Costa Coffee and Starbucks in a battle for Facebook check-ins during the Olympic Games. Check out the results in our caffeine-packed infographic!
Starbucks and Costa Coffee are long-term competitors on the coffee market so we decided to challenge them in a Facebook check-in knockdown. To spice up the competition, we compared the number of check-ins made during the Olympic Games (July 27th – August 12th) with the same period a month before. The “participants” were located in Central London and to be fair, Starbucks had a head start with an 8 times higher number of stores (248 compared to the 30 Costa Coffees).
Surprisingly, although Costa has fewer stores, it’s consistently getting more check-ins on average. But when analyzing the direct impact of the Games, Starbucks is the winner with a 36% increase (it grew from 1,800 to 2,451 check-ins). The Olympic traffic helped Starbucks catch up with Costa, which actually went down by 1% during the same time period (from 306 to 303 check-ins a month later). What´s behind the Starbucks check-in growth? Socialbakers CEO Jan Rezab proposes a theory: “The international proliferation of the Starbucks brand and the fact that they have been on social channels longer than Costa means that with the influx of international coffee drinkers to Olympic London, their check-ins increased during the Games.”
As you can see in the infographic below, the Starbucks check-ins reached their peaks on the days of the swimming, tennis and athletics finals and the final ceremony day. According to the London 2012 official website, the tickets for swimming and athletics were among the most expensive tickets of the Games. But they are undoubtedly the most popular disciplines among people across the globe so they could have attracted the most foreigners into the city, with Starbucks representing a familiar meeting point and a well-known place for a nice cup of coffee.
According to a survey from Allegra Strategies, Costa was identified as the UK´s favorite coffee shop in 2010 and 2011. That would explain why Costa Coffee has been doing better outside and during the Olympics when looking at the average numbers of check-ins per store. Not to mention that Costa Coffee supplies pubs, bars and restaurants and they offer self-service Costa Express points in London.
Their Facebook communities for the UK are of similar size – Costa Coffee has over 698 thousand and the Starbucks Page over 877 thousand fans. But there wasn’t much Olympics activity on the walls, Costa posted a poorly engaging post on August 3rd: “The Olympics are in full swing and we have to say: We are loving it! If coffee drinking were an Olympic event, we’d definitely win gold. What quirky discipline would you win a medal in?” It generated 121 Likes and 48 Comments. Starbucks knows that pictures generate the highest Engagement Rates so it bet its card on a patriotic sunny picture with a refreshing drink and a British flag with the London Eye in the background worth about 6 thousand Likes (picture below).
As for physically getting more people into the coffee stores, Starbucks is trying to attract more visitors with Treat Receipt (#TreatReceipt) for the summer. Summer afternoons are always nicer with a cold treat so they are offering an iced drink for £2 to customers that show their morning receipt after 2pm. Wouldn’t that make you want to go there and possibly check-in?
Costa Coffee also has happy hours but on Twitter. They take place every Monday and Wednesday afternoon asking people to express what makes them happy in 140 characters via #costahappyhour for a chance to get a free £5 gift card.
How far did the cheering Facebook users have to go to get a refreshing drink and to check-in? When consulting with Google maps, you’ll find that Starbucks is closer than Costa Coffee to the Olympic stadium in east London’s Stratford. The closest Starbucks is 2.3 miles from the stadium (46 The Broadway, Stratford), which would take about 7 minutes by foot. If you decided to get a coffee in Costa, you would need to schedule an additional 3 more minutes to your 3.5-mile walk (34 North Colonnade, Canary Wharf).
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