The NBA Finals… and What They Teach Us About Social Advertising?

Leading up to the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder all I kept hearing across the sports networks was how it was the “big three” (Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh) against the little three, or “other big three” (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden).

This made me think about social advertising today and how the big three (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) dominate the market, especially in the eyes of clients. This comes at no surprise since they are all ridiculously valuable. But, there are three “other” big social sites out there that offer advertising and when done right are just as powerful. The “other big three” are the social aggregators StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Digg.


The Miami Heat were brought together, quickly, with enormous amounts of money and one purpose, to dominate. The Thunder on the other hand were grown organically over time. The Heat lead the series 2 games to 1, but they have not dominated. In fact the Thunder have proven they can compete and belong. A great example of how this translates to social advertising is in a little test we ran last year on StumbleUpon.

Instead of running an ad on Facebook or Twitter with the content we had, we decided to do a little test on StumbleUpon with their PaidDiscovery. The test budget was $32.50 and the campaign was an article on start ups, ok, I admit, it’s a weird amount, but that’s another story.

Results from the first day were standard and expected. There were four hundred paid stumbles and thirty one free stumbles. On day two there were two hundred and forty-five paid stumbles and over 1,000 free stumbles and my budget was gone. By the end of that first week we paid for 645 views and had received over 15,000 free views with visitors seriously engaging, sharing, and spending an average of one minute on the site. To date, on StumbleUpon alone, the article has over 20,000 views and is still getting stumbled a few times every day.

The amount of success this ad received was impressive to say the least and also made me realize that the more you test out the social advertising market with the “other guys” the more quality opportunities you’ll have that you never thought existed. I’ve seen similar results on Reddit and Digg, but have never heard of or read about a spend that low generating that many views with actual quality interaction.

In the NBA champions are crowned, but with a ring. In social advertising there is no champion, no one ring to rule them all (yeah, I just went there), but when played right success can be found across all platforms and often with the “other guys.”

Written by

Jake Filan

Jake Filan

As Director of Social Ads at Kairay Media, Jake manages all the Social Ad campaigns for clients providing strategies that integrate a natural approach with quality advertised content which in turn leads to engaged visitors that don’t feel forced into content.
Jake Filan
Jake Filan
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Boca Raton, FL 33433
Phone: (415) 683-7636
Fax: (866) 441-5837

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