As the dust settles on what was a hugely successful London 2012 Olympics, sponsors of the Games can start to get a clear picture on the ROI generated from their various investments in the event. We all know about the official sponsors; the likes of P & G, Adidas and Coca-Cola, who were happy to throw millions into the Games in order to align themselves with it. But how did the Olympics affect non-sponsors, and are they starting to regret not being involved?
Well, in short, corporate sponsorship was not as beneficial as you might have expected. In years gone by, there was undoubtedly a massive value attached to having your brand on every billboard in the Olympic village, or your logo on the top athletes' clothing. If you were prepared to pay a hefty premium, then you could appeal to a massive (and captive) global audience with stadium placements. None of this has changed. The major player during these Olympics though, was social media. Twitter alone generated some 15m Olympics-related tweets during the 16 days of the Games, just shy of 1m per day. Combined with other platforms, namely Facebook and YouTube, social media has completely changed the way that brands were able to leverage the Olympics to their advantage, regardless of whether they were official sponsors or not.
CEO of Socialbakers, Jan Rezab, said "There was a time when primetime slots around major sporting events were essential for maintaining position as a household name; but social media has levelled the playing field." Various brands that chose not to sponsor the Games have still seen massive uplift in terms of visitors and engagement. In actual fact, the brand that generated the highest level of sporting social engagement during the Olympics wasn't even a sponsor, it was Nike. Below I've compared some key social media statistics for sponsors vs. non-sponsors, during the first week of the Olympics.
Adidas vs. Nike
Adidas, the official sponsor in this example, received 80,761 new Likes to their Facebook page during the first week of the Games. They were also mentioned in 9,295 Olympics-themed tweets during this same period. Most impressively, Adidas saw a 44% increase in unique visitors to their website during the same time period.
While Nike only saw a 10% traffic boost, they were the runaway winners on social media thanks to a well thought out social strategy. Nike's Facebook fan base grew by 166,718 - more than double that of Adidas, and three times the rate that their Facebook page normally grows. Not only that, Nike was mentioned in 16,020 Olympics-themed tweets - 6,725 more than their rivals. Despite their various core sponsorship deals, maybe Adidas didn't #TakeTheStage after all.
Cadbury vs. Mars
Cadbury are the official sponsor here, and they saw another massive increase in website visitors with 41% uplift during the first week of the Olympics. Their social media performance wasn't anywhere near as impressive, with just under 4,000 new fans on their Facebook page and 2,232 Olympics-themed tweets. Compare this to non-sponsor, Mars, who comfortably matched Cadbury on Facebook with just over 4,500 new fans. It wasn't so close on Twitter, with Mars generating 29,740 Olympics-themed tweets - 27,508 more than Cadbury.
While you can't question the visitors uplift generated from official sponsorship, you could certainly argue that the non-sponsors' far higher social media uplift is just as valuable in terms of gaining new customers. It seems as though key sponsors signed the cheques that got their names on the event, and then forgot to incorporate social media into their respective marketing strategies during the Olympics. Either that, or social media truly did level the playing field for brands during the Olympics.
The original article can be found on the Big Dot Media blog.