2012 Olympics Smashes Social Media Targets

London 2012 OlympicsThere’s been considerable noise about what has been coined the ‘Social Games’ this year. The Olympics clearly provides a gargantuan opportunity for online conversations and the chance for brands to be at the centre of those conversations is a marketeer’s ‘word of mouth’ dream.

This week in Tech News we take a look at how online channels have facilitated ‘Olympic conversations’ and how brands are using technology to become a part of the conversation.

Global giant Coca Cola has led the way with a huge online content creation campaign named ‘Create My Beat’. The campaign allows users to create their own Olympics inspired music track featuring the sounds of participating athletes. Coke predicts the campaign will reach 1.5 billion people worldwide by the end of the London Games.

Clearly Coke have cottoned onto the ‘content is king’ strategy when it comes to social & WoM. By providing users with ‘shareable content’, Coke have nestled nicely into the centre of the billion or so Olympic conversations that have ensued.

Olympic social media reach – the stats

When you take a look at the stats, it’s hard to argue the fact that the 2012 Olympics has smashed all social media expectations, with a jump from 100 million Facebook users back in 2008 Olympics, to an incredible 900 million in 2012 so far and an increase from 6million Twitter followers in 2008, to 500 million followers in 2012.

Furthermore, Forrester predicts that social media will result in a massive 500 billion ‘peer influence impressions’ in 2012 – whether these impressions feature brands or not, is very much up for debate. Forrester’s Elliott said

“There will be many billions of social-media influences created by the Olympics, but brands will be just a fraction of the conversation.”

What is clear, is that people have embraced ‘social’ as an important channel through which to talk about the Olympics.

In my opinion P&G have quietly nailed it by engaging Olympic athletes to create videos pre-games, that demonstrate the special relationship they have with their moms. By playing in this highly emotional territory, they are creating 1) highly shareable content and 2) a lovely ‘feel good’ association between brand and consumer.

And the stats back it up – with P&G claiming their social-media efforts get up to 50% better results than one of their average TV spots.

Similarly, General Electric have embraced the ‘content is king’ strategy by developing an app that gives consumers the chance to gain access to advice from Olympic athletes. It goes without saying that there is an expectation that consumers will go on to share this content online (the campaign has been named ‘HealthyShare’).

What about offline conversations?

From a Word of Mouth (WoM) perspective, WoM research experts Keller Fay believe that Radian6 data is skewing ‘Olympics conversation’ results due to a focus on ‘online conversations’ only.

Keller Fay’s TalkTrack Britain study indicates that in-fact, over 30 million people are talking ‘daily’ about the Games, with a conservative estimate of 200 million weekly conversations – and that social media only represents 1 – 2% of buzz.

If you think about it – this makes sense. It’s pretty logical that most ‘online’ conversations are an extension of offline conversations.

Whether brands are plowing as much marketing investment into simulating ‘offline branded’ conversations as they are online conversations is debatable.

That said, I do believe an opportunity exists for those brands who can look beyond the hype of social conversations and to the humble ‘face to face’ conversation as a gateway into the lives of consumers.


Zoe Boalch

About Zoe Boalch

Zoë Boalch is co-founder of Contagious Agency. Zoë likes: hot chili, yoga, learning new stuff, positive people, taking risks Zoë dislikes: naysayers, grumpy people, rather large egos
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