Mobile Advertising Goes for the Gold at the Rio Olympics

The world was watching as the 2016 Summer Olympic Games officially kicked off in Rio De Janeiro Friday night with a spectacular opening ceremony. Citizens from 206 countries watched as their athletes carried their flags, and now more than ever, they were watching on screens that fit in the palms of their hands. As mobile advertising continues to vault ahead of the competition, the 2016 Olympics provide an opportunity to showcase what makes the medium so valuable to brands trying to reach an audience around the globe.

So far NBC Sports has already increased its digital ad sales on the authenticated stream by 33 percent over the last Olympics. That number bodes extremely well for NBC as it tries to reach its stated goal of a 50 percent increase over the 2012 London games. The boost in digital ad sales has contributed to $1.2 billion in national ad sales (broadcast and digital), a number that “surpassed what we thought was an unattainable threshold,” according to Seth Winter, exec VP-advertising sales for NBC Sports Group.

Streaming live video has become one of the most important channels for mobile marketers. According to a study done by Phunware, 53 percent of those surveyed said they would be watching the games on their smartphones. That number doesn’t even include those using mobile devices as a second screen. In the same survey, 75 percent said they wanted to be able to choose which events to watch, and 63 percent said they wanted the events of their choosing to be live. This ability to stream everything live and give users the option to pick the events they want provides an advantage for digital that broadcast can’t replicate. While three to four events may be available on television, with some of them previously recorded, viewers can watch every event as they happen on their smartphones or tablets.

The chance to advertise in online videos featuring Olympic highlights also offers a way for advertisers to reach more eyeballs. Google brand partners had already accumulated 400 years‘ worth of viewing time before the Olympics even started, and, if YouTube trends continue, 65 percent of that content will be viewed on mobile devices.

Mobile, as we’ve talked about here before, provides a great entry point to developing countries. The accessibility of devices and coverage means consumers around the globe can tune in to what you are trying to say. According to the GSMA, the two fastest-growing mobile markets in the world are Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. The Olympic Games, coupled with mobile marketing, give brands and publishers a way to engage people in these areas who could not have been reached otherwise. The campaigns created for these areas have to be well thought out, however. Consumers in these areas typically have slower Internet connections than those in developed countries, and might not be using devices with all of the advanced features of modern smartphones. Marco Veremis, CEO of Upstream, says having a 0G to 4G strategy for Olympic campaigns is important. Using mobile pages that are lighter and take less time to load is one key to ensuring that your advertisements are viewed all over the world.

The Olympic Games provide an opportunity unlike any other when it comes to advertising. It’s the ultimate international event, drawing eyes around the world with content being streamed and consumed virtually around the clock. Mobile provides the easiest way to watch what you want, when you want, and where you want—and, according to the numbers so far, what people want to watch right now are the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.

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