This is how strategic marketing success feels

#WorldCup: Does leveraging global Twitter trends work?

Marketers have always jumped on the bandwagon of global Twitter trends, but the efficacy of doing so has remained unclear. Does riding trending global hashtags actually increase engagement? Is it really strategic marketing?

With #WorldCup at full throttle in Twitterville, we took a cue from Sherlock and did some detective work.

The Experiment

Step one, we selected 18 companies of varying sizes, social media presences, and customer bases to follow. The companies ranged from regional favorites, like Café Coffee Day, a well-loved coffee chain in India, to global conglomerates, like Emirates, a global airline.

Next, we had to select a control group time period (May 16-May 22, a non-World Cup fortnight), as a baseline, and a test group time period (June 16- June 22, a World Cup fortnight). For the control group time period, we looked at all tweets by each company, while for the test group time period we only looked at #WorldCup related tweets.

The Data

We gathered intel, took notes, and crunched in the numbers. We broke down the lift ( the percentage difference in engagement from the May week to the June week) by brand, and here is what we found:

#WorldCup strategic marketing ROI

(Note: Castrol’s literal, “off the chart” lift of 21960% was left off due to its atmosphere shattering skew.)

As you can see from the graph above, only 8 out of 18 companies had positive lifts:

Strategic Marketing Success!

What does this tell us?

Not all global Twitter trend engagement is created equal.

The Truth

What did these 8 companies do to reign in global Twitter trends to their advantage vs other social media marketing giants, like say Pepsi (-92%)?

Armed with our new data, we went back and re-reviewed Twitter feeds. We found companies fell under two umbrellas:

Companies with negative lift, all 10 of them, sent out poorly planned, half-gusto #WorldCup tweets that didn’t give interested #WorldCup twitterers what they wanted. On average, this lackluster “strategic” marketing decreased their Twitter engagement by 47%.

Take our good friend, McDonald’s:

The tweet is too obviously self-serving–making it hard for non-BigMac lovers to identify with and feel compelled to share. Based on our twitter analysis, this tweet saw -80% the engagement of a normal McDonald’s tweet. Making this tweet a big whopper of a folly. Truth #1: Go big or go home. Halfway doesn’t cut it. The 8 companies with positive lift, on the other hand, were insightful, well-timed, and still brand-relevant while leveraging #WorldCup. On average, they saw an increase in engagement of 279%!

For instance, Castrol:

For a brand who normally has less favorites and retweets (combined) than you can count on two hands, Castrol knocked it out of the park by tapping into what #WorldCup audiences truly want, football. They timed their tweets according to up-to-date game information, and utilized a popular brand ambassador. With 21,960% lift, no one can deny the accuracy behind Castrol #WorldCup strategic marketing.

Truth #2: Give ‘em what they want and you’ll get what you need.

The Takeaway

So, marketer, how can you harness the power of global Twitter trends?

1. Be informed.
You can’t fake authentic knowledge. The best tweets capitalize on nuances (i.e. Luis Suarez chomping away) and not just the general concept (otherwise, you might strike the wrong tone). Commit to staying on top of your global Twitter trend.

2. Be timely. Be clever. Be brand-relevant.
Just look at Castrol.

3. Be on guard.
Sometimes, the best ideas come from your fans- so keep listening and see if they’re making a connection you’re missing. Seize those opportunities and then show them some brand love!

And just remember,

Tim Howard can save a lot of things

What You Can Do Now

Start strategic marketing today!

[Header image courtesy of Getty Images; Originally posted at ABCNews]