Summertime is a historically dull period for television. Kids are out of school and parents are out of the house while Daylight Savings helps you take full advantage of the nice weather.
That means you’re stuck re-watching the same junk in Netflix for a few weeks before all of your favorite shows come back online in September-ish.
But every now and then, a sporting event kicks off a jammed-packed month where viewership spikes to all-time highs around the world.
Here’s how to capitalize on this year’s Summer Olympics in Rio.
Where the Gold Lies in this Year’s Summer Olympics
Last year’s Super Bowl (XLIX) was one of the most popular televised events in U.S. history with over 115 million viewers.
But here’s the crazy part.
The Summer Olympics kick off in a few weeks. And the viewership regularly doubles last year’s record-setting Super Bowl.
Around the world, over 4 billion (with a “B”) watched the 2012 London Olympics.
- Generated 5,600 hours of footage,
- Aired by more than 500 TV stations,
- Over 190 website and mobile apps,
- Across 220 territories.
But remember, mobile was just a baby in 2012.
Fast forward a few years to today and it’s a grown-up, annoyingly-needy toddler that literally consumes your every waking second. Mobile internet usage today has already surpassed desktop usage. While eMarketer reports that mobile video advertising spending already hit $2.62 billion last year – which is expected to be around 72% of total digital ad spend by 2019.
And what peeps are doing on their mobile devices is even more impressive.
According to Google:
“In the last 12 months alone, YouTube watch time for sports like track and field, gymnastics, swimming, and volleyball exceeded total watch time for all of the estimated content ever broadcast on ESPN by 30X.”
“In fact, search interest on YouTube was higher for the last Summer Olympics than for the last World Cup or each of the past six Super Bowls.”
What about engagement on mobile though? Are they watching or multitasking?
Again, Google chimes in with the data:
“Broad reach of millennials via smartphones aside, the research reveals something even more powerful about the experience of watching video on smartphones: It’s far less distracted. Video watching on TV was the sole activity just 28% of the time—meaning that only 28% of TV-viewing occasions were uninterrupted and fully garnered the users’ attention.”
“The rest of the time, participants were involved with another activity—such as eating, using a computer, chatting to a friend or cooking—as they were watching TV. Alternatively, video watching was the sole activity for 53% of mobile video sessions.”
This Summer’s Olympics Games in Rio is poised to be one of the most watched events of all time, and mobile video advertising is bound to explode. Here’s how to capitalize.
How to Dominate the Competition During the Summer Games
Google has surprisingly (or not, considering their vast amount of access to your personal data) strong recommendations for video advertising use during these Olympic Games.
Here are the top two takeaways to guide your Olympic advertising strategy.
1. Create story-driven content around culture of the games (not just the sports).
The Summer Olympics are about sports. Sure. But that doesn’t stop the location from commonly eclipsing the action. Because each atmosphere puts its own unique stamp on the proceedings. Last year’s World Cup served as a preview to the samba-influenced games happening this year in Rio.
The Olympics are as much a cultural event, bringing together people from all over the world and exposing them to the music, languages, and cuisine of the hosting region.
For example, during the London Summer Games back in 2012, Google reported that “London-travel related search interest on YouTube nearly doubled”. Same thing happened during the Sochi Winter Games, where “Sochi-related search interest grew more than 20x in a year”.
The Super Bowl has a similar (albeit, smaller) effect on the hosting city. This year, Visit California piggybacked on the impending new interest with a YouTube series, Bay Area or Bust, featuring Joe Montana.
Another perfect example includes Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign for the London event.
Nike had the unenviable position of trying to upstage Adidas, who was receiving invaluable brand awareness serving as the Game’s official sponsor.
Their “Find Your Greatness” campaign showcased ads with people in OTHER London cities (like the ones in Ohio, Norway, and South Africa) with the tagline “Greatness isn’t reserved for the chosen few in one special city; it can also be found in London, Ohio, and London, Norway, and East London, South Africa, and Little London, Jamaica, and Small London, Nigeria and the London Hotel and London Road.”
In each of these examples, brands successfully newsjacked the Olympic games to highlight their own unique spin on the location’s cultural messages that can appeal to the masses.
2. This approach can also expand Reach beyond just sports fans.
Yet another example of how the Olympics are more than just sports, over 1 in 3 people say they’ll watch the Summer Games even though they rarely or never watch sports content.
Google has also found that, “Olympic fans in the United States are more likely than the average YouTube viewer to also watch content about gaming (1.8X), auto (1.9X), and travel (2.3X)”.
That means one of the most powerful ways to reach these viewers will be through the intersection of other popular cultural messaging and shared interests.
Here’s the oddly specific results they came up with about the audiences of each major sport:
- Swimming: Parents of young children who drive crossover SUVs.
- Volleyball: Entertainment gurus who work in finance.
- Basketball: Fans likely to wear Nike Swoosh while also coupon shoppers.
- Gymnasts: Classic car enthusiasts and passionate entrepreneurs.
- Golf: Enjoy listening to jazz and eating Teddy Grahams.
Using options like Google’s custom affinity audiences or Facebook’s custom audiences can give you a powerful way to increase ad resonance, tapping into these cross-sections of shared interests among specific sport viewers.
Coca-Cola’s “Move to the Beat” for the 2012 London Games scratched this surface, using music (and specific musicians) to highlight the unique way music plays a part of different athlete’s lives across four different continents.
Then you can also align your brand with universally transcendent messages that appeal to all cultures. Like your Mother.
For example, Procter & Gamble created a “Thank You, Mom” campaign for the London 2012 Summer Games, depicting the central role many athlete’s mothers took in supporting each young Olympic athlete while growing up.
The campaign launched on Mother’s Day and racked up 5.7 million views on YouTube and 727,068 likes on Facebook within a few short months.
In all of these cases, Facebook’s new Canvas advertising units are tailor-made to help you tie in a unique storytelling angle with this year’s Summer Games’ popularity.
Weaving in storytelling to your mobile video campaigns with Facebook Canvas can help you attain a deeper emotional response, which has been reported to influence consumers “3-1 on television” and “2-1 on print” by Psychology Today.
This year’s Olympic Summer Games in Rio will be one of the most-watched events in history.
Past Olympic Games have proven to be among the most watched around the world, but this year it’s also coinciding with the massive adoption of video consumption on mobile.
Piggybacking on this year’s event for mobile video advertising is sure to be a hit. However, it will be amplified if you can go beyond the sports themselves and tap into the location, cultural, or shared interests among viewers.
Best of all, Google and Facebook already have the advertising infrastructure set-up to power both the (a) creative and the (b) specific audience targeting to ensure success.
The only thing left to chance is how you decide, and implement your own unique spin on this globally captivating event.
Let us know in the comments below!