Brands Reflect and Score Olympics Facebook Apps

Now that the 2012 Summer Games have come to a close, brands and agencies are scoring the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns related to all things Olympic. This year’s event combined with a significant shift in spend and interest in social media enabled brands such as GE, Citi and others. Facebook highlighted at standout apps created for the event from Citi, GE and P&G. Each brand developed an app that aimed to weave a message in with Olympic goals, stories and global interest.

ge-healthyshareGE’s HealthyShare app used the Olympics as a backdrop to motivate people to take on daily health and activity challenges and share their progress with friends. “We see this as being a great way to support individuals much like the Olympians are supported through their careers,” said Paul Marcum, director of global digital marketing and programming at GE. With HealthyShare, GE is trying to “support the conversation and elevate the ability for people to talk about their wellness and actually connect with people in a support-like fashion,” he said.

GE worked with The Barbarian Group, Brand Networks and VaynerMedia to build its challenge-driven app for wellness, and more than 30,000 people got involved before the opening ceremony. Leading up to and throughout the Olympics, GE enlisted the support of four Olympians to encourage users to take up a daily challenge to improve their health. “(GE) has this philosophy where sharing is tracking” and by leveraging technology that’s already in the hands of users it is able to compile new health and wellness data for users within the app, said Marcum.

“So much of this is about connecting within that platform, connecting in the feed, and understanding where the user’s existing behavior is around wellness,” he added. “We’re not going after the fitness¬†fanatic audience or someone who’s always going to need a huge challenge.” The HealthyShare app is optimized for the mobile browser, but as the programs evolves, Marcum expects GE will find more ways to connect with mobile users via native apps perhaps or other channels.

Citi used the Olympics as a springboard for a crowd-sourced charitable giving project that gave users the ability to award ThankYou Points (the bank’s reward program currency) to the sport program of their choice. Citi donated 50 million ThankYou points (the equivalent of $500,000) to the U.S. Olympic Committee and built its Every Step of the Way app to garner advice from Facebook users.

The app was built by Citi’s agency partner Publicis Kaplan Thaler and launched in April. About halfway through the Olympic Games more than 50,000 users had engaged with the app. “We are very pleased with engagement to date,” said Tina Davis, director of sponsorships and marketing at Citi.

Citi received its highest number of likes - 14,316 - and number of People Talking About This -17,236 - during the week ending August 2.

In the app, Citi featured exclusive videos, photos and updates about U.S. Olympians and encouraged users to support their favorite sport program by sharing, viewing content, publishing a tweet or getting a friend to use the app. With each action, users unlocked more ThankYou points to dole out to their favorite sports.

Citi also parlayed its corporate sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams to select and feature 13 U.S. athletes and their supporting programs. “Team Citi” won a combined 21 medals. Gymnast Dominique Dawes used her platform on Every Step of the Way to support the USOC Recovery Center while Paralympic track and field star Amanda McGrory put her support behind the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association, for example.

“We wanted to make it easy for our customers and fans of the Games to get involved, and what better way to do so then to utilize the platforms, like Facebook, that they use on a daily basis,” said Davis.

Outside of the app framework, many other brands built campaigns around the Olympics on their Facebook pages. By using one of Facebook’s engagement metric, People Talking About This, brands can gauge how well their campaigns did in encouraging users to share posts, comments, mentions, likes and check-ins related to their page.

P&G’s “Thank You, Mom” campaign page reached a peak PTAT of 305,183 during the seven-day period ending August 6. The official Olympic Games page spiked during the week ending August 2 with 1,459,202 PTAT.

Meanwhile, the number of likes for NBC, which endured relentless criticism for its coverage of the Olympics, were unsurprisingly low with a peak of 5,302 during the week ending August 2. Its PTAT metric spiked, however, from a low of 3,891 during the week ending July 23 to 20,714 during the week ending August 3.

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