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Olympic sponsors on Twitter – week 2 leaderboard

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Welcome to another installment in our coverage of the 2012 London Olympics on Twitter. Last week, we posted the Sponsor Leaderboard, looking at how the official sponsors of the games had performed on Twitter after week 1 of the games.

We started tracking mentions of the 11 worldwide Olympic sponsors’ official Twitter usernames when the Olympics began, and now after two weeks of tweeting, how are they stacking up?

McDonald’s continues to lead the pack with almost 29,000 tweets mentioning them since the games began. But, look out for Coca-Cola, who has come from behind this week to surpass Team Visa and grab the silver medal place for now. Also notable, Procter & Gamble, who moved from eighth to sixth place with a 240% increase in tweets and a 29% increase in followers over the past week.

With only a few more days of Olympic activity, who will win the gold for Olympic sponsor Twitter activity? Stay tuned to find out! And, if you are interested in doing your own analysis of Olympics tweets, we’d be happy to help. Just let us know!

Check out the results below. Click the image for the full-sized version.

Written by Dean Cruse

August 10th, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Posted in Olympics,Trends

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Ambush marketing at the Olympics – what does Twitter say?

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Continuing on our Olympics theme, last week we took a look at how the official worldwide Olympic sponsors were performing on Twitter with our Olympic Sponsor Leaderboard. Over $1 billion has been invested by sanctioned companies to sponsor the games and the International Olympic Committee has been adamant in cracking down on ambush marketing at these games. The rules are clear – if you’re not an official sponsor, then don’t try to advertise using any connection to the Olympics. The London Organizing Committee and the British Parliament have even criminalized ambush tactics with fines of up to $30,000 or more according to the New York Times. With “brand police” actively searching out rogue advertisers who haven’t ponied up what in some cases is close to $100 million each, how are non-sponsors taking advantage of Twitter over these few weeks to rise above the Olympic social media noise?

We took a look at the Twitter activity around four of the official Olympic sponsors and compared them to their main competitors who are not official sponsors. We tracked all mentions of the official Twitter usernames for each of the brands from July 27th through August 8th. The high level results are below. If you’re interested in more detailed analysis of the Olympics, just let us know!

To start, we looked at Adidas, an official sponsor of the Olympics and compared them to Nike, who surprising to many, is not a sponsor. Instead of spending the money to sponsor the Olympics, Nike instead has focused its efforts on its #findgreatness campaign featuring the Find Your Greatness video and TV spot highlighting aspiring athletes in cities named London from around the world (excluding the one in Great Britain). That video has now seen in excess of 4.4 million views on YouTube and continues to climb. Of course, many of Olympic athletes are sponsored by Nike (have you seen the yellow shoes?), but even with the subtle brand awareness afforded by these efforts, Adidas has used the Olympics to their advantage and outperformed Nike in terms of Twitter engagement. Since the Olympics began, Adidas has seen 50% more tweets than Nike and 100% more retweets from only 5% more Twitter users who mention them. Advantage: Sponsor Adidas.

Next up, beverages. Coca-Cola, an official sponsor of the Olympics for decades has performed quite well on Twitter this year, and was ranked 3rd in our Sponsor Leaderboard last week. Pepsi, not a sponsor of the games, has not focused on the Olympics at all, instead concentrating their Twitter promotional efforts on Summer music with their #pepsimusicnow campaign. With that and their other non-Olympic efforts, total tweets about Pepsi since the beginning of the Olympics are 62% higher than those mentioning Coke. Pepsi has seen significantly higher engagement on Twitter with almost 3x the number of replies to their tweets than Coke and 37% more Twitter users mentioning them.

Of course, follower count may have something to do with this. Pepsi has seen a 41% increase in Twitter followers over the past 3 months preceding the Olympics and now sits at over 1 million followers compared to an 8% growth in followers for Coke. Advantage: Non-sponsor Pepsi.

Moving on to fast food, long-time Olympic sponsor McDonald’s has topped rival Burger King in terms of Twitter engagement with almost 10x the tweets since the Olympics began. McDonald’s, who held first place in our Sponsor Leaderboard last week, beat Burger King in virtually every aspect of Twitter activity including tweets, retweets, replies, and Twitter users mentioning them. Burger King’s Twitter efforts over the period of the Olympics has been focused on promoting their menu items without targeting a specific campaign effort. Perhaps their strategy has been to sit it out and let the Olympic storm blow over? Their one attempt to subtly mention the games resulted in a grammatically-challenged tweet. Advantage: Sponsor McDonald’s.

