Chinese Spring Festival Gala usually had the highest TV ratings in the world, according to CCTV, its TV ratings in 2014 reached 30.94%. While in the US, Super Bowl also had pretty high TV ratings therefore Chinese called it “American Spring Festival Gala”. 2014 Super Bowl hit a new record of 111.5 million viewers.
Big events like Spring Festival Gala and Super Bowl are the best marketing opportunities for advertisers. It was estimated that Spring Festival Gala advertising expense was around 600 million yuan (USD 97.94 million). Advertising price hit 50 million yuan (USD 8.16 million) per 10 seconds at midnight. Similarly, Fox sold out all the commercial breaks by the end of 2013 with averagely USD 4 million per 30 seconds. Advertising alone brought Fox and NFL over USD 300 million.
Apparently, only large enterprises could afford advertising expenses on big events like Spring Festival Gala and Super Bowl. With the emerging of social media, an increasing number of small enterprises turned to Real Time Marketing to promote their brands during big events. Using a little tricks and tactics, these social media marketing could bring unexpected outcomes with low costs.
Live Broadcast Brings Chances To Social Media
Unlike online video websites, social media seems to get along well with TV programs. Users have been used to discussing on social media while watching TV programs. TV brings a large quantity of topics and information, and social media in returns improve TV ratings by discussing and hot event hash tags. Data analysis of social media provides valuable user feedback to TV program makers.
Spring Festival Gala and Super Bowl are both live broadcasting that last for 4 hours, which lead to numerous user generated content on Sina Weibo and Twitter. In 2014 Chinese New Year’s Eve, there were 34.47 million Weibo users participated in Spring Festival Gala discussion. Interactions (posts, reposts, comments and likes) reached 68.95 million, and in the first minute of Chinese New Year, 863,408 Weibo posts were sent. Weibo posts that mentioned Spring Festival hit 45.41 million in 2014, 1.4 times more than last year. South Korean star Lee Minho’s new year Weibo post had the highest reposts with 430,000 times.
According to Twitter’s official data, there were 24.9 million tweets (not including retweets and comments). The climax was when Seattle Seahawks’ third quarter touchdown came, tweets peaked at 380,000 per minute. Over 57,000 retweets for Hillary Clinton’s joke, which was the most retweeted post during 2014 Super Bowl.
The total American Twitter users reached 150 million, and Sina Weibo had over 500 million registered users. In conclusion, Sina Weibo and Twitter were extremely active during big events. According to Facebook official data about Super Bowl, there were 50 million people involved in Super Bowl and generated 185 million interactions (including posts, comments and likes) in 24 hours. New York Times commented that Facebook exaggerated its data a little bit while Twitter did not include retweets, comments and likes therefore being a little too modest about its influence.
During big events like Spring Festival and Super Bowl, users would also interact on Twitter, Facebook, Sina Weibo, Wechat, renren, and Qzone. However, from the perspective of marketing, only those platforms which generate public discussion and spread around could bring value to Real Time Marketing. Super Bowl event proved that Twitter was more valuable to advertisers than Facebook.
Which Would Advertisers Choose?
Although Wechat and QQ also created a large number of posts during Spring Festival Gala, Wechat even promoted by sending out red envelops, these inside discussions did not have marketing values.
Mass Relevance analyzed top 100 brands in 2013 (selected by InterBrand) Real Time Marketing during Super Bowl on social media for consecutive two years, it found out that 8 out of 100 brands did social marketing on Twitter in 2013 and the number increased to 29 in 2014. 6 out of the 8 brands did social marketing on Twitter last year stayed for 2014. Marketing experts’ reports about Super Bowl social marketing mostly based on Twitter.
The 29 brands included advertisers such as Honda, Kia Motors, Volkswagen which already paid a huge amount money on TV commercial breaks, they did not want to miss Twitter Real Time Marketing. Their TV ads would usually display texts in the end to encourage viewers to interact on Twitter and tweeted with hash tag #sb48.
Except for big brands, small enterprises began Real Time Marketing on Twitter since last year’s Super Bowl. Big events marketing become a necessity of marketing tactic and strategy in the whole industry. According to Mass Relevance, brands Real Time Marketing tweets during Super Bowl tripled in 2014.
In comparison, Facebook and Instagram were deserted by advertisers. Brands marketing on Facebook and Instagram dropped in 2014, even less than that of 2013. Apparently, advertisers did not regard Facebook suitable for event marketing. Facebook also felt awkward though it had been competing with Twitter for Real Time Marketing by launching trending. Instagram did a good job by launching short video service and advertising. Despite having more users than Twitter, Facebook lost its game in event marketing.
When it comes to Spring Festival Gala, Sina Weibo took event marketing more serious than Twitter. Users could join Spring Festival Gala discussion by scanning QR code on TV, interact with stars and performers on Weibo. Besides, Sina Weibo began planning “Red Envelop” long before the start of Gala. It integrated the promotion activity into the whole Spring Festival Gala discussions, and encouraged users to create more content via lucky draw as well as brands to do marketing on the platform. Sina Weibo sent out 100 million yuan (USD 16.32 million) worth “Red Envelop” in 4 hours of live broadcasting.
Even if Spring Festival Gala is only broadcast in Chinese New Year’s Eve, it soon gathered a lot of users to participate in “Red Envelop” activities. Enterprise Weibo account Evergrande Spring’s followers increased by 300%. One week after Spring Festival Gala, Sina Weibo gave out 450 million yuan (USD 73.46 million) worth “Red Envelop” in total.
“Red Envelop” promotion not only increased relative Weibo posts, but helped enterprises to do marketing and expanded Sina Weibo Real Time Marketing influence among Chinese brands. In the future, Sina Weibo will continue to cooperate with CCTV when Word Cup, Olympic Games and other big events happen, to deliver the value of event marketing.