The best bit of market research you never commissioned

Client Technical Leader for UK Public Sector, IBM UK Ltd.

Did you know that during the Wimbledon Fortnight in 2013, there were more than 19 million unique visitors and some 430 million page views of the What drives interest in those pages?

Interest in the latest scores of course, along with a wealth of content tuned to respond to fans’ needs. Last year, IBM provided the Wimbledon content team with real-time insights into social media trends (as we will again this year) allowing them to tailor their content according to fan interest. A 100 percent increase in Twitter traffic surrounding Wimbledon from 2012 to 2013 showed there is clearly a lot of interest.

Wanting to understand customers’ needs and interests better is not unique to the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC). A recent study published by IBM’s Institute for Business Value shows that CMOs globally are struggling to make any real progress in coping with the volume of data generated via social media. Organizations are unaware of how best to extract the data they want from the noise; equally, they are unsure of how that data can best be used to provide business value. To compound the challenge, there’s a growing demand to provide actionable insights from the data more quickly.

  • At Wimbledon in 2013, in order to understand the collective interests and views of fans as soon as they were expressed, we used keywords such as the names of the players to filter insights from the Twitter fire hose. Natural language processing allowed us to identify clearly defined conversations, where they were happening and who the key influencers were.
  • We analyzed the data in real time whilst matches were being played and insights were shared regularly with the AELTC to help inform and fine-tune the content of the Wimbledon website, which is updated over 140,000 times a day, making the content more relevant to fans around the world.
  • Trending sponsors were highlighted during The Championships and this was useful not only for Wimbledon to measure the value of rights granted, but also for sponsors to assess their impact.
  • A re-tweet by someone or an organization with a large following can have huge reach. Perez Hilton, the US television personality, retweeted news of Serena Williams losing her fourth round match on July 1 last year, contributing to peak reach of over 32 million users. A retweet from a trusted source can be hugely valuable to an organization to get its message out and acquire new followers in the process.
  • Sentiment in traffic content can also be indicated using analytics. Tweets referencing a specific topic were scored -5 to +5 for sentiment during The Championships, and were able to take account of sarcasm and other language subtleties. This kind of analysis can help CMOs understand the buzz about a topic of interest, perhaps an advertising campaign, directly from views expressed by customers, and it could then be used to help predict what is likely or unlikely to work.

2014 marks our 25th year of partnership and innovation with the AELTC. We’re celebrating with a new Wimbledon Social Command Centre that uses analytics to deliver a more personalized experience to fans. Follow @IBM_UK_News or visit for regular updates from the grounds, giving you the inside track on social media analytics and other insightful data.

You might like to read more about real-time personalization in this report: The Who, What, Where, When and How of Real-time Personalization