Finally, we took a look at financial services. Team Visa, an official Olympic sponsor, created a new Twitter username especially for the games and has used it to their advantage to promote their sponsorship. Despite having 3x the followers on Twitter, rival Mastercard’s participation on Twitter has been dwarfed by Team Visa in every aspect of Twitter engagement. Rather than focus on the Olympics, Mastercard has instead focused its social media efforts on promoting the #dineoutday campaign, a fund raising event targeted to raise money to fund cancer research. While a great cause, in terms of Twitter engagement over the past few weeks, advantage: Sponsor Team Visa.

Overall, three of the four sponsors we tracked significantly out-performed their competitors in terms of Twitter engagement since the Opening Ceremonies on July 27th. Only Pepsi, with their massive Twitter effort, beat out Coke based on our Twitter tracking data. Of course, Twitter is but one part of a marketing campaign and these companies are spending millions of dollars outside of social media to promote their brands. And, some surveys indicate that consumers don’t even know who is sponsoring the Olympics. But, in terms of Twitter engagement specifically during the Olympic games, the sponsors’ investments seem to be paying off when compared to their direct competitors.

Written by Dean Cruse

August 8th, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Olympic sponsors race for the gold on Twitter

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We hope you’re enjoying our series of posts about the 2012 Olympics on Twitter. Next up, we take a look at how the official sponsors of the games are performing. Some of them, such as Coca-Cola, have supported the Olympics for decades. Coke first got involved in 1928 when a freighter delivered the United States team and 1,000 cases of Coca-Cola to the Olympic Games in Amsterdam. McDonald’s famously airlifted hamburgers to homesick American athletes in Grenoble in 1968. Other sponsors are newer, having joined since The Olympic Partners program was first introduced in 1985.

While not without controversy, the monetary effect of the sponsors on the games is massive. Olympic sponsors, partners, supporters, suppliers, and providers have invested well over $1 billion in the 2012 games. How’s that investment paying off? Clearly, these companies will measure results through increases in brand awareness, athlete mentions, and revenue. But in this, the first Twitter Olympics, how are they performing on our favorite social media network?

We’ve been tracking mentions of the 11 worldwide Olympic sponsors’ official Twitter usernames since the Olympics began, and the results for first week are below. So far, McDonald’s leads the pack with more tweets, users, and retweets mentioning them. But, Team Visa is close on their heals and relative to their smaller follower count, is outperforming them all. Click the image for the full-sized version.

We’ll take another look at the leaderboard at the end of week two. And, look for more detailed analysis about the sponsors on Twitter after the games have completed. Interested in doing your own analysis of Olympics tweets? Just let us know!

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Written by Dean Cruse

August 3rd, 2012 at 9:39 am

Posted in Olympics,Trends

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#NBCFail: Should NBC broadcast the Olympics with a tape delay?

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The 2012 Summer Olympics kicked off a few days ago. These are the first Olympic games where Twitter will play a significant role in both audience and athlete participation; publications like Mashable are even touting these Olympics as the “first real-time games”. But if you live in the United States, you already know just how “real-time” the London 2012 Olympics have been. As an example, NBC opted to tape-delay their broadcast of Friday’s Opening Ceremony, starting the US East Coast broadcast at 7:30 p.m. EDT, three and a half hours after the event actually started in London. In an age of Twitter and other real-time social media, this kind of time delay presents a big challenge for fans and a missed opportunity for networks. Live television is more relevant now than it has been in years – and tape delays are increasingly irrelevant and even detrimental.

Twitter and Live TV

While most types of television benefit from the sense of urgency engendered by real-time social media, two kinds of shows have become essential to watch in real time. The first are shows that rely on audience participation throughout each episode, like American Idol and other reality shows where folks at home call in their votes to determine which contestants continue on.

The others are the cliffhanger-heavy, high drama shows with reveals galore, like ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars. If you don’t tune in when the show is originally broadcast, then you risk hearing about the ending before you see it. Twitter should come with a giant “spoiler alert” label on it.

Sporting events fall into this second category – televised events that must be watched live to prevent spoilers. Can you imagine watching the Super Bowl a few hours after it originally aired? It would be nearly impossible to avoid learning which team won. The Olympics should probably fall into this category, right? Right?!

Twitter, TV and the 2012 Olympic Games

Of course it’s complicated to consider myriad time zones and a large global audience. And it gets even more complicated when you throw in Twitter, which allows people from around the world to share their thoughts with anyone at any time. To help deal with these complexities, NBC, the only US broadcast television network with the rights to air the Olympics, has opted to time-delay their airing of some events, while others air in real time.

