Nike was not a headline Olympic sponsor, but it might as well have been, according to Socialbakers. Insight from Socialbakers' CheerMeter tool revealed that Nike led in sporting social engagement during the London Olympics. From July 27 to August 2, Nike's Facebook fan base grew by 166,718 - more than double the growth of rival, Adidas, which despite its pricy sponsorship deals, netted just 80,761 new fans over the same period.
Nike dominated in the Twittersphere too, with over 16,020 tweets associating the brand with the word Olympic – again topping Adidas with by more than 6,725 tweets. In the first week alone, Nike's Facebook fan growth was three times that of a normal week. By comparison, Adidas netted just 4,129 new fans.
Nike was not the only non-sponsor causing a social buzz around the Games; Mars (of Skittles and M&Ms fame) generated over 29,740 Olympic-themed tweets, compared to British-born Cadbury which attracted just 2,232.
Jan Rezab, CEO of Socialbakers commented on the trend: "There was a time when primetime slots around major sporting events were essential for maintaining position as a household name; but social media has levelled the playing field. Through its savvy social strategy, Nike demonstrated that you no longer need prime time to create brand buzz."
In addition to its brand insights, Socialbakers also revealed wider social trends from the Games. Swimmers led the pack as most talked about athletes, with Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in first and second place respectively and Missy Franklin in 7th place. Meanwhile, British diver Tom Daley just missed the Twitter social podium as 4th most discussed athlete.
English-language speakers around the world were the loudest Twitter cheerers, with 90% of tweets around the games in English, and the most tweeted about day was the Saturday of the opening weekend.