How Nike Snatched Social Media Gold

The results are in, the Cheermeter has spoken, and Nike has been awarded gold for the social media Olympic games – and they weren’t even a sponsor! 

The Cheermeter is a tool that was cooked up by the Socialbakers to analyse and track social media mentions on Twitter throughout the Olympics. It follows everything from which sports, athletes and languages are trending on Twitter, to how many “cheers” (tweets) the Olympics amassed per day.

Here’s a breakdown of twitter mentions between July 23rd and August 15th, with twitter mentions peaking at close to 2.5 million on July 28th.

The Cheermeter also pulled in a live feed from Twitter and Instagram, so fans could keep up to date their Olympic coverage from their favourite athletes.

According to a press release, Nike bagged the gold medal for social media interaction during the Olympics and stacked up some impressive stats. Their fanbase grew by 166,718 during the Olympics, which was more than double the growth of their sporting rival Adidas, who also happened to be an official sponsor.

Nike also dominated Twitter mentions, with over 16,020 tweets associating the Nike brand with the Olympics, which is 6,725 more than Adidas.

What was the key to their success?

CEO of Socialbakers, Jan Rezab, commented that social media has levelled the playing field for primetime advertising, and the stats speak for themselves. This graph shows the diference between sponsor and non-sponsor mentions associated with the Olympic games.

Acer, Adidas and Cadbury failed to keep up with their non-sponsor counterparts during the Olympics. (It has been speculated that many of the Mars tweets could have been related to the Curiosity landing, hence the incredibly high number.)

“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.” – Jan Rezab, CEO of Socialbakers 

What you can learn from Nike

Their social media strategy is like their brand, everyone is encouraged to get involved. Interaction is key to this, so Nike asks questions, retweets, and keeps the fitness conversation flowing:

They also had a strong presence at the Olympics with the Nike Camp Victory Pavilion at the Olympic village.


They also weren’t afraid to stand-out. You may have noticed throughout the Olympics that the majority of the athletes were wearing bright green (Nike) shoes, which were incredibly eye catching. Although it wasn’t strictly a social media push, it was certainly a social media conversation starter.