Super Bowl XXIII:

A Social Media Analysis of the Big Game on Instagram

Report Analyzing 34 Instagram Profiles by facelift-datastudio-black-1



Table of contents



The Super Bowl is one of the biggest single-day sports events in the world. It doesn’t only draw high television ratings but also makes big noise on Social Media. 

Not only is the actual game a highlight, but the commercials and Halftime Show are also highly anticipated each year. Brands even used social media to tease their Super Bowl ads two weeks prior to the game, in an effort to increase engagement and generate excitement.

Social media has a huge impact on the Super Bowl, serving as the primary platform for viewers to express their reactions. The significance of social media for the participating teams, their players, the National Football League (NFL), advertisers, and musical performers cannot be overstated. It provides an invaluable opportunity for them to connect with fans, build buzz and anticipation, and ultimately enhance the overall Super Bowl experience. From live tweets during the game to pre-game hype and post-game analysis, social media is a vital component of the Super Bowl ecosystem.

Now, let's get specific and take a look at the Instagram data: Which teams and players received the highest engagement? Are there significant changes in follower counts? How did advertisers leverage Instagram to enhance their popularity? To what extent did Rihanna's Halftime Show performance during Super Bowl XXIII impact the overall social media buzz? These are just some of the questions that will be explored through our data-driven analysis of the Instagram activity surrounding the Super Bowl.

Let’s dive in! 




To analyze the impact of the Super Bowl on Instagram, we used our social media analytics tool to collect in-depth data from the most relevant accounts that are connected to the event – amongst them profiles of well-known players, advertisers, and the teams. 

 These are the 34 accounts we analyzed:

  1. @nfl - 26.7M 
  2. @chiefs – 2.6M 
  3. @philadelphiaeagles – 2.6M 
  4. @badgalriri - 142M 
  5. @applemusic – 4.5M 
  6. @dunkin -  2.2M
  7. @samueladamsbeer - 124K
  8. @tmobile - 518K
  9. @pepsi - 1.7M
  10. @kia.worldwide -685K
  11. @rakuten - 221K
  12. @uber - 1.4M  
  13. @pringles -728K
  14. @popcorners 49.8K
  15. @budweiser – 611K 
  16. @buschbeer - 283K 
  17. @doritos - 990K 
  18. @downy - 31.1K 
  19. @heineken - 744K 
  20. @michelobultra - 184K 
  21. @mmschocolate – 1.2M 
  22. @squarespace - 342K 
  23. @workday – 20.3K 
  24. @1k_alwaysopen - 560K 
  25. @creed_humphrey – 96.1K 
  26. @devontasmith - 822K 
  27. @haason7reddick - 141K 
  28. @jalenhurts – 1.3M 
  29. @killatrav – 1.9M 
  30. @lanejohnson65 – 281K 
  31. @patrickmahomes – 5.4M 
  32. @realandrewwylie – 30.2K 
  33. @slimslay_81 - 102K 
  34. @stonecoldjones - 235K 

For most of the analyses, we used the 7-day time period between February and February 14th, 2022.  


The NFL on Instagram

The NFL's official account is extensively covering every aspect of the Super Bowl, as evidenced by the 473 posts published between February 1st and February 14th, 2023. This makes it a content-rich source for fans seeking updates and highlights.


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Between February 1st and February 14th, 2023, in the lead-up to and aftermath of the Super Bowl finale, the NFL's official account shared a total of 90 images, 101 carousels, and 281 reels. It's evident from this data that the account has a strong focus on Reels as part of its social media strategy. However, despite the emphasis on Reels, the data shows that posts with images received the highest level of engagement.


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Upon analyzing the NFL's Instagram followers, it is worth noting that the account experienced a notable uptick of 279,639 new followers from February 7th to 14th, translating to a 1% rise in its follower base. As of February 14th, the NFL's official account boasts a staggering 26.8 million followers, which is a testament to the brand's strong social media presence. It's also worth mentioning that the Super Bowl finale provided a significant boost to the account's growth, highlighting the NFL's ability to leverage major events to attract and engage with fans.


