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Olympics Advertisers Turn to Social Media to Create the Right Buzz

April 20, 2012


Olympics have always provided the brands with the largest and most effective platforms for drawing customers’ attention. According to a recent Reuter’s report, during this year’s Olympics from July 27 to August 12, brand-advertisers will flock to Facebook (News - Alert) to create a buzz for their special Olympic promotions. Perhaps they perceive the social media as a tool to talk up their brands. May a buzz of this kind can lead to huge purchases of their brands.

Given that some 794 million people visited Facebook each month by the end of 2011 – and each spent an average of 377 minutes – these brands have ample reason to put so much hope in Facebook.

“Back in 2008 [during the Beijing Olympics], it was very much about paid media,” said Mark Renshaw, chief innovation officer at No. 3 advertising agency Publicis. “Now the reason they want to have a relationship [with consumers] is to generate shared media.”

Renshaw pointed out that during last Olympics in 2008, Facebook had just 145 million users. Online marketing then focused on building Websites. Today, brands are building elaborate campaigns designed partly stir the pot on Facebook and other social media sites like Pinterest and Twitter.

Samsung (News - Alert) Electronics is a good case in point. Believing that Facebook "is where consumers are," the company recently launched its U.S. Olympic Genome Project that uses a game called "How Olympic Are You?" to establish connections with people to the Olympics. Fans, for example, can find athletes from their hometowns, or athletes who like the same music or movies they do.

The process gathers information by tapping into interests on a user's Facebook page. Prizes ranging from discounted electronics to a trip to the Olympics have consumers coming back; whenever they complete an activity, such as a quiz on Olympic trivia, they are invited to post results to their profile.

Consumers are reportedly spending about 8 minutes per visit, on average, on the "How Olympic Are You?" site, according to chief marketing officer of Samsung Ralph Santana. That is about double the time they spend on ordinary Samsung sites.

Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) "Thank You Mom" campaign is another way brands use Facebook to provoke consumer conversation around their products. The P&G advertisement shows mothers around the world raising Olympic athletes. Marc Pritchard, P&G's global marketing and brand building officer, is hoping online viewers will "like" the video on Facebook and drive traffic to its own Facebook pages for brands like Tide detergent, Pampers diapers, Oil of Olay moisturizers and Cover Girl cosmetics.

All of these brands have developed ways to calculate what each click of the "like" or "share" button is worth, based on factors such as how many people saw it, engaged with it and total time spent on a particular campaign.

According to ad executives, a comprehensive multimedia Olympic campaign might cost anywhere from $30 million to $50 million. Brand executives believe the price tag (News - Alert) is worth it, as Facebook is believed to be able to weave tighter connections between their brands and target customers during the Olympics compared to other events.

According to the latest Global Facebook Advertising Report by TBG Digital (TBG), and verified by the University of Cambridge, Facebook is earning more from Marketplace ads. Specifically, average CPM has increased by 15 percent in the last quarter with the U.S. and U.K. seeing increases of 11 percent and 13 percent, respectively, during the same period.

This is the latest report examining the trends and changes in the performance of Facebook campaigns managed by TBG Digital. The study was based on 372 billion impressions in more than 190 countries for 235 clients from Q1 2011 to Q1 2012.

Edited by Braden Becker