This time delay has led to confusion and countless spoilers, like last Saturday when the results of the men’s swimming 400 medley competition was announced on NBC’s Nightly News program, even though the event itself hadn’t been broadcast on NBC yet! Of course this has led to numerous articles about how to avoid Olympic spoilers on Twitter, as well as an angry backlash online, with hashtags like #NBCfail emerging as Olympic fans plead with NBC to air more events live. There are even parody Twitter accounts poking fun at the time delay. @NBCDelayed popped up over the weekend and has already generated thousands of retweets. 

So, are people watching less of NBC’s coverage because of this? Well… Maybe not. Not yet, at least.

Nielsen ratings were actually up for Friday’s broadcast of the Opening Ceremony, with an average of 40.7 million viewers tuning in. That is higher than the 2008 Opening Ceremony in Beijing (34.9 million) and the 1996 Opening Ceremony in Atlanta (39.7 million).

Overall, there were 6.3 million tweets posted about the Olympics during the Opening Ceremony on Friday (during the UK and US broadcasts of the event, lasting from 20:00 UTC on July 27, 2012 until 07:00 UTC on July 28, 2012). Here’s the tweets per minute breakdown for the full time period. The biggest spike of about 29K tweets per minute happened 48 minutes in the live show, at 20:48 UTC, right around the time Mr. Bean started conducting the London Symphony Orchestra (a phrase I never thought I’d type).

In 2008, Twitter was very different than it is today. It was much smaller, and far less tied to pop culture and television than it is now. So a comparison to 2008 Olympic tweets probably won’t help us understand the 2012 Olympics games very much. However, comparing tweets posted during the different Opening Ceremony broadcasts can tell us something. 3.85 million tweets were posted during live performance (UK time) and 2.35 million tweets were posted during US East Coast broadcast on NBC. Since NBC started their broadcast 3.5 hours into the live performance, there is some overlap between the two telecasts (from approximately 23:30 – 00:00 UTC). The chart below highlights the four hours of the Opening Ceremony from both the live and tape-delayed perspectives. 

There is large decrease in tweets during the US broadcast compared to the live broadcast. But if much of the rest of the world was watching when the Opening Ceremony was performed live, then US tweet volume wouldn’t really be able to compete with that. Approximately one-third of Twitter accounts are from the United States, so it’s reasonable to expect the kinds of volume numbers we see above. These certainly aren’t the numbers we’d expect if American viewers simply boycotted the program.

On the other hand, the Opening Ceremony aired on Friday night, marking the official start of the 2012 Olympic games. People simply hadn’t had time to become irritated and fed up with the time delay yet, so lots of people watched. If there really is general support to move away from tape-delayed broadcasts, it will likely take a few days to emerge in the Olympics data. So for now, we’ll keep watching it.

Tape delays are not only irrelevant, but they’re actually damaging fan participation and goodwill. It’s time NBC – and other networks who insist on time delays for their live televised programs – start to work with the evolving model of real-time social television instead of around it.

Written by Jenn D

July 30th, 2012 at 6:30 pm

The 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony in tweets

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On Friday during the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony, 6.32 million tweets were posted from 2.65 million unique Twitter accounts* about the London Olympic games. Click the image below for the full size version.

The most retweeted tweet of the night was from @TeamGB, which received more than 30,000 retweets. The most buzzed about country was the United States, the most buzzed about athlete was British diver Tom Daley, and the most buzzed about sponsor was Samsung. The #openingceremony hashtag was used in more than 873,000 tweets.

As we continue to track tweets about the 2012 London Olympics over the next two weeks, we’ll be posting lots more Olympics Twitter analyses. So check back soon for more!

*These tweets were collected from 20:00 UTC July 27 through 07:00 UTC July 28, to include the live UK broadcast of the opening ceremony, as well as the time-delayed East and West Coast US broadcasts of the event.

Written by Jenn D

July 30th, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Olympics,Trends

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Broadcast TV is realizing that customers come first

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This is a guest post by TweetReach Pro customer and all-around smart guy Evan Hamilton, Community Manager at UserVoice

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending the Lithium Network Conference. I heard a lot of great talks by leaders in community. But the most interesting speech was by Chris Blandy, SVP of Digital Media at FOX. He said something that stood out to me (paraphrased):

We’ve traditionally been a B2B company, but in the social media ere we’re having to become a B2C company. It’s a huge, important shift for us.

Here’s the thing: traditional broadcast media has always been a B2C business. Sure, you’re selling ads to businesses. That’s how you make money. But in order to do that, you have to make a successful B2C product: a network of television shows people want to watch.