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Delving into our data analysis, we've made a surprising discovery concerning the top-performing posts on the NFL's Instagram account. Surprisingly, neither the Super Bowl winners nor the runners-up secured the top two spots. Instead, those honors belong to Rihanna, who captivated audiences with a Reel of her opening act at the halftime show, followed closely by another Reel of her performance of Rude Boy. In third place is a post featuring an illustration of Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, surrounded by his many awards.



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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Let's start by examining the followers for both teams. Before February 7th, the Philadelphia Eagles had a lead of about 100k followers over the Kansas City Chiefs. However, when we look at the Followers Change Rate after the day of the final, we can observe that the Chiefs, as the Super Bowl winners, had a more significant increase compared to the Eagles. Despite this, the Total Followers metric still shows that the Chiefs have fewer followers than the Eagles, but on the day of the final, they almost caught up to the Eagles' following and popularity.


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Now, let's analyze both teams' social media strategies. Our Key Metrics table indicates that the Eagles focused slightly more on video content, as they posted more Reels than the Chiefs. Same as for the NFL Instagram account, both teams found that Reels did not receive as much engagement as pictures. Even Carousel posts were found to be more engaging for both teams.


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When it comes to total interactions, there were no surprises; the winners received the most interactions. The post with the hashtag #VictoryMonday was the one with the highest engagement, followed by #ItsAPhillyThing with an average of 188,127 interactions.


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So, what were the most successful posts for both teams? Let's take a look at the data. The Chiefs took first and second place. The most successful post, with an impressive engagement rate of 26%, showed quarterback Mahomes with his MVP and Super Bowl trophies. Coming in close behind was the announcement post of the Chiefs declaring themselves Super Bowl winners. The third most successful post was a carousel post by the Eagles featuring portraits of their players, with the Eagles' quarterback as the first picture.


top 3 posts by i-rate


The players

We also analyzed the Instagram data of the players themselves. Patrick Mahomes is currently the shining star of the NFL, and this is reflected in his large following on Instagram. He has significantly more followers than his peers. However, which player saw the largest increase in followers by percentage? It appears that Jalen Hurts won the hearts of many as his followers grew by 13.6% during the Super Bowl weekend. Coming in close second is Travis Kelce with a growth of 13.4%.

Looking at the actual numbers though, Patrick Mahomes saw the most significant rise in followers with an increase of 164,725. 

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Let's take a look at the Top 3 posts from all players. At number 1 is Creed Humphrey with a post announcing the Super Bowl win, receiving an engagement rate of 30.5%. In second place is an emotional post by Travis Kelce, tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, featuring a Reel of childhood memories and current moments with his brother Jason Kelce, who plays center for the Philadelphia Eagles. Both Kelce brothers have already won Super Bowls with their respective teams and are regarded as nearly legendary in the cities where they play. The third top post goes to Patrick Mahomes, who posted a picture of himself and his family visiting Disneyland after winning the Super Bowl.


top 3 posts by i-rate-1


In conclusion, all players received an impressive amount of interactions and followers throughout the Super Bowl and around the day of the finale. Summarized, their followers increased by 7.9% and they amassed 5,181,683 interactions.


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The advertisers

Advertising during the Super Bowl is a significant aspect of the event and has become a cultural phenomenon in its own right. Companies pay exorbitant amounts of money for a few seconds of airtime during the game, as it provides an opportunity to reach a massive audience of over 100 million viewers. The ads provide an opportunity for companies to showcase their creativity and message, while also entertaining and engaging viewers in the process. 

The Super Bowl ads have also become a significant source of discussion and analysis, with people eagerly anticipating and evaluating the ads. In fact, many people watch the game primarily for the ads, and they often generate more buzz than the game itself. Super Bowl ads have become a pop cultural phenomenon, with people discussing and analyzing them for weeks after the game. 

