AMEC Awards Winner
Category: Most innovative use of measurement in a digital campaign
Client/Entering Company: Umpf
Campaign title: The UK’s First Ever Sports Social Media Index
Company Name: Umpf

Objective/Brief

This case study is slightly unusual in that Umpf – a PR and social media agency – is both the client and the agency which executed the campaign. Our internal brief was to develop a social media campaign that would generate new social media business leads from sports-related brands.

During one of our quarterly staff reviews, a number of staff expressed an interest in working for a sports brand (at that point Umpf did not represent any sports-related clients). We brainstormed ideas and concluded that the best tactic was, in effect, to lead by example. So, rather than cold calling brands, we decided to create a piece of social activity that would raise our profile sufficiently to generate new business leads.

Our other primary KPIs were to:

  • secure authoritative press coverage in industry publications
  • generate social conversation around sports, social media and Umpf
  • garner interest in our findings from sports clubs themselves

Strategy

We felt that the best way to generate awareness among sports brands and social media managers was to create our own piece of sports-related social media research and then use our in-house social media measurement expertise to thoroughly critique and appraise it.

Our idea was to create the UK’s first ever, sport-themed social media index – an
annual league table benchmarking social media success. The ‘Sport Social Media Index’ would identify and acknowledge sports brands leading the way in social media and simultaneously offer a detailed snapshot of the sports social media landscape.

We decided that our focus should be on professional British sports clubs. As a result, we selected all 148 British professional football teams (English Premier League, Championship, Leagues One and Two, plus the SPL); Rugby (Super League and Premiership) teams; and cricket (County Championship Divisions One and Two) teams. Our objective was to rank them according to the best use of social media by their official club channels.

Determined to give our Index a unique edge, we applied both quantitative and qualitative social media measurement criteria. When a straight algorithm-based methodology is used, it can be ‘gamed’ by working out the formula and modifying social media output accordingly. The qualitative analysis ensured we were able to reward social media best practice that a computer would not be able to recognise.

Another significant part of our strategy was identifying the right partners to bring on board. There were two important reasons for this:

  • they would give our ‘Sport Social Media Index’ concept gravitas
  • there would be a potential ‘in’ with those partners in terms of generating new business leads

We first approached Opta, one of the world’s leading sports data companies, who agreed to provide one of our panel judges. Next, we offered William Hill co-authorship of the report, in exchange for sharing the design and build costs of the report website.

Execution/Implementation

We wanted our methodology to be innovative and original; tailored to the task in hand, as opposed to choosing an existing, off-the-shelf analytics tool. It was crucial, too, that our Index was a fair and representative snapshot of the sports social media landscape and that larger clubs (presumably with greater resources and numbers of existing followers/fans) were not given an unfair advantage. Scores were thus weighted to reflect percentage growth – a level playing field, to use a sporting analogy.

The Sport Social Media Index methodology featured three key elements, with a maximum possible score of 100. The scoring included both quantitative data from a two-month analysis period and qualitative research from a team of 11 people drawn from our sponsor William Hill, Opta and Umpf.

The first element, which accounted for 65 percent of the total score, was a full analysis of each team’s official club social media channels. The analysis used data covering a two-month period, designed to give all sports at least one month during which they were involved in competitive action.

Scores awarded at this stage took into account the breadth of official club social media channels (including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Vine and YouTube) as well as blog activity. The scoring included percentage engagement levels; percentage community growth; and the use of multimedia content, including video, images, audio, official apps and external links.

The second element, accounting for a maximum 35 percent of the total score, was the judges’ scoring. Judges marked each team, with the combined total averaged out to give each team a final additional score.

The final scoring element was the implementation of ‘Red Card’ penalties, with a deduction of 2.5 percent from the final score for each social media ‘malpractice’, such as duplicate content, failure to use hashtags, idle content periods of four or more days and repeated spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.

The Sport Social Media Index included the main table – all 148 teams ranked top to bottom – and nine individual tables for each of the nine leagues analysed. We created a website, www.sport.socialmediaindex.co.uk, to host all the results, case studies and methodology as the core domain, adding ‘sport’ as a prefix to give us scope to create subsequent branded social media indices, including the Formula 1 index, www.f1.socialmediaindex.co.uk

We created a total of 19 digital assets and badges for winners and runners-up to use on their club websites and social channels. This initiative supported publicity for the Index and helped to establish it as a ‘brand’. We also issued badges and logos to journalists as part of the media materials for the launch.

Conclusions

Tottenham Hotspur TwitterArsenal supporters had better look away now. Our final league table ranked Tottenham Hotspur
FC at the top of the Index, rewarding the team for the variety of content across all channels, high engagement percentages and its platform-by-platform tailoring of content.

The Index was a social media measurement innovation, generating 33 separate pieces of media coverage, including features in Metro, Birmingham Mail, Yorkshire Evening Post, Rugby League Express, Give Me Sport, UK Sport Network, The Professional Cricketers’ Association, Brand-e, CorpComms, The Drum, etc. The media reach totalled 19,931,716.

Leicester City TwitterOur Index also featured in reports on club websites, and in match day programmes, including Spurs, Leyton Orient, Notts County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Socially, the Index received high profile Tweets from official club accounts, including:

The Index campaign generated a reach on Twitter in excess of 1.5 million people. In addition, all but one of the winners went on to use our digital badges on their website, on social media or both. This further amplified the reach of the Index, further establishing it as a brand.

Our Index is now firmly part of the annual social media calendar and has given us a platform to create additional social media indices for different sports, including a second Sports Social Media Index. The original Index, to which this case study refers, is at: http://www.sport.socialmediaindex.co.uk/13. The latest index is at http://www.sport.socialmediaindex.co.uk

Crucially, and most importantly, the Index generated new business, which was our absolute goal. Three clubs who featured asked Umpf to help with social media support and we won two pieces of social media work from a British bookmaker.

In summary, our creative piece of low-budget, social media research hit each of our four objectives:

  • secured authoritative press coverage across industry publications
  • generated social conversation around sport, social media and Umpf
  • garnered interest from sports clubs
  • generated new business for Umpf

Name of contact: Adrian Johnson
Email: adrian@umpf.co.uk
Telephone: 0800 4 10 20 10 DD +44 (0)113 320 9911

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