It’s understandable that this has been unclear. When FOX launched they were only the FOURTH broadcast television network. Sure, they had to compete on programming, but only with three other networks. They could put a show on, and as long as it didn’t tank, they could focus on courting advertisers and making sure the content matched what they wanted, in content and format.

Today there are more than 20 broadcast television networks… not to mention lots of cable networks and web content. And their fans are audible, filling social networks, blogs, and fan sites with comments about the network. The entertainment industry can no longer assume they will have viewers. They need to focus on the real customers they always had: the viewers.

To FOX’s credit, they seem to be refocusing wholeheartedly. Chris used American Idol as the prime example of this. They’re building social spaces for fans to chat (one of the top posts on the forum is a criticism of a judge’s harsh words to an Idol contestant). They’re also building opportunities for their fans to continue to consume content, even between broadcasts, such as their live Twitter Q&A sessions with former Idol stars. And, in a big move for a company that would normally rely on Nielsen ratings, they’re measuring social media buzz while an event is on air (and off) and bringing that into their decision-making process.

But let’s be clear: it’s not about social making customers suddenly important. They’ve always been important. But as relative monopolies disappear and it becomes harder to hide from what they’re saying, broadcast media going to have to focus on their viewers with more intensity. This means not only listening, but acting on their feedback and keeping the relationship going beyond the 1-hour time slot. If you can master this, the advertisers will come.

Evan Hamilton is Community Manager at UserVoice, makers of modern, easy, web-based customer service help desk software. He writes frequently about focusing on your customers on the UserVoice blog. When he finds free time, he plays rollicking americana music at Kicking Tuesday.

Written by Jenn D

May 16th, 2012 at 10:42 am

Posted in Trends

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Twitter and the election: Revisiting predictions

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When the 2012 United States Republican presidential primaries and caucuses began back in January, we took a look at whether Twitter activity could be used as a predictor of the elections. We started tracking all tweets that mentioned any of a candidate’s Twitter accounts (personal and campaign) and based on the Twitter activity coming out of the Iowa caucuses, we saw that Twitter activity was less an indicator of the outcome, and more a reflection of the overall conversation happening around the candidate. Reach, exposure, and activity were largely driven by mentions by popular news and media accounts, many of which have significant numbers of followers and retweets.

Since January, the Twitter activity on the candidates has been staggering – some of the largest reach and exposure we’ve ever tracked, with over 8 million tweets from hundreds of thousands of contributors. These contributors reached more than 120 million unique Twitter accounts and generated almost 22 billion impressions.

Right before the Super Tuesday primaries in March, we launched the TweetReach Republican Primary Tracker which looked at the relationship between what people say on Twitter and what they do at the polls.  In the visualization, we mapped the number of unique Twitter users talking about a candidate to the y-axis, polling results to the x-axis, and tweet volume to the circle radius.

While, based on our previous analysis, we did not believe Twitter conversations could predict winners, we thought it would be interesting to see what tweets can tell us about how potential voters feel about the candidates. The visualizer confirmed that despite a candidate’s tweet volume, reach, and exposure on Twitter, these data were not a good predictor of election results. They are, however, a great way to understand how popular dialogue about a candidate translates into Twitter conversation.

Today, with Rick Santorum bowing out of the race, we took another look and found that Twitter conversation about Santorum had been relatively quiet since Super Tuesday but, as expected, spiked with today’s news as people came out of the woodwork to Tweet about the candidate.

In fact, a full 21% of Rick Santorum’s exposure since Super Tuesday (over 368 million impressions) occurred today after the announcement. When viewed with the TweetReach Republican Primary Tracker, the impact of the conversation around Santorum’s departure is even more pronounced.

We look forward to tracking the upcoming full election. In the meantime, we’d love to know what you think!

Written by Dean Cruse

April 10th, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Twitter and the Polls: Tracking the Republican Primaries with TweetReach

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Here in the United States, we’re right in the middle of the Republican primaries as the country tries to decide who the GOP nominee for President will be in our election later this year. One of the more interesting conversations around the 2012 Presidential election is the relationship between what people say on Twitter and what they do at the polls. Can we use Twitter conversations to predict election winners? Or, if they can’t predict results, what can tweets tell us about how potential voters feel about the candidates?

With Super Tuesday approaching and the GOP candidate field still wide open, we’ve been tracking tweets about the six top candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination since January 1 – Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. From those tweets, we built an interactive visualization of how Twitter talks about the GOP candidates, and how that relates to poll numbers over time.

Check out our interactive Republican primary Twitter tracker here or click on the screenshot below.

