By Duncan Mackay

Facebook_logoSeptember 5 - Facebook is to measure the effect of London 2012 on leading brands associated with the Olympics and Paralympics, it has been revealed.

The social network giant, which claims to have 750 million active users around the world, intends to track how sponsorship of London 2012 by major brands like Coca-Cola, Visa and Lloyds TSB influences consumer habits, the Financial Times reports.

Facebook will track how news spreads around its web pages, run polls to see how marketing messages have changed sentiment around this or that brand.

This analysis will allow brands to make changes if their adverts fail, they claim.

"Going into the Olympics next year, it's hard to quantify what the word-of-mouth [benefit] of sponsorship is," said Kathy Dykeman, Facebook's lead on measurement for Europe, Middle East and Africa in the interview with the Financial Times.

"Capturing who is telling the stories and what impact it's having will help us going into 2012."

Facebook research and analytics team has already run the same initiative at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa last year.

According to a Facebook poll, it was found that videos by Umbro, the England kit sponsor, make people who saw them more likely to buy its sportswear than those who did not.

Earlier this year, Facebook launched a platform for its advertisers - both current and prospective ones - to tag brands on photos in the same way users tag other people.

Other social networks also implement such techniques of brand impact evaluation.

Last year, researchers found out that what people said about a new movie on Twitter can predict its opening weekend takings at the box office.

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