FISE Montpellier is the biggest action sports festival in the world.

The facts speak for themselves – 515,000 people attended FISE Montpellier 2018 over the 4 days (and it would have been more had the 5th not been rained off).

Importantly for REDTORCH, we managed to capture the incredible on-site atmosphere to achieve great social media numbers, including a total of 5 million video views, 150k new fans and 500k fan engagements.

Now, would we have achieved these numbers without a Paid social budget and strategy? The answer is no. In fact, we wouldn’t have come close (just 5% of new Facebook fans were organic.)

Why? The recent changes to Facebook algorithms mean it’s becoming increasingly difficult for brands to get their content seen.

FISE Montpellier presented another great opportunity for REDTORCH to promote the FISE brand to a worldwide audience, but this time, with Paid social at the forefront of our strategy.

Here are 3 ways to deliver great live-event paid social, even on a tight budget.

1. You don’t buy fans – you earn them with great content

There’s a common misconception with Paid social media – simply plough enough money into traditionally cheap markets and your fan growth will go through the roof. This isn’t true.

What’s important is not only how much money you put into boosting content and adverts, it’s fundamentally the advert/content quality and how it aligns with the target audience. Facebook favours good content targeted to the right audience by giving it a high relevance score: the higher the score, the more the content will be seen.

Fan growth was so high during FISE Montpellier because high-quality content and adverts were targeted towards specific and relevant audiences. These fans were genuinely engaged too – the engagement rate of Facebook content throughout the event averaged 2.3% – 10 times higher than the average of other action sports Facebook pages.


2. Involve experts

As with every aspect of social, getting experts involved guarantees you’re getting the most out of your paid media budget as well as minimising waste (aka saving money!).

Our team of experts for Paid media at FISE Montpellier

Alex Scarborough: Paid media specialist working on-site in Montpellier

  • Constantly monitoring and optimising performance for the next campaign
  • Reviewing feedback from off-site data insights team
  • Real-time monitoring and optimising performance of paid campaigns

Ollie Davis: Data analyst working remotely from London

  • Reporting on best-performing organic content and recommending boosting
  • Monitoring which hashtags, emojis and copy picked up highest engagement
  • Creating audience personas around each sport involved in Montpellier for targeting

These two specialists were supported by the REDTORCH on-site social team, and together achieved record engagement and fan growth across all social platforms.


3. Ensure your highlight moments achieve the engagement they deserve
Whether it’s a world first or new world record, you simply can’t pre-plan the amazing, spontaneous moments that take place during a live event. The key is to make sure these moments achieve the engagement they deserve. If used correctly, Paid media helps ensure they do.
Case in point: one of the highlights from this year’s event in Montpellier was a double backflip transfer during the UCI BMX Freestyle park World Cup Semi Finals.
Here’s a Paid vs Organic breakdown of the video’s performance.
Instagram Paid vs Organic
Views:                          123.5k vs 144.5k
Engagements:              59.0k vs 18.2k
Facebook Paid vs Organic
Views:                          208.0k vs 119.0k
Engagements:             10.8k vs 10.4k


Facebook algorithm changes have challenged sports rights holders in recent months, with some ignoring the option to spend on Paid media during flagship events and choosing to invest elsewhere. But these events provide the perfect opportunity to invest in growing an engaged and sustainable fan base.