Millions of people have been patiently waiting for the return of the most extraordinary sporting event held every four years, the Summer Olympics. For many, watching the Summer Games is a legacy ritual associated with family, friends, and nostalgia.
The 2021 Olympics are expected to be a landmark event for the growth of digital advertising. According to eMarketer, digital advertising spending will cross $191 billion this year, accounting for over two-thirds of total media ad spending.
After the delay from last year, the anticipation has never been greater for the Summer Games, and this year’s games are expected to be the most digitally-viewed Olympics in history. With more ways to watch than ever before, people will be watching the events and checking outcomes closely.
Like other large sporting events, there is a huge opportunity for brands to reach millions of viewers on a TV ad spot. Still, marketers are asking, what is the most effective way to reach consumers without blowing the budget on a single ad spot that could land outside of a headline event. There are actually quite a few factors and alternative tactics to consider when strategizing around the Summer Games this year to maximize your budget.
How are people watching?
Connected TV (CTV) has taken the place of traditional TV as the primary means for watching live sporting events on the big screen. Throughout 2020 the number of CTV users reached over 203 million in the US alone. With this transition away from traditional television, the media landscape continues to become more fragmented and less predictable for advertisers.
While CTV devices are a primary viewing device, users’ attention spans are constantly fought over and split up between several screens at once. According to a survey conducted by AdColony, 46 percent of users plan to watch the Summer Games on multiple devices, and 45 percent are planning to watch on smartphones.
These stats indicate a shift in consumer behavior, and marketers should adjust their strategies. There won’t be massive amounts of inventory reaching audiences using CTV advertising. Instead, consumers will be streaming video content on multiple device types like mobile, desktop, connected tv.
Effectiveness in advertising isn’t just about reaching the biggest audience on the biggest screens possible; your message must connect and resonate with consumers. Resonance in marketing is often best achieved through honing in on a relevant, trackable group of users and connecting with them through diverse strategies. One tactic that allows marketers to drive awareness with consumers is cross-device targeting. By serving ads to the same people on all their different devices, customers can become more aware of your brand and take action on your ads when they are ready.
Along with viewers watching on several devices, the timing and location of the Summer Games will also affect the number of users in the US actually watching live.
Want to dive deeper into connected TV buying for special events? Check out our podcast episode here.
When are people watching?
With the Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan this year the time difference will impact live viewership in drastic ways. People are going to be watching, in some form, pretty much at all times, which makes for many different ways to reach consumers before, during, and after the opening and closing ceremonies.
Marketers should be looking beyond live TV to stay top-of-mind with viewers. Considering the timing of live broadcasts will take place on a thirteen-hour time difference between Japan and the US eastern time zone, it’s safe to assume that most US viewers won’t be watching events live on TV. Most people will consume the games on their own schedule through replays and highlight clips of their favorite events, as well as news updates on the results the following morning. This is why an omnichannel strategy is so important for a massive event like this. Marketers have the ability to remain present at every point of the viewers’ experience by utilizing tactics like mobile and video advertising in combination with cross-device targeting to reach users as they transition from screen to screen and consume content from multiple channels.
Who are people watching?
While the Summer Games are obviously centered around a global competitive spirit and sporting events, the athletes themselves have developed massive followings as well. The influence celebrity athletes have during the Olympic season reaches far beyond the events they participate in. Leading up to, during, and after the headlining sporting events, celebrity athletes are participating in a variety of media coverage on several platforms that provide unique advertising spots separate from the highly competitive Olympic space. By utilizing tactics like contextual keyword targeting marketers can target users interested in specific stories and athletes outside of the context of their sporting events, while still capitalizing on the Olympic spirit. The personal brands that athletes create can help narrow in on unique demographics while still targeting sports fans in a different, potentially less expensive, ad space.
As we approach the Olympic opening ceremony, it won’t just be the athletes competing. Marketers are already vying to capture consumer attention. With an event this large, it is crucial to create a strategic omnichannel digital marketing plan that maximizes your budget and reach, while developing resonance and brand recognition with consumers. By considering the availability and cost of high-impact inventory, the diverse ways users are planning to consume content, and the number of different media opportunities throughout the events, marketers can leverage digital advertising campaigns that will resonate with users and build brand awareness.
About the author:
Zack is a Content Specialist at Choozle – Easy Digital Advertising®. Always learning and connecting the dots, Zack helps translate some of the tougher answers to simple questions marketers ask themselves. Outside of the office, Zack loves hunting for old vinyl to add to his collection and picking up garbage on his favorite walking trails.