)… 

Question: What states allow Caesars Sportsbook?

Their answer: Foul again: No answer — no search bar! 

Rookies’ Score: 0/5

The vets:

  1. Anheuser-Busch: Fumble 

Whether it’s questions about ABV or origin, plenty of us have beer on the brain the morning after the Super Bowl.

Our search: Is Budweiser American or Czech?

Their answer: Random answer

  1. Doritos: Fumble

Pairing sports and snacks: it’s a no-brainer. But figuring out which snacks all of your friends can eat? That’s a little harder. 

Our search: Can Vegans eat Doritos?

Their answer: No answer

  1. Avocados from Mexico: Touchdown! 

If you’re not sure about the difference between Hass avocados and “regular” avocados, you’re not the only one. 

Question: Are avocados from Mexico Hass avocados?

Their answer: Correct answer! (Look at that — our 2020 champion is still going strong!) 

  1. Booking.com: Fumble

It’s been a long two years — and plenty of people are ready to book a vacation. But they don’t want to overpay. 

Question: Is booking.com really cheaper?

Their answer: No answer — no search bar!

  1. Gillette: Fumble

Looking to get date-ready for your Valentine this February? You might have questions about which razor gives you the smoothest shave. 

Question: Is King C Gillette the same as Gillette?

Their answer: Random answer

Veterans’ Score: 1/5

The winner? The vets! But with 9 out of 10 brands unable to generate a correct answer, it’s hardly the kind of exciting outcome you hope for on Super Bowl Sunday. 

So: why does this matter?

Search is critical to driving millions of valuable transactions a day — and that’s why the biggest brands like Amazon have invested heavily in AI search technology to swiftly move customers along their journey. (Think about it: When was the last time you used a drop down menu to order something from the online retail giant?) 

Yet as we can see here, too many top brands aren’t prioritizing (or even offering!) search on their own platforms, turning the customer journey into a frustrating dead end.  That’s a big problem, as search engines like Google and websites like Amazon have trained people to expect a seamless search experience by understanding how they ask questions and delivering specific results. In fact, research suggests that most users will abandon a website if they can’t find what they’re looking for within 15 seconds. And that can be costly to a business – fewer transactions, more support calls, and a lot less brand loyalty.

It’s really a no brainer when you look at the data: Consumers who use site search are actually some of the most valuable customers. The 15% of site visitors who use site search account for 45% of e-commerce revenue, and site search is 1.8x more effective at producing conversions

But it isn’t even just about conversions. Great site search has a major impact on customer service and ticket volumes, too: research suggests that intelligent site search can deflect 27% more support tickets than past solutions — saving businesses time and money (and helping them retain customers through better service to boot).  

A lot of searches begin on Google, but when a brand spends the kind of coin it takes to be in the Super Bowl they should expect more direct traffic to their digital front doors. But when the search experience is subpar, they open the door for Google to get more of that valuable traffic. But there is a hail mary: By investing in an AI-powered search experience, a brand can keep their home field advantage and win big with their customers every day — not just on Super Bowl Sunday.

Click here to learn more. 

*Methodology: We ran brand name searches and measured the results of the “People Also Ask” search results feature within Google, which is used to surface a fixed set of popular related questions to a given query in order to help guide consumers. We selected one of these most popular questions related to each brand and used it to search on that brand’s own website. If the search returned a direct answer, the result was a “touchdown.” If the search returned an unrelated answer — or if it returned no result at all — it was a “fumble.” They had the customer’s attention, but lost it.

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