IPL 2013 has attracted intense coverage of hundreds of crores being spent by brands on capturing the attention of cricket fans watching 54 days of crick-entertainment. More money means higher competition among brands vying for the already declining attention span of the modern consumer. While television has been the primary media vehicle, brands have wisely tried to leverage the digital audience and integrate it with their entire marketing communication .The research team at Drizzlin, looked at major brands advertising in IPL 2013 and analyzed the performance of these brands on Facebook during the first week of IPL 2013.

On Facebook, the  telecom sector was the most dominant with Tata Docomo, Vodafone ZooZoos and Samsung Mobile having the highest number of overall fans. On an average, the top 3 brands had more than 9.8+ million fans till the end of first week of IPL 2013. On the downside, the growth in the number of fans was limited. Before the IPL 2013 began, the average number of fans on Facebook for 23 brands advertising during IPL 2013 in the study was 2.03 million and the overall growth restricted to only 2.66%.

Looking at Facebook engagement metrics measured by people talking about a brand, Vodafone ZooZoos, OLX, Pepsi, Tata Docomo, and Panasonic featured in the top 5 brands. Pepsi and Cadbury Dairy Milk performed the best when it came to percentage increase in engagement, with growth in the number of people talking about the brand on Facebook in excess of 300%.This growth was primarily because of an intensely focused strategy around IPL.

From the perspective of digital strategy, we find two distinctly important trends.

  • Firstly, the limited growth in the number of fans shows a divergence from a number -obsessed strategy of gaining fans to a more engagement driven strategy. This can in part be attributed to the low returns of investment that brands can achieve if they focus on growing their Facebook fans. Growth in the number of Facebook fans for these brands will to some extent, be determined and capped by the growth of active Indian Facebook users.
  • Secondly, engagement is an important metric considering its impact on word of mouth and its underutilized nature. Even for Pepsi, which shows an engagement growth in excess of 400%;the number of people talking about the brand is close to 7.85% of its total Facebook fans. This is a good number for engagement since previously among top 900 Facebook pages ranked on the number of fans, highest engagement levels registered have been below 15%.

What it indicates for big brands, is a huge opportunity for engagement driven by a sound, research-driven content strategy that integrates seamlessly with their marketing communication strategy.

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