Under Armour wants to beat Nike and Adidas at their own game for the Olympics, channeling much of its efforts into creating and seeding social video in the hope it can secure a bigger share of voice around its athletes.
Based on an analysis of the brand’s most active accounts and best performing videos on Twitter and Instagram up until 4 August, it would appear there’s a distinct difference between how and what content performs. Burst Insights concluded that Instagram is the place where Under Armour’s influencer-backed content gets the most traction with users tagging their friends in comments encouraging them to watch, while Twitter is where the brand’s emotive stories in short videos do best.
Of the 10 most commented Under Armour videos on Instagram, seven are product focused. Five of these feature Stephen Curry, the basketball player of the moment, and an additional one name checks him. The remaining two show Lindsey Vonn (Olympic skier) exercising and game hunting via the Under Armour Hunt Account. All the comments for the videos at the time the findings were conducted were positive, according to Burst Insights. And the bulk of them came from the brand’s global Instagram account, with 21140 comments, an average of 165 per video post.
A video posted by Under Armour (@underarmour) on
Unsurprisingly, comments on Instagram were particularly high around those posts featuring Curry. Under Armour’s basketball account trailed only the main account in terms of most comment with a total of 6,733 or an average of 106 comments per post across 347 videos. This is compared to the Under Armour Women feed, which totalled 2659 comments, an average of 83 comments per post despite posting just 71 videos. It shows “far higher engagement on content aimed at a more female audience,” observed Burst insights.
Looking at the data, Under Armour will likely be surprised at the performance of its posts for women, which it has clearly opted to pare back in relation to its more popular basketball brand. The business has a much smaller share of the women’s market than it does for men’s and so will be channeling more of its energy around pushing the bigger part of the business during such a key time.
On Twitter, while Curry still resonates with the masses, seven of Under Armour’s top 10 videos focus on the emotional toil he went through on the way to becoming MVP in a season where his Golden State Warriors team smashed the record for total points accrued.
Four of the top ten are what Burst Insights calls “emotive, high production value social ads,” two in which feature Curry. Two of these ads were GIFs, while there was one animated video, which showed every Under Armour shoe worn by Curry during the milestone season. Also in the top ten is one video featuring Cameron Newton, the NFL MVP, backing Burst Insight’s observation that Under Armour’s talent scouting strategy could give it the edge in Rio. The other two videos are timely in that they feature Team USA Olympic athletes, concluded Burst Insights.
Legacies like his are built over a lifetime. @MichaelPhelps returns for one last summer. #RuleYourself #IWILLhttps://t.co/R5XkX9IW0S — Under Armour (@UnderArmour) March 8, 2016
The most retweeted video was a social ad highlighting Curry’s appearance in the NBA2k16 video game (8,980 retweets). Swimmer Michael Phelps, who is making his Olympic comeback at the Rio Games, fronted the second more retweeted video (8,977 retweets).
Under Armour has consistently been able to spot and sign under-marketed sporting talent who have yet to hit their prime,” said Simon Bibby, head of research and co-founder at Burst Insights.
“There is genuine brand advocacy for a lot of their athletes I've seen talk about Under Armour, who seem to share a "been there from the beginning" mentality about Under Armour. Stephen Curry is their star influencer and best example of this - he's come from nowhere to now being the poster boy for the NBA (and first ever unanimous NBA MVP). Our results show how popular his name and appearance in social video content has been for Under Armour. I think that's why the Michael Phelps video has resonated so well. People love an interesting character and story - Under Armour has proved it is very good at telling them through short social videos.”
For all the retweets and comments, the brand still ranks four in Burst Insights Activewear category, showing just how tough competitive the category will be as Adidas, Nike and Puma push out their own content. All will be trying to exploit the link between sports broadcasts and dual-screening, which is tipped to be one of the key ways younger people watch this year’s event.
Most (85 per cent) Olympic fans from a GlobalWebIndex survey of 25,523 are dual-screening now, with chatting to friends being the most popular second-screening activity. Interestingly, only a fifth of Olympic fans claim that they are looking for information related to what they watching, indicating that there is an automatic link between the content activities appearing on both screens.