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Super Bowl Advertisers Drop the Ball
Report says that some advertisers' Web sites were ill equipped for the increased traffic during the big game.
Posted Jan 28, 2003
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What good is a great advertising or marketing campaign if you don't have product to sell? Similarly, what good is driving customers to your Web site if you can't handle the increased traffic? Keynote Systems, provider of Web performance management and testing services, reports that several Super Bowl advertisers were unable to maintain peak Web site performance when viewers were drawn to their sites during or following Super Bowl commercials. Poor performance at some sites raises questions about whether companies are doing proper load-testing to ensure they can handle spikes following tremendous exposure during a major media event and whether they are doing a satisfactory job of monitoring performance to assure an optimal customer experience. According to Keynote's research, Cadillac's Web site experienced significant problems around halftime. Availability, which had been 100 percent prior to the game, dropped to as low as 83 percent, and response time tripled to more than six seconds for those users who were able to get through. Keynote also says The Hulk buckled under the load. Just as the game was beginning, the Web site for the upcoming movie collapsed. Between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. (EST), the site's response time averaged more than 20 seconds. While some sites managed to drop the ball during the big game, Keynote points out that other companies expected increased traffic and handled the jump in site visitors accordingly. Among those advertisers whose Web sites maintained 100 percent availability during the Super Bowl were FedEx, Levi Strauss, McDonalds, Sony, and Sony Pictures. "The fact that a number of Super Bowl advertiser Web sites had such significant degradations in performance indicates that they very likely had not done the appropriate kind of real-world load testing prior to the Super Bowl. The performance of these sites substantially degraded due to the traffic load generated to their site by their ad," Arnold Waldstein, vice president of marketing and business development for Keynote said in a company statement. "E-businesses must load test their sites under accurate and realistic conditions to ensure their ability to deal with 'hit storms' during major marketing promotions; such as the type generated by a high visibility Super Bowl ad."
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