So, let's dive into the Instagram data for this year's Super Bowl ads, where we analyzed 20 top-performing brands. The Halftime Show's new sponsor, Apple Music, led the pack with the highest number of followers. Workday's hilarious ad featuring Ozzy Osbourne stood out and boosted their follower count by a whopping 9.4%.

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On the Super Bowl finale day and the following day, Apple Music, Dunkin and Busch Beer achieved the highest increase in follower numbers.


key metrics commercial


Workday and T-Mobile also stood out with their impressive interaction rates, ranking among the top 5.


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Workday's engagement rate of their Reel showing their advert featuring Ozzy Osbourne 22.7% secured their place in the top 3 posts, while Fanduel's Tom Brady post ranked second. Apple Music's captivating teaser of Rihanna's Halftime Show took first place with an unbelievable interaction rate of 74.9%.


commercial posts table by i-rate-1


Upon analyzing the data from the beginning of January until February 14th, it is evident that the Super Bowl had a tremendous impact on the brands. The results speak for themselves: a remarkable 351% rise in brand interaction and a whopping 17,024,004 increase in followers across the board. Clearly, the Super Bowl proved to be a highly effective platform for brand exposure and growth.


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But what about the long-term impact of Super Bowl ads? We took a closer look at Dunkins', PopCorners' and M&M's Chocolates' Instagram data from the past 4 months. Their posts related to the Super Bowl received the most engagement, demonstrating the long-lasting impact of Super Bowl ads on audience engagement and brand awareness. With such massive reach and engagement, Super Bowl ads remain a crucial marketing opportunity for brands looking to captivate and convert new audiences.


dunkin mms popcorners 


The Halftime Show

The Super Bowl halftime show is more than just a highly anticipated musical performance; it is a cultural and marketing phenomenon. Every year, the performance attracts millions of viewers worldwide and generates a tremendous amount of buzz and media coverage. In fact, the halftime show has become so popular that it is often more anticipated than the game itself.

The halftime show also has a significant pop-cultural impact. It provides a platform for artists to showcase their talent and creativity and reach a broad audience. The performance can launch or reignite an artist's career, introduce new music, or create memorable pop culture moments.  Many legendary musicians, such as Prince, Michael Jackson, and Beyoncé, have delivered iconic performances that have become cultural touchstones. 

This year's highly anticipated Super Bowl halftime show was not only an incredible performance, but also marked the long-awaited comeback of Rihanna after seven years away from the stage. Her effortless and iconic performance during the extended Super Bowl Weekend earned her an impressive 2,558,921 new followers.


halftime show rihanna followers


But the impact of the halftime show extends far beyond the immediate aftermath of the performance. By analyzing all of the advertising and promotional posts from Apple Music and NFL's Instagram accounts that featured snippets of Rihanna's performance, we were able to gather some truly remarkable data. From February 10th to February 14th, these posts received a staggering total of 14,277,838 interactions.


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It's clear that Rihanna's comeback performance was a major pop culture moment, but it was also a marketing triumph that demonstrated the incredible power of the Super Bowl halftime show to captivate and engage a global audience. In fact, we're confident in saying that we've found the true winner of Super Bowl XXIII right here.



In conclusion, our social media analysis of the Super Bowl has revealed a truly remarkable phenomenon - the Super Bowl has transcended beyond being just a mere sports event. This year's halftime show performance by none other than Rihanna has set a new standard for entertainment and cultural impact. The buzz generated on social media has been nothing short of phenomenal, and the Super Bowl has proven itself to be a platform for cultural moments that extend far beyond the world of sports.

What's more, our analysis has shown that the top post on the official NFL Instagram account following the Super Bowl had nothing to do with the game itself, but was in fact a tribute to the halftime show performance by Rihanna. This speaks volumes to the power of cultural moments and the impact they can have on social media.

Overall, our social media analysis of the Super Bowl has highlighted the immense potential of the event as a platform for cultural moments that go beyond sports. By recognizing and leveraging this potential, marketers can connect with audiences in powerful and meaningful ways, driving engagement and brand awareness like never before.


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