Life beyond the hashtag

La vida más allá del hashtag - Johan Cruyff Institute

La Liga, FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and the Cleveland Cavaliers are using Blinkfire’s software to measure their engagement in images and videos on social networks

How many times have we heard and seen that a picture is worth more than a thousand words? And how many times have we asked ourselves ‘how much would that image really cost if I had to pay for it’? The companies that spend millions on marketing and sponsorship, and the athletes, clubs and leagues that rely on their contribution to continue generating business are asking themselves this more and more. For brands, the impact of their actions is what gives meaning to each euro spent on their campaigns and, for those seeking sponsorship, the engagement that they generate is what makes them more attractive to the brands.

An image has the ability to capture people’s attention immediately; it requires no effort and is universal. There is no language or need to understand language in a photo, but it can speak volumes … And in social networks we are struck by millions of images daily. With the help of new technologies, nowadays everything can be measured and it has been verified that a post with an image receives 94% more visitors than one that contains only text. And if in Twitter –a social network primarily offering immediacy of information– we take another second to add an image to a text, the chances of it being retweeted increase by 159%. Not to mention the tremendous growth that new social channels like Instagram are experiencing, where every day more than 40 million photos are uploaded.

Hence Blinkfire, based in Chicago, Illinois, and Valencia, saw the need to measure the traffic that logos have on social networks and dared, not only to develop a software for it, but to give it a price to show that sponsorship strategies have to take into account the possibilities offered by networks. La Liga, Atletico Madrid, FC Barcelona, Juventus, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the New York Mets, Seattle Sounders FC, the EuroLeague, Valencia CF, La Caixa or Toyota, to name a few, already use Blinkfire’s metrics to assess their sponsorships.

Dani Roca, head of Blinkfire’s business development department, explains that “it is a new and very valid tool for both brands and sponsees because both need to measure their actions: the sponsee, to be able to give a return to the sponsor; the sponsor, to be able to really measure whether the investment it is making is the right one and, above all, in a channel such as social networks that were not being measured before, and which were only being used as an extra. We are creating a new requirement in sponsorship deals”.

“Before the digital world was just an extra in global sponsorship contracts and now there is a tendency to create specific sponsorships in social networks that are then extended offline”

This is so much the case today that digital or social media sponsorships are now being generated that later include other offline media channels, when before the mentions in networks could be described as mere courtesy. “In negotiations, not only shirt sponsorships or hoardings are taken into account like before. Brands are moving towards new digital media. An example is the lineups in a football team. The first ones to have the information are the teams themselves. Therefore, fans and also the media are going to the teams’ social networks to see the lineup for the match. These networks are being sponsored and what happens is that, from this channel, other new media opportunities are generated. Before the digital world was just an extra in global sponsorship contracts and now there is a tendency to create specific sponsorships in social networks that are then extended offline,” says Dani.

One might deduce that Blinkfire is a mere spectator in this relationship between sponsor and sponsee because, as its head of business development says, “we are not a consultancy”, but from their data their clients extract best arguments to evaluate their marketing strategies. “We are a measuring tool, but it is true that with the data we provide they are able to vary their strategies to achieve greater engagement. They can detect patterns in which they see that the exposure the brands are getting is greater and they can develop strategies based on it. By the mere fact of sponsoring a team, the brand is getting exposure in social networks that would have a very high cost if they had to pay for it. Therefore, we help them understand that with the sponsorship and being linked to a certain team, player or league, they are getting an exposure that would be very expensive if they had to pay for it”.

“With the data we provide to our clients, they are able to vary their strategies to achieve greater engagement”

After several years of analysis and comparison, at Blinkfire they know that “globally, videos are what generate greater engagement, but you have to have a good strategy for the brand to appear for as many seconds as possible and in the best position to really have an impact. You have to measure everything,” says Dani.

Blinkfire’s software detects logos in images and videos posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and Chinese social networks SinaWeibo and Tencent. They all have different characteristics and their users are also looking for different things. Which is the most successful? “We should not discard any, but use them all,” advises Dani. “Right now, and without a doubt, where there are more interactions is on Instagram. With little effort, it is giving greater impact and engagement than the others. But each network is designed for one thing: Twitter is more for communication and perhaps you should not spend a lot of resources to use it as a marketing tool, but it still also gives you a lot of visibility. So, in the end, the key is to make a global strategy, trying to reach as many users as possible.”

And if it is a question of trying to go global, we will end up recognizing that there is a lot of life beyond a hashtag.

Life beyond the hashtag - Johan Cruyff Institute

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