6 Brands That Saw Huge Digital Lifts During World Cup

Adidas, Visa and Listerine spill fútbol-generated stats

While mobile, social media and video were new territory to large companies during South Africa’s 2010 World Cup, four years later, digital played a major role in brands’ tournament-themed campaigns. Here is a look at how six brands (both official and nonofficial World Cup sponsors) fared with digital this year.

Adidas Is All Net

The World Cup sponsor racked up 5.8 million followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+ and YouTube for global and World Cup-specific accounts (like the @brazuca account that Adidas set up to tweet as the voice of the official 2014 FIFA World Cup ball), per research from Simply Measured.

Adidas is also pointing to research from Sysomos that claims the shoemaker brought in 1.59 million mentions on social media during the run of the World Cup. The number includes mentions of both the brand and World Cup phrases and hashtags across Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, blogs, forums and news sites. The bulk of those conversations—917,000—included the brand’s #allin hashtag. 

Budweiser Lifts Purchase Intent but Shows Social's Limits

Similar to Adidas, Budweiser laid out an ambitious social strategy in May with a Twitter Cards-powered tool as part of its FIFA Man of the Match campaign. Budweiser also bought Promoted Tweets to boost its presence on the social site.

Networked Insights found that the Anheuser Busch-owned beer was one of only a handful of marketers that increased purchase intent from a digital World Cup campaign.

The research company analyzed 710,823 social posts before and during the tournament. Of those posts, .0003 percent of the tweets from May 1 to June 10 specifically mentioned buying Budweiser, which are deemed more important in driving sales from social than simply calling out the brand's name. From June 11 to July 13 during the games, .0006 percent of tweets from a same-size sample showed intent to buy, representing a 112.4 percent increase.

In other words, even with all of those mentions, purchase intent was detectable just 426 times during the Cup for Bud. While brands run social media campaigns for many reasons—namely engagement and awareness—the numbers are still informative to marketers.

Coca-Cola Was UGC Champion

Coke relied heavily on user-generated content for its World Cup campaign. Once games began, the soda brand picked up some free buzz on mobile and social, according to findings from Ditto.

Ditto’s technology tallies the number of logos that popped up from photos posted on Twitter. Per its research, Coca-Cola appeared in 114,104 Twitter photos between June 1 and July 6.

What’s interesting is that these photos were not posted by Coke. Instead, the soda brand’s logo is either prominently displayed or in the background of an image.

Listerine Excelled en Español

The Johnson & Johnson brand set up a social newsroom before the tournament that focused on global posts published in real time and translated into Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese and Arabic.

Interestingly, Listerine and its agency, MRY, found that content targeted toward Spanish-speaking markets (including the tweet below) performed 20 percent better than the other languages.

Similarly, country-specific content paid off in terms of engagement. Content created specifically for Costa Rica and Argentina was some of the most retweeted and favorited Twitter material based on 50 different micro-segments Listerine tested against. The micro-segments helped the brand determine which types of messaging resonated with specific markets.

Video also played a major role for Listerine on Twitter. The brand tested a video Twitter Cards tool for some plays, resulting in all of the top-performing content including video.

On Facebook, the CPG brand enlisted custom audience buying for soccer fans, resulting in some of the highest-performing segments.

Nike Gets a Kick Out of Huge View Rates

Although not an official World Cup sponsor, Nike enlisted digital to inch in on competitor Adidas’ expensive media buy.

In June, the athletic brand reported that its #RiskEverything campaign generated 6 billion impressions across social, mobile, Web, TV, gaming, cinema and out-of-home media. 

In terms of video, Nike was the most viewed World Cup marketer, according to findings from Visible Measures, which tracked 97 campaigns.

Nike released eight video campaigns during the World Cup for 240.6 million views, topping Samsung with 124,374,254 views and Adidas’ 90,314,729 views.

Visa Scores With Video

Digital makes up 30 percent of Visa’s global marketing spend, and the company made an especially heavy video push to activate its World Cup sponsorship this year.

World Cup-themed videos were viewed more than 75 million times, generating 100 million actions, which included social shares. In total, Visa’s digital activations generated 1.7 billion impressions, besting its goal of 1.2 billion.

The financial giant says that 834 clients (including merchants and banks) across 104 markets used Visa’s World Cup rights to create promotions and branded materials, up significantly from 2010’s 597 clients in 65 markets.

Meanwhile, data firm Tableau put together the following multimedia infographic that lets viewers see some brands' hashtag successes throughout the World Cup. With a few cursor-based maneuvers, you can adjust to see the marketers' impact by the day.

@laurenjohnson lauren.johnson@adweek.com Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.