The Social Media Effects of a Super Bowl Advertisement —A Case Study on General Motors

It is no secret that firms are willing to spend millions of dollars for a couple of seconds worth of placement during a big event such as the Super Bowl. Is spending that much money really worth it? The goal of our project is to measure the extent of such advertising campaigns on Twitter users and try to better understand why companies are willing to break the bank to advertise during such events.

To ease our analysis, we decided to focus on the GM advertising campaign which focused on their release of new Electric Vehicles. Using Twitter data, we will try to understand the effect that this campaign had on online trends, customer sentiment and social networks.

Context

Although being touted as the largest car manufacturers in the United States, General motors has long been in the rear seat when it comes to Electric Vehicles. On January 8th, 2021, General motors launched the #EverybodyIn campaign on Twitter with the intent of welcoming a new phase of their business called Generation E, which has for goal of releasing 30 types of electric vehicles by 2025. This acted as the foundation on which a Super Bowl ad was released on YouTube on February 3rd, 2021 and then shown on mainstream television on February 7th, 2021.

Data Collection and Preprocessing

To analyze the campaign in its fullest, we extracted tweets using the official Twitter API for the query #Everybodyin and the words “General motors” from December 2020 to April 2021

The preprocessing tasks below were then performed on the dataset:

  1. Tokenization
  2. Lower Casing
  3. Punctuation and Stop Word removal
  4. Word Replacements

Frequency Distribution

Looking at the image above, we can clearly see that each of the major events in GM’s marketing campaign creates an acute increase in engagement by both Twitter and Google users.

Sentiment Analysis

To understand whether the increase in engagement improved the way Twitter users view GM’s brand as a whole, we used the Vader package to measure the overall sentiment of tweets made about the company.

We ran every tweet through our model and were able to get values ranging from -1 to 1, where the higher the score, the more positive GM is viewed by the tweet’s author. We then created an extra column in our dataset with three possible values based on that score, those values being “positive”, “negative” and “neutral”. For all of the tweets that were classified as negative, we created a WordCloud where the words that were used most in those tweets were represented in an image below.

It is interesting to see from this WordCloud how negative views of GM are related to topics such as chip shortage, new logo and branding.

We created that same WordCloud for positive tweets as seen below.

Once again this provides insights as to why GM was mentioned positively in different tweets, with reasons including Will Ferrell, electric vehicles and surprising the market.

Aggregating the sentiment scores by week, we can see acute increases in overall sentiments in weeks 2, 5 and 6 as compared to the previous week. This interesting to see since those weeks coming right after the major events in Gm’s campaign timeline: release of the hashtag #EverybodyIn (2), release of the ad on YouTube (5) and the ad being presented during the Super Bowl (6).

Put short, running a Super Bowl marketing campaign results in a temporary but distinct increase in how customers view a brand.

Network Analysis

Using Gephi, we were able to create a Network Analysis of tweets regarding GM, both before and after February 3rd, 2021, this date representing when the company released their ad on YouTube.

The network represented has been calculated using the following metrics:

  1. Degree Centrality
  2. Eigenvector Centrality
  3. PageRank
  4. Closeness
  5. Betweenness Centrality

GM’s pre ad release network is shown below.

Before February 3rd, 2021

Basing ourselves on the Network and the statistics we have calculated using Gephi, the top influencers are GM, FedEx, Gladwell, GMcanada, AmazingChevVolt and EcoCARChallenge.

GM’s post ad release is shown below.

After February 3rd, 2021

There is obviously a lot more user engagement as depicted in this image compared to the previous one. The top influencers have also changed with those influencers now being GM, uiagder, visitnorway, simonahac, mtbarra, kenanthompson and EaseeOfficial.

Conclusion

Long story short, running a SuperBowl marketing campaign does improve the way a brand is viewed by the public on the short term, providing them with temporary exposure to the company while increasing user engagement. It is however still unknown as to the long term effects of such a campaign as to whether spending millions of dollars for a couple of seconds on the big stage will lead to better goodwill. There is however no doubt in our mind that GM is happy with the results of their months of effort and it should surprise no one to see their advertisement in future NFL games.

Data Analytics enthusiast with a passion for Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

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