What Online Marketers Can Learn From the Red Bull Jump

Yesterday was a momentous event in advertising history. Felix Baumgartner achieved the world record for his jump from 120,000 feet and broke the sound barrier with speeds recorded over 800 MPH, all backed by Red Bull. Certainly in this case RedBull can say it #Givesyouwings! The event was broadcast live over 40 networks in 50 countries and according to the Telegraph, “more than 3 million tweets were sent about the jump including those from people encouraged by Red Bull to send their questions for Baumgartner’s post-jump press conference.”

The jump itself is truly amazing. It’s also a great lesson in how marketing on and offline has changed. Although nobody has released the exact amount, it’s safe to say Red Bull invested something over a million dollars in this project.The balloon alone is estimated to have cost in the neighborhood of $100,000. Remember, this is just one of may high profile stunts RedBull is known for, including Red Bull Cliff Diving, Rampage and the Air Race.

Clearly Red Bull understands the value of entertainment content and leverages various online tools to maximize the viewer ship of these events, they have their own web TV channel called RedBullTV. but what is the real impact through social media? Below are some very basic stats on this most recent event, gathered via SocialBakers.com and taken over a 6 month period to show the impact of this jump.

Red Bull on Twitter
@Redbull gained a big following over the last 6 months on Twitter, particularly in the last 30 days. Although there are reports of the jump being mentioned millions oftimes on Twitter, I ran a Tweetreach report  and found a “reach” of 3 million impressions of a little over 1,400 tweets. (There were other hashtags used and I didn’t run a report on Redbull mentions).

Tweetreach livejump

Interestingly, especially in light of all the news about Facebook changing it’s algorithms, they gained a ton of fans, but people talking about this page actually declined.

Red Bull Fans

Red Bull Talking About This

Notice the big spike in “Talking about this” is in September, Not this week.

Here’s this week:

Red Bull Reach on Facebook


It pretty much goes without saying that their viewer ship on Youtube was stratospheric (yes, I had to do that), but from someone who watched it live on my iPhone, I had to reload it and watch that Chevy commercial 5 times during the livestream, so those numbers may be a little skewed.

Red Bull Youtube Views

What are the lessons here?
Obviously the big one is content is truly  king. If you want to grab people’s attention and get them to tell their friends an ad is just not going to cut it anymore. You have to create something memorable, shareable, something people can engage with their friends over. We gloss over ads, we remember, and perhaps more importantly share, events. Even the chevy ad that got such great coverage in this case, and potentially supported a big part of the marketing expenses for Red Bull.

As far as I’m concerned the stats on Red Bull’s Facebook page are revealing. Even a momentous event like this gains fans, but the reach is disappointing to say the least. Is this an issue with Facebook or the fans? I leave it to better statisticians to decide. I stand by my belief that Facebook’s recent changes are hurting real engagement by limiting what fans see, even for content they opted in for.

Red Bull clearly knows creating events that keep viewers on the edge of their seats and sharing with their friends keeps them in the forefront of viewers’ minds. They also clearly know they have to keep making more content or people drift away to some other shiny object.

How does that apply to your business?
Keep consistently creating engaging content as part of your marketing program. You don’t have to jump off a cliff to have an impact (horrible pun) but you do have to create content that engages. Every new bit of content you create adds to the overall volume of buzz out there about your brand.

Ads are just not going to have the same results as good content shared among friends and family. From a bang for your buck perspective, content rules.

Oh, and don’t let those Facebook stats get you down, it happens to the best of us.

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