We all know the saying that 'talk is cheap', but the World Cup is proving that for some companies, talk might be very expensive.
Take Yingli, for instance, a solar panel company that paid an estimated $17,5m to be a World Cup sponsor. Since Yingli enjoyed just 2,782 mentions in social media, that's $6,290 for every social media mention they received.
McDonald's enjoyed a far better bang for their buck, with the burger company mentioned 2,700,358 times by World Cup watchers - and that's before the final that will generate a Twitter storm. In cost-per-mention terms, it cost McDonald's just $6.48 for every mention it received. But since that could buy you two Big Macs each time someone mentions the company name on social media, was it money well spent?
Strategic digital media consultancy 25AM
tracked global social media conversations during the World Cup, using ExactTarget Marketing Cloud
software to analyse what the public is saying about the sponsors.
The aim is to test whether the world cup and players do indeed get sufficient talkability and conversational amplification around their brands to justify the expense in sponsorship and endorsement.
Imagine how excited companies get to see their name clearly visible behind the gyrating Germans as they slam their seventh goal into the net. But if people still don't talk about Yingli solar panels, Budweiser Beer, Moy Park chickens and Continental tyres, maybe it's not money well spent?
The intangible value of linking your brand to the world's most famous footballers is very difficult to measure, says Gordon Geldenhuys, head of online reputation management at 25AM. But he believes it's possible to gauge the value in practical terms using social media listening tools.
"Measuring the return on investment is a very real and contentious issue, as marketers are struggling to justify a solid return for the financial investment in social marketing, sponsorship and marketing in general," he says. "The explosion of activity on Twitter during the matches has been phenomenal, so it's natural for some of the world's biggest brands to spend huge sums of money in sponsorship to capitalise on this hype. But how do we quantify the return that they are getting for this sponsorship?"
The 25AM infographic here will give them more food for thought. In sheer monetary terms, it may be difficult to justify spending so much for so few mentions. But where do you draw the line? Advertising has no goal-mouth technology to tell you when you've missed the mark or scored an own goal.
25AM analysed more than 26 million social media conversations and counted the specific mentions of each official sponsor, partner and some key players to test the value of their investments.
McDonalds earned a tasty amount of talk and therefore the lowest cost per mention. "Every social mention cost the company the equivalent of two Big Macs," Geldenhuys says. "How much more tangible can we get than relating the value per social mention directly back to each sponsor's product offerings?"
Budweiser achieved a solid cost per mention of $91, 71 equating to 11 beers per mention and Moy Park incurred a cost of 4,932.36 per social mention amounting to 3162 chickens per mention.
Yingli was the worst performer at more than $6,000 per mention."
World Cup partner companies spent even more, pumping in an estimated $34-million each. The 25AM infographic shows that Kia Motors fared the best with 118,146 mentions, while Visa perhaps did not leverage the association as successfully with just 5,653 mentions at $6,000 per punt.
As for the players, before the semi-finals Brazil's Neymar da Silva Santos was the most talked about man on social platforms.