Alex Littlejohn
Jul 24, 2015

Moving the goalpost in sports

Alex Littlejohn of Amobee provides an inside look at social-media activity around Singtel's sponsorship of the recent SEA Games, along with advice for all brands looking to make the most of sports sponsorships.

Alex Littlejohn
Alex Littlejohn

The 28th Southeast Asian Games, known as the SEA Games, was a memorable 12-day sport experience bringing together communities from 11 countries, athletes competing in 402 events, and 40 sponsoring brands. More than 174,000 people attended the games, which spanned 36 categories. Opening Night attracted over 54,000 people. All together, the SEA Games generated the largest amount of press coverage any sporting event in Singapore has ever achieved, making it also one of the year’s best digital marketing opportunities too.

The SEA Games is a prime example where marketers could further engage audiences in real time, utilising 'war rooms' to activate media and amplify a brand’s presence among its target audience.

In a war room scenario, marketers collaborate with clients and partners ready to respond to goals, decisions, mistakes and trends as they happen based on actionable data and insights. It allows teams to create strategic digital content and drive engagement based on in-the-moment activity.

Advances in technology are allowing the marketing and advertising industries to move forward and adopt a war room mindset for everyday practice—incorporating new digital solutions, marketing tools and dashboards with an agile infrastructure to make real-time media activation efficient and effective.

During the evening of the SEA Games Opening Ceremony, when digital content consumption was at its peak (19,000 social mentions on 5 June), Amobee and Singtel operated a war room to inform both owned and paid media efforts.

Digital content consumption around the hashtag #InspiringSG increased by 5,700 per cent during the Opening Ceremony with an average engagement rate of 11.14 per cent, which is almost four times higher than the 3 per cent industry benchmark for the telecommunications category.

Additionally, ads around Singtel’s TV Go just before the Opening Ceremony achieved engagement rates of 6.15 per cent, proving that the right media mix fueled by real-time insights generates higher return on ad spending.

On Twitter the engagement rate started at 5.5 per cent before the opening ceremony and went up to 14.41 per cent as the ceremony progressed, representing an increase of 260 per cent in less than four hours.

The highest engagement rate during the ceremony took place when Nila, the SEA Games mascot, made an entrance. Engagement rates for those Twitter ads were at 21.8 per cent at the highest peak showing consumers passion points are something brands should consider focusing their media strategy around.

The Singtel example shows that war rooms are an important aspect of real time marketing and data-driven decision-making. Driving media activation based on real-time information and insights is the now and the future of digital marketing. The evolving nature of consumer engagement has made it critical for marketers to keep up with multi-screen behavior and the immediacy that consumers have come to expect.

Whether we are talking about a football final, the Singapore Grand Prix or the SEA Games, it should be at the top of marketers’ minds to think real-time, and use war rooms in order to create content that demonstrates the positive side of sporting events.

By responding live to events using paid and owned media, in an effective way, marketers can have a significant impact on brand communities that inspire greater levels of engagement than might be able to be achieved in digital campaigns which do not consider the “always on” nature of their audience.

Digital content and data has provided us with the ability to better understand when, where and how to deliver content, closing the feedback loop between consumers and brands that result in actionable brand insights, enhancing digital campaigns and providing a marketing roadmap for the future.

As with all great digital developments, it should be noted that we cannot rely on technology alone. The human element is just as important, which is why a war room experience can be so insightful. The right team and knowledge to deliver real time insight is a critical part of effective marketing. By adopting a war room mentality, marketers will see major improvements in their performance by leveraging data-driven strategies and activation.

Alex Littlejohn is senior vice president, APAC, for Amobee


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