How Esurance Broke Out of Its Echo Chamber During Super Bowl Half TimeHow Esurance Broke Out of Its Echo Chamber During Super Bowl Half Time

by Sam Stolzoff

Esurance’s half time performance is noteworthy, particularly because it was not a Super Bowl sponsor, nor did it have paid commercial advertisement during the game. What it did do was effectively implement a social media strategy that is worth learning about. Its achievement might not be measurable in dollars yet, but it appears to us at EAG that Esurance broke out of its social media echo chamber, and inserted itself in that of another industry space in social media.

Conceptually, Esurance’s echo chamber consists of users and entities in social media that it follows, and follow it, that may re-tweet, re-post or share its statements. Esurance’s echo chamber is mostly harmonious with it. It is fairly static in quantity of users, and its messages bounce around within the chamber, and generally do not escape it unless Esurance’s social media marketing team does something excellent, which it did during Super Bowl Half Time.

Here’s the so-what for the rest of us out there. A great way for your company to break out of its echo chamber is to choose an event where you can identify who the major players will be in social media, learn their hashtags and user names, and then leverage those with your own campaign, perhaps giving away something of real value to the community that you are marketing to, that also is likely to be in social media audience for that event. Pepsi did fine with its shoe and baton re-tweet giveaway campaign, but the contrast with Esurance’s cool $50,000.00 giveaway is noticeable, especially because Esurance broke into Pepsi’s social media space, and in grand style.We set out to create a highly-optimized, Google-friendly e-commerce website for our friends at Self Reliance Outfitters (formerly known as The Pathfinder Store). When they first came to us, they already had decent brand recognition online but had a very basic ecommerce website that was spread out across several domains.

The graphic below shows what its echo chamber looks like in a network diagram, prior to the Super Bowl, going back to November of 2014:

Most ego networks look like that in social media, and many strategies focus on growing influence by increasing the number of friends and followers. This is logical in the case of commercial organizations, as this could lead to the establishment of a service-client relationship and a series of financial transactions. But what happens when you position your company successfully in a different community’s social space? Here’s what Esurance sub-community looked like situated in the beverage community during half time – it was the second largest!

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And, as the second largest sub-community inside the Super Bowl beverage industry community, there’s no sign of Pepsi or any other beverage in there, and this is one of the most centrally located communities inside that data set, where Pepsi ought to be dominant given that it was the half time sponsor!

So what? It means that the Esurance brand was making an impression on a community that would not otherwise be disposed to pay attention to it during half time. In other words, it broke out of the Esurance echo chamber, and broke into the beverage fortress, planted a $50,000.00 flag, and said “re-tweet us and it shall be yours!”

Esurance’s strategy and implementation are a well calculated step away from the conventional ego network growth approach in social media. We identified what they did in our previous article, but here are some results that came from their use of Pepsi’s hash tags, while offering a much more tangible $50,000.00 giveaway for social media users who re-tweeted #esurancesweepstakes.

Not only did Esurance have the highest re-tweet statistics in a very large beverage community…

…but it also was the third most influential user and had the second most influential hash tag during half time!!

This is just scratching the surface of what can be learned about companies and their social media strategies and implementation during Super Bowl 50’s half time. As you can see, Scraawl analytics help reveal a story of an insurance company boldly entering a foreign social space and nearly outperforming the dominant force therein. While we cannot know how much Esurance spent to accomplish this, we assume that it was less than the $5 million that other companies spent for a 30 second televised spot during the game. We’ll be watching Allstate’s earnings reports to how this well executed and arguably very successful social media strategy translates into the bottom line. For now, kudos to Esurance!

EAG provides training, consulting and advanced technologies to companies who are creating or improving their social media capabilities. Our world-class training is born out of United States special operations community, with a systematic and methodological approach to producing reliable intelligence from social media. We train members of the United States military, federal government, Allied governments, and corporations around the world on how to use social media to achieve their goals, whether it be informing the full spectrum of civil affairs and humanitarian support activities, all the way to identifying new market segments and influencer marketing strategies to grow revenue and profit. For organizations that do not wish to build their own capability, EAG provides consulting support, including the production of finished social media business intelligence products.

For more information about Echo Analytics Group, please visit

Re-posted with permission of Sam Stolzoff, Chief Product Officer of Echo Analytics Group. Original post.

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