Not only do global sporting competitions rally nations in support of their teams, but they also provide an opportunity for major brands to make an international splash.

With over 1.5 billion unique social media users in 41 languages around the world mapped to 250,000 interest categories, 50,000 brands, and 6,000 TV programs, 4C’s social data provides a powerful way to understand the impact of the Ruby World Cup from the consumer perspective.

100815_Rugby_EngagementAdditionally, 4C’s Teletrax global TV monitoring network tracks more than 2,100 channels in 76 countries and can deliver further insight into how advertisers are approaching their sponsorships of the event.

Host nation England’s team earned highest amount of unique engagers on Facebook and Twitter among participating countries with 521,633, a lift of 388% compared to the period before the tournament. England fans expressed their disappointment with their team’s exit from the tournament, with the most engagements (243,594) occurring when Australia defeated the home team 33 to 13. New Zealand and Australia teams secured the second and third spots on social with 483,044 and 472,614 engagers respectively.

100815_Rugby_EnglandTimelineTeams from Uruguay, France, and Ireland also stand out with their early tournament progress after recording the largest percentage lifts in terms of social engagement out of all 20 participating nations.

100815_Rugby_EngagementbyTeamHaving compared data from before the beginning of the competition against that of the opening 28 fixtures of the group stage, Heineken is the brand generating the most growth in social media audience among official tournament sponsors gaining 122,775 new engagers, a lift of 653%. Other standouts on social include Vodafone, 18,728 new engagers, and Emirates, 11,588 new engagers.

100815_Rugby_SponsorLeaderboardSo far, social results were very different from television coverage of the tournament in the UK, where the tournament is being hosted. Land Rover, one of the official tournament worldwide media partners, led the TV advertisement table in terms of gross aired minutes (105 minutes), closely followed by SSE (83 minutes), the official sponsor of the tournament coverage on ITV.

Andy Nobbs, SVP, Global TV Analytics Sales and EMEA Activation, commented: “4C’s data highlights that the Rugby World Cup has yet to deliver a clear overall winner among its sponsors and official partners in terms of a combined TV and social campaign. The only brand to successfully illustrate the potential of such integration has been SSE, a non-tournament sponsor, who ranked third in the TV ad table and increased its number of unique engagers by over 2500%. By leveraging TV’s enormous reach and the strong personalization value of social, SSE already has a head start on the other sponsors, and it will be interesting to see whether it emerges as the tournament winner at the end of the month.”

Other key findings include:

  • Beverages are the leaders in social engagement, with Coca-Cola and Heineken reaching the highest numbers of total engagements (146,909 and 146,785 respectively); Heineken had the most unique engagers with 122,775.
  • Among official worldwide sponsors/partners, only three brands secured social engagement lifts; Heineken, MasterCard and Emirates each recorded lifts of 653%, 56% and 8% respectively.
  • Although Heineken is well placed on social, its TV efforts have been limited with only 23 minutes airing time, ranking fifth amongst all UK advertisers in the FMCG category.
  • With over 600 ad occurrences and close to 2 hours on air, Land Rover is more present on TV than the self-promotional spots for the Rugby World Cup event itself (84 minutes), making it a clear stand out on that medium.
  • Following closely behind the automotive brand was the official TV coverage sponsor SSE, a UK-based utility company (83 minutes), the technology giant Microsoft (74 minutes) and betting companies William Hill (56 minutes) bet365 and Betway (both 54 minutes).
  • SSE delivered a strong integrated advertising campaign leveraging TV and social, ranking third in air time and resulting in a 2537% engagement lift on social media.
  • England fans demonstrated both strong support and huge disappointment with the host nation being knocked out; on social it received 521,633 unique engagers and a percentage engagement lift of 388%.
  • New Zealand scooped the second place on the social podium with 483,044 unique engagers and a social engagement percentage lift of 102%.
  • Australia came in third, drawing 472,614 unique engagers and achieving 225% lift in social engagements, an outpouring of which came when they defeated England (206,584).
  • Japan, a strong challenger on social and in the tournament, recorded the fourth highest number of unique engagers (357,415), with a percentage engagement lift of 307%. The Asian contender stunned the sporting world by defeating South Africa during the opening weekend of the tournament.
  • Uruguay (750%), France (504%), and Ireland (451%) also stood out during the period with the highest percentage lifts in terms of social engagement, though Uruguay had the lowest number of total social engagements among the participating teams (19,028).

It’s certainly been an interesting competition so far – on and off the pitch. 4C will continue to report on key social engagement trends as the tournament carries on. Stay tuned!