World Cup $6000 Per Mention Must Surely Pop Social's Bubble?

Was it all worth it? That massive spend on sponsorship and supporting advertising and social budget. Was it all worth it?

That's the question a lot of brands will be asking now the world's attention has turned away from Brazil and the stars and flops of the World Cup go back to their domestic clubs to earn more in a month than their home fans will likely see in a year or two.

Those who didn't sponsor the competition will obviously have a pretty easy sum to do in their head. Having avoided spending the millions to be an official partner, taking part in football conversations around the World Cup, posting a funny picture relating to Suarez's actions and generally getting excited about the big games is a simple no brainer. With thousands of shares and retweets to be had just for the cost of a marketing executive watching the games and posting in real-time, it has to have been worth it.

It's a very different question for the mega brands who have forked out undisclosed sums to be associated with the competition and use its imagery and trademarked terms to let the public know they are an official partner or sponsor.

It's made all the more difficult because different social media analysts will come up with different views. 

To Simply Measured, Adidas was the big winner with just shy of a million uses of its #allin hashtag, To SocialBakers the big winner was Coca-Cola with an additional 2.5m Facebook fans, taking it to a following of 85m and 70,000 Twitter followers, taking it to a total of 26m.

First off, those Twitter fans must be spread across multiple accounts for different countries because the main Coke feed is currently registering 2.5m followers.

Secondly, that doesn't sound like a lot of extra Twitter followers, does it? Given that Coca-Cola is a partner, like Visa and Adidas, rather than a second tier 'sponsor', such as McDonald's, it means the fizzy beverage company has likely paid around between $100m to $200m over the past four years for the right to be so highly associated with the competition. Partners are believed to pay between $25m to $50m per year, whereas sponsors pay between $10m to $25m, according to Forbes.

That, of course, doesn't contribute a penny to ad spending, just the right to mention and feature the competition in their advertising. In the previous World Cup year of 2010, it's believed Coca-Cola spent just under $3bn on global advertising, so it's fair to say it probably spent at least that amount, likely more, in 2014.

So, with that sort of budget being banded about, the company may certainly have a question mark over only picking up an additional 70,000 twitter followers, while an additional 2.5m Facebook fans could be considered ok, Facebook's algorithm changes means it will likely only be guaranteed to reach an additional 200,000 ish Facebook users automatically. Suddenly, the investment seems a little less vindicated.

BrandChannel.com has looked at the cost of sponsorship per mention in social media and, I have to say, the figures don't look great. Top of the list comes McDonalds which got 2.7m social mentions at around $6.48 per mention, or roughly two Big Mac macs. Budweiser was a little less impressive with a mention costing around $91 or 11 beers. 

Bottom of the heap, though, based on reported and estimated budgets come Visa and Chinese solar panel manufacturer Yingli - both sponsors of the World Cup. I've no idea how accurate BrandChannel's figures are but they estimate each paid a staggering $6000 per mention.

Now, these figures almost certainly need to come with the proviso that brands achieved other goals with their partner and sponsor budgets but, even so, the disparity from one brand to another and the huge cost per positive social outcome are surely warning sirens something needs addressing?

I have no hesitation in saying that, if accurate, even the most gullible social 'guru' out there would have to say if you need to pay $6000 to get a single person to mention you, compared to $6 for McDonalds, you're not exactly getting much of an ROI


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