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Money Well Spent?

Whether the Super Bowl ads struck you as amusing, annoying or just plain absurd, you can't argue with results.

Two new sets of research from marketing consultancy SendTec and online metrics firm comScore make a pretty strong argument that the Super Bowl TV spots succeeded in driving Web traffic. In marketers' multi-channel mix, the Web has become a complementary vehicle to television for promoting a brand, so directing consumers to the Web, if not the explicit goal of the TV spot, is certainly a positive result.

An estimated 97.5 million viewers tuned in to watch the Super Bowl, and many of them raced to the Internet to view the spots that struck them as funny, cute, curious or clever. Thirteen percent of Super Bowl viewers went online to watch an ad, comScore found. For GoDaddy.com, which devoted its entire spot to driving traffic to its Web site to view the ad that Fox wouldn't air, that portion rose to 38 percent.

For a company that has built a reputation for pushing the boundaries of acceptable content in its Super Bowl ads, this year's campaign exceeded even the chief executive's expectations. Here's what GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons wrote in his blog:

"Before the game was over, we received right at 1.5 million visits to our Web site. We had a whopping 2 million visitors for the day. This compares to last year when we had less than 1/2 million visitors."

SendTec took a more empirical approach in its measure of advertisers' success in driving traffic to the Web. Tide's Web site took five minutes of refreshing before it loaded completely, the firm noted.

SendTec also looked at what the different companies were doing to supplement their TV-Web cross-promotion with paid search advertising. GoDaddy bid on terms like "Super Bowl ads," "Super Bowl commercials" and "domain."

Audi enhanced the reach of its spot -- a play on "The Godfather" -- by bidding on keywords like "Godfather," "Godfather Ad" and "Audi Commercial."

More metrics will be forthcoming, for sure, but it seems clear that the TV-Web linkage is working, and that the Super Bowl, celebrated for its TV spots, has become a fertile ground for multi-channel promotion.

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