To create this visualization, we’re using a set of TweetReach Pro Trackers to track Twitter conversation about each of the candidates, along with our API to update the visualization daily. In the visualization, we’ve mapped the number of unique Twitter users talking about a candidate to the y-axis, polling results to the x-axis, and tweet volume to the circle radius. Polling data is from RealClearPolitics.

Written by Jenn D

March 5th, 2012 at 11:55 am

Posted in Events,Trends

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A night at the Oscars: What did Twitter think about the 2012 Academy Awards?

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The 84th annual Academy Awards were held this weekend. As we’ve seen in years past, Twitter has a lot to say about the Academy Award winners, losers (non-winning nominees?), and the show in general.

This year, we tracked tweets about the Oscars – more than 2 million of them - throughout the show’s broadcast on Sunday, February 26, 2012, and collected them in our Academy Awards Twitter Explorer. Click around the explorer to see when tweets were posted about nominees in six of the main categories, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress. Or, read on for our take on what Twitter thought of the 2012 Academy Awards.

Twitter’s top ten favorite Oscar 2012 moments were, in order:

  1. Cirque du Soleil performance. The audience seemed entranced by the acrobatic dancers, and so did Twitter.
  2. Octavia Spencer wins Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Help. She even got a standing ovation!
  3. Hugo wins for Best Visual Effects. And a bunch of other awards too, but this category generated the most tweets.
  4. Meryl Streep wins Best Actress for The Iron Lady. This is a bit of surprise, as many expected Viola Davis to win this category. Regardless, Meryl is lovely and thanks her hairdresser.
  5. The Artist wins Best Picture. No surprise whatsoever here. And everyone loves Uggie the dog.
  6. Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell present Best Original Song award to Bret McKenzie for The Muppets. Bret’s work in Flight of the Conchords makes him popular on Twitter. Not to mention, Zach and Will are pretty funny guys.
  7. Christopher Plummer wins Best Supporting Actor. At 82, he’s only two years younger than the Oscars themselves.
  8. Jennifer Lopez and her possible wardrobe malfunction. Was that a shadow or something else? Twitter seems to think it was not a shadow.
  9. Jean Dujardin wins Best Actor for The Artist. Another unsurprising win. Jean seems tickled to have won, and thanks the audience in French during his speech.
  10. Angelina Jolie presents Best Adapted Screenplay to The Descendants. Angie’s provocative pose and its subsequent imitation by Jim Rash (another Twitter favorite because of his role on Community) got a big laugh.

During the three-hour awards show, we tracked 2.05 million tweets about the Oscars, with the biggest spike at 18,718 tweets in one minute (during the Cirque du Soleil performance). These numbers are up quite a bit from last year, when the 2011 Oscars garnered 1.27 million tweets and a maximum spike of 11,780 tweets per minute.

The nominees with the most Twitter mentions during the show were:

  1. Meryl Streep – 74,793 tweets
  2. Octavia Spencer – 59,957
  3. Christopher Plummer – 41,107
  4. Jean Dujardin – 23,614
  5. Rooney Mara – 23,233
  6. Brad Pitt – 18,702
  7. Viola Davis – 17,651
  8. Woody Allen – 14,280
  9. George Clooney – 13,252
  10. Martin Scorsese – 11,328

The top three films nominated for Best Picture, by tweet volume:

  1. Hugo – 110,179 tweets
  2. The Artist – 78,509
  3. The Help – 23,585

For more information about our interactive explorer, read this blog post about how and what we tracked.

Written by Jenn D

February 26th, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Posted in Events,Trends

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What did Twitter say about the 2012 Academy Awards? Here’s a sneak peek!

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Want to know what Twitter talked about during this year’s Academy Awards broadcast? We’ve been tracking Oscars tweets live and have prepared a cool visualization of those tweets so you can see – as it happened – which Oscar-nominated movies, actors and directors Twitter is talking about throughout the show! Click here or on the image below to see the tweets. Read on for more about how and what we’re tracking.

We tracked all tweets about the 84th Academy Awards during the awards show broadcast from 8:30 p.m. EST through 11:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, February 26, 2012. This includes uses of the #Oscars hashtag, @TheAcademy Twitter account, and any general mentions of the Oscars or Academy Awards.

You can drill into tweets about nominees for the following six Oscar categories:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Best Director

The large, colorful stream graph shows how many tweets are posted about each nominee every minute, grouped by award category. You can use the navigation bar at the top to change from one category to another. And you can scroll across the graph to see minute-by-minute details for that category. The smaller gray graph at the bottom shows overall Oscars-related tweet volume.

After the show, we posted our full analysis of Oscar night’s most buzzed-about people and events.

Written by Jenn D

February 26th, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Posted in Events,Trends

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