Cloudflare TV

Who won Super Bowl LVI? A look at Internet traffic during the big game

Presented by João Tomé, David Belson
Originally aired on 

Who won Super Bowl LVI? We highlighted some interesting trends as we live-Tweeted the game on Sunday and in our followup blog post. Now, João Tomé and David Belson will be doing a live @CloudflareTV segment on Wednesday to talk about it. Have questions? Fire away!

Check the 2022 Super Bowl blog:

And follow us for Radar trends:


Transcript (Beta)

Hello, and we're live. Welcome to our segment, Who Won the Super Bowl? The 56th Super Bowl, the 2022 Super Bowl game that was this Sunday.

With me, I have David Belson.

Hi, João. Hi, there. We, of course, wrote a blog post about the Super Bowl, and we were up late.

At least, I was up late. You weren't that late. You were particularly late, yes.

Exactly. I'm in Lisbon, Portugal, for those who don't know.

So, of course, the Super Bowl game time is different for me. It's later. But we did a live tweet session using our very own Twitter account of Cloudflare Radar.

It was an experience, but we did it showing trends throughout the night about the ads, the commercials, about social media trends and messaging and food services trends.

And then there was the blog post about the live tweeting. Did you enjoy it, David?

Yeah, it was fun. It was a little hectic to keep up with. Because the commercials kind of come super quick, and we're trying to keep track of which ones are on when, and then waiting for our data to sort of catch up.

So there's a few seconds or minutes of delay between seeing when an ad's on and when we can then ultimately see potential traffic increase from when the ad was on.

Yeah, it definitely was fun.

Exactly. And we were successful in terms of getting information from our data and from the ads.

We did the times where the ads passed by, and we saw some of those ads' traffic to those websites jumping, completely jumping.

And that's what we're going to show in this conversation, actually.

Yep. I mean, the good thing is that we were, I'd say, mostly prepared, thanks to the lists of advertisers that are put out there before the Super Bowl.

But we had to act on the fly for some of them, as we saw an ad for a company or product that wasn't on any of those initial lists.

So we were able to update our configurations and start generating traffic graphs for those on the fly.

Exactly. And it was, first, a nice lesson and also a team effort.

The Radar team put in effort. Shout out to Sevina. And then, of course, everyone knows the Los Angeles Rams won the game.

But we saw particular trends there.

Before we go into the trends we saw, we should probably set up what is the data we really showed, in terms of what is the source, really.

On Call for a Radar, we use this data, these domains' data.

Can you help us set up the tone in terms of how we use that data?

Absolutely. Yeah. As you mentioned, it's the same sort of data that underpins the domain section on the Radar site.

What it is, is it's DNS name resolution data that comes from our QuadOne resolver service.

And we're able to analyze it to estimate traffic to websites.

So these are not necessarily Cloudflare customer websites, but we can see, in aggregate, the DNS resolution traffic for a given host name or a given domain name.

And we were using that, ultimately, on Sunday, to estimate the popularity of a site associated with an ad, or the teams, or, as you mentioned, the cohorts of customers.

And this is the same data also.

It's on the Cloudflare website, but it also was used in the year -in-review post that you published towards the end of 2021.

That one got a lot of pick-up when we discovered that TikTok, had surpassed Google and a lot of the other formerly leading websites.

TikTok had stolen the crown. Exactly. And it got a lot of attention.

And, of course, all of the things that companies put out there are based on data that has a basis.

And the basis is, like you said, DNS name resolution.

So that's the way we can set up the tone in terms of trends. That does not mean directly that this is the number of visits a website has.

So some people sometimes confuse a little bit.

Yeah, absolutely. That is definitely an issue. And the other thing I think we should point out is that the increases that we talked about, both on the tweets on Sunday night, as well as in the post on Monday, are relative to a baseline measurement.

And in this case, the baseline measurement was essentially the average resolution volume for the websites of interest.

That was taken measured between noon and 3 p.m.

Eastern time. So before the run, basically early that afternoon, and then our graphs started at 3 p.m.

Eastern time. So we were able to see those trends and those changes sort of heading into kickoff and then obviously during the game.

True, true. And the baseline, of course, gives us a sense of how many times the website increased in terms of traffic, really.

Right. So it helps us there.

Let's dig into the trends then. I'll share my screen. Let's see if it all plays out.

Here we are.

So this is the blog post we did. Who won the Super Bowl? A look at Internet traffic during the big game.

We got that quote about how important Super Bowl is in the United States, of course.

It is. And actually, yesterday, there were numbers in terms of on the broadcaster, on NBC numbers, more than 100 million people saw the Super Bowl in the United States, which is amazing.

