Search and the Super Bowl: How to take advantage of search during the big game

January 29, 2015

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phil pats

Phil with his son Charlie and dog, Gilligan

The Super Bowl, America’s largest advertising event, is here. With the inevitable rush to plan watch parties, set up office pools, purchase last-minute fan gear and review your favorite commercials, we thought we would lay out some of the key strategies for searching the web before and during the big game to help you make the most of your Super Bowl Sunday.

Planning a Super Bowl Party

So, you think the players feel pressure of putting on a great show? Then you’ve definitely never thrown a super bowl party yourself. Not only are you inviting a large group of people into your home with the inevitable disasters of spilled drinks or snacks thrown across the floor in excitement, you also have to make sure everyone has a good view of the TV, that there will be enough food and drinks for 4-5 hours of game time and most importantly, that everyone gets home safely. This is where we think search can play a crucial role in your party planning to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.

So let’s get started with, “Tips for planning a Super Bowl party”: Sounds pretty standard right? Not so fast, the results and your next clicks are very important. There are a lot of low-quality results mixed in with Google search results; your task is to find the gems without spending three hours traveling down a Google rabbit hole. Google results will only become more congested as game day nears, making things even more confusing. We recommend the following for the best results:

Look for resources that you already trust. There are bound to be search results packed with lots of keywords and content that doesn’t mean much to you. Find the content that clearly required thought and effort, which usually means a publisher you already know and trust, rather than “”. If there’s a website you like, you can always look it up using the search followed by “link:[website domain]” for content on that site, or “related:[website domain]” for comparable websites.

Qualify your searches. Searching on broad keywords means you’ll get only the broadest results back. For better results, qualify your search by adding terms that are important to you. For example, if you’re looking for something that’s fun for the whole family, you might search for, “Family-Friendly Super Bowl party tips”, or if you want a darker theme you could go with, “Goth Super Bowl party ideas”. The sky is the limit! You can also use quotation marks to look for words in a particular order.

Look at the “News” link for more current information. The news results in Google aggregate up-to-date resources that are relevant to your search. This means you’ll steer clear of party planning tips that mention teams from three years ago, or trends that have long but died out (I’m looking at you, Kale chips).

Gear Up. There’s no better way to prove to your houseguests that you are indeed a huge fan of the local sports team than by purchasing the newest gear. When searching for your local team’s football jersey, look to Google Shopping Results, which display pictures and prices. Clicking into shopping results allows you to see aggregated collections from across the web where you can sort based on various attributes (size, price, etc.). Pro-tip: Look for a specific player from 10-20 years ago so you don’t look like a bandwagon fan. No one likes bandwagon fans.

Food, Food, Food (and Drink)

Perhaps the most important element of game day, other than the game itself, is the food and drink consumed while watching.  Recent estimates claim that Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest eating day in the US, behind only Thanksgiving, with over 1 billion chicken wings, 80 million avocados, 11 million pounds of chips, and 325 million gallons of beer consumed in one day.[1]

Searching for and preparing food/drinks is integral to a successful Super Bowl Sunday, so here are some tips for making sure you are ready:

Download Apps. Ordering food and drinks is exponentially easier through apps like GrubHub. Use your mobile device or tablet to search for food/liquor delivery and then download the app directly from search results if available. Unfortunately, you will still have to move from your couch to the door to get the food, otherwise this is the ultimate way to make sure you exert the least amount of effort possible to obtain those sweet, sweet chicken wings.

Search Local. Include specific location information in your search query. Even though Google will use your geo-information to inform results, you may be searching from somewhere other than the place of delivery, or you may get a wider net of results. Google maps results will list the nearest locations along with whether they are open, if they deliver, menu and contact information, plus you won’t be getting results from Antarctica, which is helpful.

Find Deals and Promotions. Paid search results will be a great resource for deals and promotions. While searching for Super Bowl food items, make sure to take note of any paid ads promoting coupons, discounts and more which you can take advantage of.

Look for Recipes. For do-it-yourselfers out there, recipes are everywhere in search results. When building your list of dips and other delicacies, look for user reviews under links to ensure your dish won’t be dish-missed. You should also check out Pinterest for collections of Super Bowl ready recipes, or look for pre-gathered collections on other sites that may do the hard work for you.

The Event within the Event: Ads

Everyone knows why you secretly watch the Super Bowl FOR REALZ, and it’s for the television ads. We’re all awaiting that commercial that makes everyone in the room clap, laugh, cry or look quizzically at each other saying things like “They spent a million bucks on THAT?” Nowadays advertising is an integrated experience marrying offline (TV) and online efforts to build a deeper brand engagement. Here’s how to make the most out of your advertisement viewing:

Search for hashtags and handles. Using a “#” or “@” will provide you with social handles and trending topics in Google results, which can be useful while watching ads during the Super Bowl. Need to know what your favorite actor has to say about that latest spot? Search his/her twitter handle! Want to get in on that branded hashtag? Search it baby! Join the online conversation so you don’t have to hear Betsy from next door’s opinion on it.

Get rapid reaction. There’s no greater way of measuring the success or failure of an ad than looking at rapid online reaction. Searching on Google, Facebook or Twitter by using the brand name plus “super bowl” will get you a treasure trove of audience reaction from friends, celebrities, experts, pundits and trolls. (Especially trolls)

Use YouTube. YouTube will likely already have Super Bowl spots queued up for viewing as they appear during the game. In the unfortunate scenario that you run to the bathroom and come back to find your friends laughing incessantly and telling you that you missed “THE BEST COMMERCIAL. EVER.” fear not, head to YouTube (only the second largest search engine behind Google) and find the ad on the brand’s channel before you fall too far behind.

Be ready to search for specific brand taglines/messages. Say Pizza Hut runs an ad and implores you, the viewer, to “join in the fun” by searching for #PizzaPals, well you better do it. Make sure your mobile device is ready to go so you can indeed be a Pizza Pal.

Go Patriots!