Ah, the hashtag. The term was unknown just a few years ago, but in 2014, 57 percent of Super Bowl ads contained some version of hashtagging. One faux pas that at least one company is guilty of is the process of not connecting all the words in a hashtag. During a Budweiser ad about soldiers coming back from war, the beer company used the hashtag #salute a hero, which isn’t actually a hashtag at all, at least not a complete one: #SaluteAHero would work. One has to wonder if this is a slip-up on the part of Budweiser or if the advertising agency who wrote the spot just believes that they need to use hashtags in their ads yet haven’t done the proper research on what a hashtag actually looks like.
Based on 54 national ads that were reviewed during the Super Bowl, here’s how many featured each of the following:
- Hashtags: 31 total, 57 percent of ads overall
- URLs: 22 total, 41 percent of ads overall
- Facebook: 5 total, 9 percent of ads overall
- Twitter: 4 total, 7 percent of ads overall
- YouTube: 3 total, 6 percent of ads overall
- Shazam: 2 total, 4 percent of ads overall
While hashtagging is a practice that got its start at Twitter, many other social media platforms also use the technique, especially Facebook and Instagram. For those who are still out of the loop, hashtagging is the practice of creating a word or series of words in a string so that people can search by that term and have all of the related tweets organized in that way. So if you were to search “#SuperBowl,” all of the tweets related to the Super Bowl would ideally be organized in one place—assuming users (and apparently advertising firms) know how to use hashtags correctly.
Edited by Blaise McNamee