Yeah, I saw references to articles with the numbers, but I haven't dug in yet.

Yeah, but there's big numbers there.

Usually there are. And this year, there's not an exception, really. So in terms of the big picture, we started doing a comparison between the two finals, Bengals and Rams.

Those websites really show spikes, show growth throughout the night, the evening.

And we got to share this with the audience in our...

Oh, sorry. I have my son here. We got to share this with the audience because, of course, we got to see how the Bengals website got some big spikes before the event, actually.

And even in the halftime, but then at the end, of course, Rams' website got higher.

Right, right. Well, the early spike around the Bengals, the orange spike there at 8.30, I noticed was aligned with one of the touchdowns they had scored.

But I thought it was really interesting to see how the two sites mapped fairly, the traffic mapped fairly close to each other throughout the game.

But obviously, there were some spikes we saw, obviously, during the touchdowns or at the end of the game.

Quite interesting trends there.

But what I was surprised is how those two lines are very near to each other.

And even the spikes are near. So people were watching those websites using the same trends.

So human trends are there. How a game can impact visits to a website is quite interesting to see.

So moving on.

We also have categories in terms of how things play out. We have the food and snacks categories there, food delivery.

And for these next few, what we had done was aggregated the host names or domain names associated with leading vendors or leading sites within those categories.

So, you know, like in the US, the leading food delivery apps.

Exactly. And of course, Super Bowl is an event very close to heart in terms of food.

People want their specific food. Everyone has a exact football food.

It's not only about the game, only about the commercials. It's also about the food, the friends and family.

And we got I find this very interesting.

Also, human trends there. The highest moment in terms of food delivery domains we got to see was at around 530, 515 Eastern Time.

So one hour before kickoff.

So, of course, one hour before kickoff, people were ordering food for them to...

Hoping it would be the right time. Yeah. Exactly. One hour gives people time and then it starts to decrease, of course.

And we can see that decrease there.

There's a small spike after halftime, which I found interesting. So also, yeah, it's really even it flattens out a little bit too, like comes back up a little bit, flattens out and then drops off towards the end of the game.

And then once the game ends, traffic picks back up, I guess, you know, either everybody's finished what they've ordered and they're still hungry or, you know, maybe it's a shift to dessert or something.

True, true. But it's interesting to see how it's very clear the line there in those sense.

We also have traffic to sports sites, websites, a lot of websites here.

We included also the Rams and the Bengals websites there.

And, of course, the kickoff is a high point there and then it starts to decrease.

And then we got a spike of the Rams first touchdown, which is also interesting.

And this shows how people nowadays see television, even games, important games like this one.

People are using their phones and are checking websites where something occurs on the television.

And then halftime, a very big spike, start of fourth quarter and then, of course, end of the game.

And I think this also shows how websites, in this case, sports websites, got attention because of the Super Bowl, even during the events, which is interesting.

Right. I mean, folks might have been checking player stats or other sorts of information there.

Exactly. There's good information there. We saw that also with the Olympics, for example.

They add information on the Olympics in this winter Olympics case.

Video platforms. We also had a graph about the aggregate traffic to video platforms.

And it's a different pattern, more similar to sports websites here.

Yeah, not a lot of surprises here, though. True, true. But I found it interesting that the Coinbase ad got a spike there, which is...

I think that may have been people kind of...

I don't recall if they actually... I don't think they branded the ad, though.

I think it was just the QR code. So people probably were rushing online going, what the heck was that that I just saw?

And searching for QR code ad or something and maybe finding it on YouTube.

True. And I think this shows the halftime spike, which is a big spike.

This shows how people really love to see the ads.

The ones they saw, they would probably want to see, oh, let me check that one better.

So having a big spike in the halftime. The spike on halftime may have also been related to the halftime show for the Gen Xers like me.

The performers during the show were my generational sweet spot.

So folks that are largely uninterested in the game may have gone to the video platforms to try to watch just the halftime show.

Makes sense. Although the halftime show was broadcasted.

So maybe after people go to video platforms, maybe after the halftime show.

Possibly, but remember, not everybody has a TV these days. True, true. And then the end of the game, a big spike there also, which makes sense.

And social media, let's go to social media.

This is a particular interesting trend, how it goes down.

We actually wrote a blog post about Thanksgiving, the 2021 Thanksgiving. And it was very interesting to see social media going down throughout the Thanksgiving lunch, Thanksgiving dinner.

You can see patterns of social media traffic going down throughout those days and really down, which is interesting.

In this case, social media websites, apps were going down until kickoff.

And then they got a big spike at around 1905, which is the time the Coinbase plan blew up social media too.

