Since a thirty-second Super Bowl commercial cost $5.6 million this year, only the deepest-pocketed brands come out to play.

Like automakers, the industry that typically spends the most on Super Bowl ads.

Even though buying a car is a complex purchase decision with limited direct response, automobile commercials can build brand awareness, cause potential buyers to start doing a little research... and result in visits to vehicle shopping and information platforms. 

Like Edmunds: Every year, Edmunds compares typical Sunda traffic to brand and model pages on its site to the resulting uptick from Super Bowl commercials.

Granted, the methodology isn't perfect; Edmunds is just one of many automotive sites. But their data is an indication of relative behavior. 

But, as you'll see, not necessarily an indication of which automaker "won" the attention and awareness battle. 

Which model received the highest lift in traffic during the game?

Here are the top three, in reverse order. For fun, I've also included the as-of-this-writing YouTube views for each commercial's "official" video:

3. Audi e-tron 

Traffic lift: 24,122 percent

"Official" YouTube views: 5.2 million

Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams singing a song from Frozen. Cool.

But until I looked, I didn't realize the e-tron is fully electric. Nor did I know Audi made an electric car. But then again, maybe I'm not Audi's target audience. 

2. Porsche Taycan

Traffic lift: 40,830 percent

"Official" YouTube views: 32,000

My wife really liked the commercial. Then again, she's predisposed to all things Porsche.

While a 40,000 percent lift is impressive... the Taycan is a new model and the curiosity factor might have been higher. (More on that in a second.)

But then again, Porsche buyers may be less likely to peruse car review and pricing sites. Generally speaking, if you want a Porsche... you want a Porsche.

As for the commercial, pretty cool -- but not something I would purposely watch twice.

1. Kia Seltos

Traffic lift: 147,969 percent

"Official" YouTube views: 8.9 million

The Seltos is a new model; surely that alone sparked a healthy chunk of traffic lift. (In short: "What's a Seltos?")

But it was also one of the best commercials of the night: Heartwarming, inspiring, motivating, and making me look deeper. I wanted to learn about Josh Jacobs, the Raiders running back who who homeless during much of his childhood. (Here's more on Josh's story.)

While I didn't check out the car, the "Tough Never Quits" ad means Josh's story is now linked, to me, with the Seltos.

Meaning, at least in my house, Kia won the brand awareness battle.

But keep in mind those numbers don't tell the whole story.

Brand awareness is important, but increased brand awareness doesn't necessarily lead to increased purchase consideration.

I have no interest in an all-electric car. Or a Kia. My wife is definitely interested in a Porsche, but she didn't need a commercial to spark that desire. (I think you're either born Porsche-curious, or not.)

And while brand awareness may correlate with purchase consideration, another important metric on pathway of complex purchase decisions, brand awareness doesn't cause purchase consideration. (Correlation and causation are two very different things.) 

Plus, models that have been on the market for some time were unlikely to spark the same lift in traffic. The Hyundai Sonata has been around for a while, which may be why Hyundai focused on its Smart Park feature in one of the better commercials of the night, one that's also been viewed over 36 million times on YouTube.

That boosted Hyundai traffic on Edmunds by 6,982 percent -- not too shabby for a car that has been for sale in the U.S. in various iterations since 1988.

Which, to me, makes Hyundai the Super Bowl automaker commercial winner: Cool ad. Increased traffic. Tens of millions of pre-and post-game online views.

All for a mainstream sedan totally lacking a new-model curiosity factor.

Which could make the $11 million or so Hyundai spent seem like a bargain... if spending $11 million ever seems like a bargain.