An Auto Brand Used User-Generated Content And Advanced Optimization To Win Gold With Twitter Audiences

By: Unified


Enticing more than 36.1 million viewers across all devices for the opening ceremony alone, the Olympic Games offer brands a lucrative opportunity for some serious exposure. In fact, for the past five years, each iteration of the games has undergone a steady increase in advertising dollars spent. The 2016 Olympics was no exception to this trend, securing a record amount of advertising dollars totaling $1.2 billion. The flipside to this upside is that brands still have to deal with the tricky task of standing apart from a mass of competitors.

This was the exact challenge that a Leading Automotive Brand faced for a rather complex Twitter campaign. Interested in driving excitement and awareness for their upcoming 10-year sponsorship of the Olympics, marketers leveraged the Unified Platform’s Pacing Dashboard and Optimizer to lower costs and achieve a high video view rate for their campaign.


The Brand aimed to charm consumers with a campaign that would drive engagement and, ultimately, interest in its new partnership with the Olympics. The Brand’s partnership allowed them to launch exclusive, groundbreaking ad campaigns on a new, Olympics-focused digital platform, while also supporting the Olympics Games and affiliated groups. To draw users’ attention to the campaign, marketers created the following three-pronged strategy:

Mixing It Up:

Marketers used Unified’s Pacing Dashboard to easily track the performance of three types of Twitter ad units in real-time—First View, Promoted Trend, and Conversational Card Ads. Each ad provided special benefits to the campaign: First View Ads secured the top ad spot in users’ newsfeeds, Promoted Trends appeared at the top of Trending Topics on Twitter, and Conversational Card Ads included a call-to-action (CTA) that prominently displayed a custom hashtag.

Tightened Targeting:

Marketers deployed a two-part strategy that leveraged the Unified Platform’s Optimizer to automatically reallocate budgets to the best-performing targeting groups. For the first part of the campaign, marketers targeted people interested in the Olympics as well as fans of The Brand itself. For the second deployment, marketers targeted users who engaged with the initial campaign creative for an even higher level of engagement with premium audiences.

Uniquely UGC:

For the first campaign deployment, marketers designed creative that featured friendly images of people holding hands, with a custom hashtag and emoji. This post asked Olympics enthusiasts to reply with similar pictures repeating” the same custom hashtag, and stated that each picture submitted would earn a donation to benefit an Olympics-related charity. The second part of the campaign, released afterwards, featured the most original and captivating images from that promotion. This approach was particularly effective, since half of US social media users feel user-generated content is more trustworthy than from any other source. Additionally, because these “ads” didn’t look like ads, users were more likely to engage and share the content.


Though marketers were competing with hundreds of other social ads, The Brand was able to exceed its benchmarks to deliver the following results:


Lower CPM Than Benchmark.


More Video Views to 100% Than Benchmark.


When competition is quite stiff as it is during the Olympics, an effective method marketers can use to break through the noise is narrowing targeting down to the most valuable audiences with multiple campaigns. This two-pronged approach, coupled with the ability to track activity in real-time and increase optimization with the Unified Platform, were the key factors for success in this case.

Additionally, implementing a user-generated ad campaign was particularly effective in this awareness campaign because of two main reasons. First, they ads weren’t traditional, so users were much more likely to interact with them, and second, the posts potentially came from someone the users knew, which made them much more likely to absorb and share the message.


August 2016 New York Times article titled “As Olympic Viewership Falls, NBC Thinks of the Bigger Picture”

2016 International Olympic Committee document titled “Olympic Marketing Fact File”

August 2016 AdAge article titled “NBC Hits Record $1.2 Billion In Ad Sales for Olympics”

December 2016 Alapic and WithPR report titled “Consumer Trust: Keeping It Real”

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