Yeah, even higher than the video platforms. Then, curious enough, right around the time the halftime started, social media goes down, which is interesting.

And then before the second half starts, we have a nice spike there. Yeah, I think, again, that's not too surprising.

I think with people refocusing on the halftime show and watching it and going, I think probably also wind up, and then the spike there is the like, oh my God, those guys were great.

Or, you know, holy cow, that was my favorite song or, you know, whatever.

That's sort of reaction.

Yeah, exactly. Reaction is what we're looking for. Yeah, they're watching that and then reacting on social media after they saw it.

And then the end of the game.

Let's go to messaging services. Also, normally a nice trend to see. So it was pretty normal in terms of traffic.

And we got a spike at around kickoff. And then it starts to grow exactly at the same time of the Coinbase ad, actually.

I think this trend is probably kind of expected also where it's because messaging is one of those things that you can do with sort of continuous partial attention where you can do the messaging on your phone while you're watching the game on your laptop or your TV.

So I think this makes sense here. And we saw this trend also. The second half has more traffic to those websites than the first half.

And there's a spike also at the end of the game.

And now let's dig into the commercials, the ads. What everybody actually watches the Super Bowl for.

Exactly. At least in Europe. The game is secondary.

In Europe, most definitely people are watching more commercials than the game itself.

In 2021, we actually saw nice trends there in terms of how these commercials still drive traffic to the company's website while the game is on.

And it continued this year, right?

Although one of the things I did find interesting this year was how few commercials actually had a URL as part of them.

I remember 20 years ago or 25 years ago when the web was new, every ad ended with some sort of link.

And this year it was like, no, just Bud Light or it was Coinbase didn't even have the name.

But yeah, I think people were sort of in many cases figuring it out for themselves.

True. And I think it's interesting because it's not new.

The Internet, how people go and search a website. Most people already know how to do that, especially in the US.

And giving a more personalized and trendy ad probably will help people go to the website.

Although one of the things that just occurred to me, too, that we didn't map this year was traffic to search engines.

Given that there were no, by and large, no URLs within the ads, I wonder if people did go to directly or did they just type in Bud Light and then the browser goes, oh, I'm going to go look that up for you in Google or whatever.

And here's a link to the Bud Light site.

Maybe next year we should do that. We should also map.

We should. See if we see spikes in Google or DuckDuckGo or Bing traffic aligned with some of the key commercials.

We should. Makes perfect sense because I really think people go and do that search for those websites and not go directly to them.

We got some food and snacks ads and commercials. Bud Light had a nice spike, 25 times increase to their website.

The Pringles one was also a popular one, 35 times increase.

And the Lay's one also had a bump there. That's a nice 30x increase. Yeah.

Then the Doritos one we also mentioned, which had a particular ad with animals, jungle animals singing the Salt-N -Pepa hit.

And then we go to a particular increase.

So this is the cocktail company Cutwater Spirits. They got a large traffic boost.

Of course, they are not as well known as other brands. And because of that, the increase is bigger.

The difference. So I think their site probably had lower traffic ahead of the game.

So that baseline that we calculated was much lower.

You know, and I think that, you know, you mentioned that the Cutwater Spirits, I think was their first ad.

Big Lab Ultra is a well-known brand. It's probably been advertising the Super Bowl for a while.

But the bowling ad that they showed saw a significant, you know, about 800x increase in traffic as well.

Which is really interesting.

Really interesting. And I love that ad. Here's to the Lazy Ones.

A reference to the Steve Jobs 1984 type of Apple ad.

Then we got to financial services. Of course, crypto is, of course, bigger and bigger.

The Super Bowl. True. And of course, Coinbase had a big increase in traffic 14 times.

Coinbase, we should mention that Coinbase is already a very popular website.

It's not a website of a particular service that people just go there sometimes.

It's a website that has traffic. So 14 times increase, it's a large number.

And this actually undersells the graph here. It really undersells the traffic increase that they saw as a result of the ad.

Because when we knew ahead of time that Coinbase was going to be advertising, we were tracking just their main website.

And then after the commercial error, we discovered that they were actually taking viewers to a different hosting.

And we didn't have that in our configuration to be able to generate the traffic increases there.

Of course, with that one, it will be much higher probably.

Absolutely. And then we got to the ad featuring LeBron James having a conversation with his 2003 self-generated cell.

And of course, FTX ad. This was a very commented, very highlighted ad with Larry David giving bad advices to everyone throughout human history.

Which was interesting, but it only resulted in 1.5 times traffic growth. But it's peculiar to see that we can see when the ad was aired on the website.

