Even as brands are spending big money for on-air campaigns to leverage the IPL, they are also utilizing the social medium to improve engagement with consumers.
According to data by Meltwater, IPL season 9 has already overtaken season 8 in terms of total online conversations for the same period last year.
Twitter and Facebook have emerged as the two main platforms for brands to engage with consumers online and a number of brands are making use of these platforms.
"After a successful partnership at the previous IPL edition where more than 29 million people engaged on Facebook, now for the first time this season, IPL fans can support their favourite teams by adding exclusive frames, something that fans have already done more that 7.5 million times so far. People will also have an opportunity to express their support through exciting features like dedicated prompts featuring an all new custom icon to let their friends know they're watching the game. With Facebook Live, fans are able to get closer to the action than ever before and on match days fans can watch videos and see images directly from the stadium and relive key moments from the IPL Facebook page and Instagram accounts,” says Asha Thacker, Strategic Partner Development (Sports) at Facebook.
A report by data analysis start-up PropheSee reveals that Coca Cola had the highest average daily change in page likes with addition of 15,500 new fans between April 9 and April 19, 2016. Ceat, on the other hand, saw a loss of 18 fans per day in the reporting period; the highest for any of the 9 brands analyzed.
PropheSee’s research also shows that FreeCharge showed the highest paid engagements (on Facebook) among the 9 brands with 206,602 paid engagements, nearly 65 per cent of its entire engagement seen during the period, even though promoted posts constituted just 5 per cent of all of its posts. On the flip side, Amazon had 3 promoted posts out of an overall 11 posts, yet promoted engagement just constituted 0.1 per cent of overall engagement on Facebook.
Most of the major sponsors in the IPL have been highly active on both Facebook and Twitter with a number of contests, trivia posts, etc. to engage with users. Let us take a look at some of the more prominent ones according to their spending on TV advertising.
Facebook – 2.1 million
Twitter – 116,000 followers
The title sponsor of IPL 9 might have not spent as much as others on TV advertising but it has been quite aggressive on the digital platform.
It has been engaging with fans since the start of the IPL, both on Facebook and Twitter, which revolves around their online property - #VIVOPowerPlay.
Facebook – 1,376,704 likes
Twitter – 361,000 followers
Vodafone has already announced that IPL 9 will be its “strongest” association with the cricketing property since its inception 9 years ago. With over 30-40 per cent of the annual marketing budget kept aside for the IPL, Vodafone has made its presence felt in a huge away.
Most interestingly, the telecom operator has partnered with Twitter to launch the ZooZoo emoticon, thus becoming the first Indian corporate brand to do so (The first Indian brand to have its own emoticon was Make In India).
Apart from the ZooZoo emoticon, Vodafone is utilizing social media platforms to promote its IPL-specific properties like #SuperFan. In another unique move, Vodafone has partnered with popular online platform Terribly Tiny Tales to promote content related to core property.
Facebook – 5,225,559 likes
Twitter – 6,385 followers
Even though Amazon emerged as one of the biggest spenders on TV this year for the IPL, but they have not leveraged the brand association online to the same extent. This could be because it has been focusing on different occasions and launches at the same time. For example, the recent launch of Emraan Hashmi’s novel, Mother’s Day, Star Wars Day, an upcoming event with Motorola, which is currently being teased through Facebook and Twitter. The retail giant’s efforts seem to be more spread out than other brands. In fact, one can notice the same thing with Flipkart online.
Facebook - 11,692,595 likes
Twitter - 264,000 followers (approx)
Oppo has been the biggest on-air advertising spender in IPL 9 and it is also highly aggressive on the digital front.
Apart from the usual contests like match predictor etc., it launched an interesting campaign online with Yuvraj Singh, which saw some select cancer patients getting the opportunity to meet the cricket star.
In a continuation of the campaign, it has also launched a CSR initiative online focusing on cancer patients and further promoting its new phone the Oppo F1.
Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza
Facebook - 194,756
Twitter - 33,000 followers
Maruti Suzuki is also using the IPL to promote its new launch- Vitara Brezza. The company’s campaign centres around the concept of #PlayGlamorous .
Interestingly, on Twitter, the brand is making use of the live nature of the feed to tweet constant match updates to their followers.
Facebook - 1,359,050
Twitter - 67,700 followers
Another big spender on TV, Freecharge is also using the digital medium to further amplify its messaging, including contests where users can get cashback on the platform.
The brand is also using the medium to talk cricket trivia with its followers.