This is a guest post by Ranjani Raghupathi from social media benchmarking company Unmetric, where she looks into the social media performance of teams and sponsoring brands during IPL7, by sourcing data from April 16, 2014 to June 1, 2014.
Chennai- The moment Piyush Chawla struck the final four in the last over of the finals, everyone knew KKR had become the second team to lift the IPL trophy more than once. Kings XI Punjab might have missed their maiden league victory but that doesn’t mean they failed to amaze, inspire and entertain cricket fans around the globe. Whether it was Glen Maxwell’s batting, Pravin Tambe’s hat-trick or Lendl Simmons’ century, each team brought their own offerings to the pitch.
In its latest report, Unmetric looks at the unforgettable social media moments from the seventh installment of the IPL, game wise and brand wise. Delving into the content from brands and teams, this report is a compilation of micro content and meaningful metrics that uncover real time social media excellence.
With three key divisions, the report looks at ten historic moments that occurred during season seven of the Indian Premier League, recognizes sponsors who engaged the best by leveraging the tournament, and awards the social trophy to a team that outperformed all others on social media. Unmetric looked at the social performances of all eight teams that were part of the IPL, and also measured the activities of the twelve major brands (viz. Aircel, Amazon India, SpiceJet, Idea Cellular, Kingfisher, McDowells, Nokia India, Pepsi India, Quikr, Vodafone India and YES Bank) that sponsored a team or the IPL itself.
Dive in and find out how brands and teams scored on the social pitch.
Moments from IPL 2014 that will go down in history
On April 16, the season kicked off in Abu Dhabi on the pitch with defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders winning against the Mumbai Indians. For the brands, the start of the tournament was marked by perennial IPL sponsor, Kingfisher, which posted an image on Facebook with players from seven teams. The post garnered over 96,000 Likes and was the brand’s most engaging post for the season.
When Glen Maxwell consistently racked up impressive scores for Kings XI Punjab in the first three matches, the team couldn’t hold their excitement back, and expressed it in a video series with the Australian player. This video, and the series, brought in the most views for the team’s YouTube channel. As the league progressed and we witnessed players in their best form, teams didn’t miss the opportunity to brag about it on social media. From Chris Lynn’s catch that motivated KKR to rejoice with #lynnsanity to Pravin Tambe’s hat-trick that Rajasthan Royals boasted about in a tweet, social celebrations were plenty. On Facebook, Chennai Super Kings even gracefully accepted defeat to KXIP in their final match, and earned our highest Engagement Score* of 1,000.
(*Engagement is the measure of audience responses to a brand’s content and activity on a social network. To calculate the engagement score, we weigh audience interactions on brand content such as Likes, Comments, Shares or Favorites, Replies and Retweets based on their importance. We then divide their weighted sum by our estimate of the number of brand fans and followers who actively receive and view such content.)
As for the brands, telecom provider Vodafone seized the IPL opportunity with very timely posts, or as it is now called, ‘Oreo Moment’ type posts during the IPL. Brands used social media to post updates like welcoming the IPL party back to India or appreciating Yusuf Pathan on his batting genius. Other brands like JustDial and SpiceJet put out IPL related content including puzzles and photo shoots with players and teams. Nokia used the final match as an opportunity to promote its phone with a contest that urged fans to wish KKR for the finals.
Brands of the Match
The IPL has been as much about the sponsoring brands as the teams. Classic campaigns like the Vodafone Zoozoos, Pepsi’s Oh Yes Abhi and Tata Sky’s Cold War were all conceived for the IPL, and remain benchmarks for success.
On Facebook, though brands with smaller communities find it easier to expand their fan bases fast, gathering the right audience is a task nonetheless. During the period of the IPL, YES Bank grew its Facebook fan base by 108% while the average IPL sponsor only saw a 4.7% growth. On Twitter, Amazon India amassed a large new following as it grew at a rate of 72%.
Vodafone Zoozoo’s page received an average engagement score of 236 while other IPL sponsors only scored 127. The brand page towers above the rest with timely content and high engagement.
YES Bank was the most talked about brand on Twitter. It was @-mentioned over 17,000 times in the 45 day period of the IPL. When it came to customer service on Twitter, Vodafone made over 6,000 replies (which is the most made by any IPL sponsor) while Kingfisher had the fastest fingers and replied to tweets in an average of three hours. Though brands created innumerable new hashtags for the IPL, only some caught on. Amazon India’s #amazonfanofthematch was the most popular hashtag with more than 9,000 uses, followed by Aircel’s #aircelhighflyer which was used in excess of 8,000 times.
On YouTube, there was a wall of visual content that was created with IPL in mind. Though Idea uploaded 78 new videos between 16th April and 1st June, curiously none of them were IPL related. An opportunity missed perhaps. On the other hand, all of Pepsi’s 22 uploads were centered on the IPL. However it was Vodafone’s channel that gained the most new views (over 14 million). The length of a video plays a key role in viewership especially since attention spans are shrinking. Quikr’s videos, like its brand ethos, were short and quick. They were an average of 16 seconds long while the average video from other IPL sponsors were 3 minutes long. However the 12 new videos only gave them a views growth rate of 0.7%.
“The breadth and diversity strategies and executions undertaken by the IPL sponsors shows that there is no “one size fits all” approach to social media marketing,” said Rick Liebling, Head of Global Marketing for Unmetric, and a veteran marketer who has helped brands like MasterCard, Gillette and Johnnie Walker leverage global sports sponsorships. “The key is understanding your unique business objectives and using the wealth of social media data to unlock strategies that will help you connect with your ideal audience.”
And the social trophy goes to…
With the variation in ratio of regular brand content versus IPL content, we couldn’t qualify a single brand as the trophy winner. As the earlier section details, we have pulled out brands that have excelled in certain metrics. Nevertheless, with IPL being their singular topic of conversations, we have a winner on the team front.
Last year, we took a look at how teams got social and engaged with fans, and found that Kolkata Knight Riders excelled in their overall social performance. Looks like not much has changed in the last year, whether it is a reflection of their IPL win or is a result of consistent social efforts, the title winners of the IPL are also the winners of Unmetric’s social trophy! The team had the highest Facebook engagement, replied to the most tweets on Twitter and also uploaded the most new videos to their YouTube channel. With such a rounded social presence, their social media win cannot go unnoticed.
Kings XI Punjab is coincidentally the runner up on social media as well. Apart from strengthening their team’s prowess, they also grew their social communities at the fastest rate when compared to all other teams.
Social media has played a pivotal role in brand campaigns as it did in viewers’ post-match discussion. Now that audiences are frequenting social networks and second screen proliferation is on the rise, there has never been a better time to embrace the digital medium.
Disclosure: Unmetric is an advertiser at Lighthouse Insights.