Oh, absolutely.

Yeah, I mean, I've been watching these sorts of trends for a while through different events.

And you can definitely, looking at web traffic or DNS traffic in this case, you can definitely pinpoint like, okay, that's when this thing happened.

Whether it's an ad or a speech or, you know, things like that. And we also have the eToro to the moon ad that ran in the second half of the game 25 times.

A big increase here, which is interesting. And also the green light ad here featuring Phil Dunphy.

Yeah, Phil Dunphy appeared. I've been watching my way through Modern Family, so it was interesting to see him reprise that role.

Yeah, I think I watched all of them already too, so it's quite interesting.

And then we got to cars.

Cars commercials, of course, is so typical to the Super Bowl.

And this year, of course, electric cars were the main thing. And there was that nostalgia, 80s nostalgia from the BMW ad that got them 14 times increase.

Great song.

Great song, true. And then, of course, the Dr. Evil character from Austin Powers.

Dr. Evil takeover of General Motors that got them 400 times increase in traffic, which is amazing.

Yeah, definitely interesting to see. You know, it used to be all about the beer companies.

And I think this year definitely shifted to very heavy crypto and electric car focus.


And, of course, the Wallbox commercial. Wallbox is not a car manufacturer, but it does chargers for electric cars.

Right, which are obviously going to be critical if we want to wind up with widespread adoption of electric cars.

Of course.

And we got some numbers about Toyota, Kia, even Nissan, but Wallbox got more than 2,500 times higher traffic to their website.

Of course, we don't know how much traffic their website usually has, but this is a very big increase.

Yeah, I think they're definitely a newer player on the scene.

Hopefully they made their ROI back.

Exactly. And then health. We got some health commercials also. This one was the Hologic commercial with Mary J.

Blige, who got them 140 times traffic spike.

And, of course, Irish Spring also. This is the soap. Actually, we got two health ads that we mentioned on the blog post.

One is Hologic, 140 times. But let's go to the winner already of this challenge, let's say, like this.

It was QHealth.

Go for it. I mean, it was a really interesting ad, too. It had a lot of popular smart home devices who all of a sudden felt a little bit unnerved that there was this hot new device in town or in the house, I guess.

But the ad drove about a 10,000x increase in traffic to their site.

So, again, a new entrant, you know, very little-known company, but one that generated, obviously, a significant amount of interest as a result of their ad.

Of course, and it's COVID-related, and everyone knows COVID.

Yeah, I forgot to mention that part of it, yes. It was a COVID-testing-related device.

Forgot that. Popular topics. Just a little. Maybe next year we won't need one of those.

True. Fingers crossed. And, of course, we got our conclusion and, very important, a QR code.

We generated a QR code. This was a very good suggestion from our CTO, John Graham Cunning.

Thank you. It's a good way for people to know Cloudflare Radar, our tool for data.

And, of course, we also mentioned our Twitter account.

We only this year, 2022, got some tweets there, and we'll have more tweets following.

So we are building up on the Twitter account. So everyone who wants to check our tweets out for some trends, we will try to publish them.

We'll be using that account to highlight trends we see on the Radar site itself.

Unfortunately, Internet disruptions are still a thing around the world.

So as we observe those disruptions, we'll be tweeting out information about what we see there, where it's occurring, when it occurred, things like that.

So, yeah, definitely keep an eye on that account for various types of updates and trends information.

Of course. Actually, we did the Super Bowl this past few weeks. But in the beginning of the year, there was a large number of – let me just stop sharing.

There was a large number of attacks and outages and shutdowns. Right. January was particularly busy for that.

Yeah, exactly. And it was amazing to see how people are affected because of not having Internet.

We saw that in Gambia because of cables.

We saw that in Tonga because of the volcano that affected the undersea cables.

And, of course, we saw that Kazakhstan was a number of days without the Internet.

I think there was one more that we're missing. Yeah, there was one more.

Yeah, I'm missing two. Yeah, but there's a lot of this type of situations, outages and shutdowns.

And this January was really incredible to see in a short amount of time that happening.

Burkina Faso was the other one.

Burkina Faso, true. And then Yemen was down because of the airstrikes on the telecom headquarters.

True, true. And different types of situations.

Yes, very much so. Which is interesting. Thank you so much, David.

That's all our time. Thank you for doing this. Hope everyone checks Cloudflare Radar out.

Thumbnail image for video "Cloudflare Radar Bulletin"

Cloudflare Radar Bulletin
In this program we cover recent Internet disruptions, outages and general trends that we see worldwide using Cloudflare data (available on and go over Cloudflare Radar updates.
Watch more episodes