Skip to Main Content

#BurstBowl Wrap Up – Super Bowl Advertisers’ Website Performance


Oh… some many things to talk about… the game… the ads… the crashes of websites. Where should I begin? I think that everyone knows the score now New England 17 – NY 21. Fuck! Even from Beijing this one hurts for me. As someone here at Yottaa’s Beijing office explained to me; today was America’s Spring Festival (Food, drinking, gambling, parties, family). You can feel this game coming to the wrong conclusion. Even at the start of the 3rd quarter, I got an eerie feeling of the outcome. It was the same feeling I had watching the Super Bowl commercial’s websites.

All day Sunday the Yottaa monitored 46 Superbowl Ad websites to see which one would experience downtime or significant slowdowns. In some ways, it was as much fun as watching the game. Next year, we will need cameras in all IT departments for each website and watch them work like crazy trying to resolve their site crashes.

The 3 Big Website Performance Losers

1. cokepolarbowl.comdescribe the image

Oh the polar bear lovers really took this website offline for quite some time. You can checkout the following screen shots to see the damage.Here is the for the Coke Polar Bowl app, you can see that it can not be found. Then shortly afterwards the company put up this maintenance page.

describe the image

This site was fun to watch because before and after the game the site performance was quite good.

But look at the chart below. You can clearly see from this graph the site was having significant problems during the Super Bowl. Every time their ad would play, the site would go down. We detected at least 6 outages of 5 minutes.

describe the image

One of the other things to note on this site is that during the Super Bowl the site was 5 x slower. During the non-Super Bowl hours the sites average load time was 3.2 seconds (not too bad), but when it was game time the site slowed to a grueling 13.9 seconds. So much money spent on all those ads just drove people to a dead or slow website.


describe the image

With the Yottaa Website Monitor service at, you could easily detect the outage they were experiencing using our “Check now” button to collect the data instantly. Even though Acura’s homepage was not that crashing, the call to action link was. The launch of their new performance car was met with poor performance from their website. You can see 4 out of 5 agent locations have reported that the site timed out just trying to download the HTML file. With an ad spend of $3.5 million plus production costs for 30 seconds of a commercial, leaving visitors with a bad experience is not the way to launch a new car.  Acura’s website needs to be up, even during a traffic spike.

Overall Traffic Conclusions

During the Super Bowl traffic to the websites slowed by 6%, highlighting the importance of web performance. Website performance is critical. For example, Amazon reports that a 100-millisecond delay on their website equates to a 1% drop in revenue.

describe the image

81 failed page loads – each problem lasted at least 5 minutes. These numbers are striking, our Yobots are patient… they will wait up to 2 minutes to load the page; Super Bowl viewers… not so much. I am betting Super Bowl watchers will wait about 3 seconds before drinking more beer or needing to wipe chicken wing sauce off their iPhone.


Oh, wait . . . my predictions for our #BurstBowl competition. I forgot to mention them and there is a good reason for it… they sucked.,, and all fared really well during the Super Bowl. I predicted the sites crashing as well as I  predicted the release date of the Yottaa Site Speed Optimizer.

This blog post is simply a recap what happened and an offer of how to fix website performance. But, if I had give one piece of advice it would be… “live load testing”. Every one of these websites should have run a load test against their production system. Every one knew the visitors were coming, there was no reason to leave it to chance.

The fun isn’t over. #Superadmonday is just as important. Most people will log on and look over all the ads one more time, vote on their favorites, morning shows will replay them… We will keep tracking these sites and let you know if any website joins the #BurstBowl hall of fame, just like my dreams of running through Beijing yelling “Viva La New England”.

eCommerce Application Performance


Don’t let slow site performance cost you conversions.Let's Talk