Auto Ads Generated Huge Search Lift During Super Bowl

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Maserati was the top performing auto brand in search lift
Maserati was the top performing auto brand in search lift

Millions of dollars in Super Bowl ads seemingly paid off for the auto industry last night. Ads for several auto brands run during the game generated in excess of 2,000% more searches within an hour of their ad running than after the airing of an ad at other times, according to analysis from

Auto Trader's analysts measured search activity for brands and models in the hour immediately after the ad ran and compared it to activity the hour before the game.

Maserati performed best on both a brand and model level. Overall searches for its brand were up 385% and searches for the Ghibli model grew by 2,143% the hour after its ad ran.  With its first ever Super Bowl ad, Jaguar experienced a 208% overall increase in searches, while searches for its F-Type model in particular rose 1,460% within an hour of its ad running.

Volume luxury brands showed similar gains, with Audi and Hyundai searches increasing by 379% and 373%, respectively.

Rick Wainschel, VP of automotive insights at, found the strong performance of the exotic auto manufacturers to be impressive. However, the volume vehicles that drove significant searches were more notable since it's harder for them to stand out, he said. “Models like the A3, Genesis, Fusion, and Highlander have a significant amount of competition and are on more consumers' shopping lists,” he commented in a news release, “so it means a bit more when they can stand out.”

Mainstream vehicles from the Ford, Kia, and Toyota brands also performed well. Kia experienced 150% more search activity after its “The Truth” ad.  Additionally, searches for Audi and Hyundai's models in this bracket increased by 50% and 47%, respectively. The Chrysler ad featuring Bob Dylan generated 47% more searches for the brand.

According to John Kovac, VP of Marketing at AutoTrader Group, the quality of the ads led to the high volume of search results.  “The Kia ad in particular,” he said in a statement, “was a great example of leveraging smart creative to shift brand perception in a relevant, intentional way, and it definitely resonated with car shoppers.”

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