I’m not much of a football fan. Not anything of a football fan for that matter. But I do like brand watching. So it was “shut up, I have to listen to the ads” this year, with a furious post-game analysis of my latest interest: hashtag marketing.

The result? Front page billing for a hashtag marketing infographic for my buddies at Friend2Friend.  Read about it “Almost twice as many TV ads featured #hashtags at this year’s 2014 Super Bowl.”

An interesting endeavor in trend-riding that was preceded by a lead-up article written for ClickZ last week: “How brands with Super Bowl TV commercials could stay relevant after the game.”

Since the Super Bowl, we have tracked the hashtag activity for all 38 brands, and looked at who was able to keep the social conversation going past the Super Bowl. In all cases, there’s a huge spike when the ad runs, and then a precipitous decline. This dropoff illustrates some of the challenges brands face when using hashtags for high-ticket marketing campaigns: first, the content created is extremely ephemeral; and second, there hasn’t been an easy way for brands to surface the best hashtagged content created by fans. Brands and agencies have been required to monitor multiple hashtag-compatible social platforms and then sift through that content to pick the best quality for showcasing.

What a lost opportunity. In scanning through the #BestBuds content, yes there were plenty of images of fat weed buds sitting atop Budweiser beer caps, but there were also adorable #BestBuds puppies, kittens, kids and more .. all shouting out for Budweiser. But can you find that now? Nope. Same goes for #HugFest, #GoodToBeBad, #AmericaIsBeautiful and more.

Increasingly, brands are embracing the hashtag as a means to coordinate conversations, execute campaigns, and call out for fan content. Hashtags

Next up is a follow-up infographic with the ‘one week later’ story in AdWeek, a press release for related product from Friend2Friend, and articles for iMedia and MarketingProfs. Busy week!