Super Bowl or Social Bowl?

This was not your parents' Super Bowl. Social media has changed the way that we experience many areas of life, and sports are no exception. During this year's game, social media discussions were up 9% over last year, according to marketing agency Zeta Interactive. What were people talking about? Mostly the game, but discussions about the ads came in a close second. And who wasn't talking about the entertainment? Tweets and posts about Christina Aguilera's national anthem performance and the Black Eyed Peas' halftime show were everywhere.

If you're a big fan of Super Bowl commercials, you're not alone. Measured by volume of tweets, Chrysler's Detroit Eminem was the winner with 19,781 citations during the hour it aired. Thanks to YouTube, that expensive spot will live on far beyond the game, with an additional 3.8 million views already recorded. The commercial for Transformers 3 came in second with 18,215 tweets, and Doritos had 15,800 tweets in the first hour of the game according to the social media analytics tool Trendrr.

These companies coughed up nearly $3 million per ad, and they're using social media to great effect to get the most value out of that investment. They put a plan in place ahead of time to use the power of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Not long ago, a Super Bowl commercial was seen once, briefly discussed and then forgotten. But today, these companies will be able to continue a relationship with their customers long after the players have left the stadium.