Last week’s Superbowl halftime show marked the second year that beverage brand Pepsi sponsored the performance, and yet another success for the brand behemoth. But did Bruno Mars cause as big of a splash as his legendary predecessor Beyoncé?
Leading up to this year’s event, some expressed concerns about the choice of performer. While he was dubbed Artist of the Year by Billboard in 2013, landed on the top of the Forbes 30 under 30 in music, and was one of the most popular artists on YouTube last year, Mars doesn’t have the same deep catalogue or legacy career of artists that are traditionally asked to perform at the Superbowl - a long list of mega stars including Madonna, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and more.
But Mars clocked record ratings during the performance, and saw a significant lift in sales for both of his albums. What is more, his performance also resonated on the social frontier. From his drum solo lead-in, to his perfectly-timed, Michael Jackson-inspired dance-moves, to his heart-melting closing performance of “Just The Way You Are,” a lot of eyes were opened to the well-rounded talents of Bruno Mars that night.
In the week following the performance, Mars added close to 150,000 new followers on Twitter, an increase of 181% from the week prior, peaking at more than 70,000 new followers on the night of the broadcast alone. This is not a significant share of his close to 18 million followers in total, but a pretty good haul for a single night. The performance also drove a lot of engagement for Mars, 400,000 mentions that evening is close to ten times the number of mentions he saw the day before. Mars also attracted about 1.5 million interactions on Facebook that week, where he pushed most of the social promotion around the event with photos, playlists, and more.
Mars also saw a big lift on Wikipedia, one of the most reactive metrics to nationally-televised events, with more than 1.4 million page views the following week. This is an increase of 370% from around 300,000 page views the week before. But how does all this stack up to last year’s performance?
When Beyoncé took the stage last year, the social crowd went wild (It helped that everything Queen Bey touches turns to gold, and that the short-lived reunion of Destiny’s Child took place that night). At first pass it seems as though the social impact for the two artists is strikingly similar. Beyonce added about 72,000 Twitter followers that night, there were more than 1.1 million views to her Wikipedia page the week following the performance, an increase of 352% from the week before, and a little less than 1.4 million people were talking about her on Facebook. She did only see about 300,000 mentions on Twitter the night of the Superbowl, which is about 75% of what Mars saw.
Interestingly enough, there has been little noticeable increase in the amount of activity that Next Big Sound is tracking for artists. The typical number of Facebook page likes and Twitter followers has remained fairly consistent over the past year, and while there was a minor increase in Twitter mentions at about 5%, Wikipedia traffic to artists decreased by around 20%. This means, that socially speaking, even when accounting for network growth in 2013, not only did Bruno Mars outperform Beyoncé by a small margin, but also that the social impact for artists headlining the Superbowl halftime show has been fairly consistent year over year.
Artists are not financially compensated for performing at the Superbowl, but the exposure is thought to be a valuable commodity for artists. The overall increase in attention, engagement and fan base will certainly be beneficial as Mars continues on his Moonshine Jungle tour throughout 2014.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia/Brothers Le
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com. Liv Buli is the resident data journalist for music analytics company Next Big Sound. Buli is a graduate of New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and her work has appeared in Newsweek Daily Beast, Forbes, Billboard, Hypebot and more.