With just three months to go until the Olympic Games, UK sports fans are already hotly anticipating the arrival of Rio 2016 in August, with 34% saying they are ‘obsessed’ with the event, rising to 58% for male respondents, new research finds.
The report by RadiumOne, which seeks to gauge people’s attitudes of the Games, while looking at brand associations and how people consume content, is based on a survey of 1,000 UK adults and an analysis of more than 35 million instances of Olympic-related content that people have shared and engaged with online. In addition to the ‘obsessed’ fans, the survey shows that a further 42% of people define themselves as ‘engaged’, meaning 76% of the public has a good level of interest in the event. When looking at just a male audience, the number that describe themselves as ‘engaged’ rises to 49%. But as the games will be in Rio, Brazil, where and how can brands get involved?
As one of the most tightly policed sponsorship properties, the Olympics is difficult to exploit for non-sponsor brands, but focusing on timely product promotions and intelligent media buying will offer the chance to be top of mind at the key moments. The biggest opportunity for brands to reach consumers by being associated with the Olympics is within the home, as the survey finds this is where 97% of respondents will be watching the Games. One-fifth will do so in the pub, 18% at a family member’s house and 13% at a friend’s house.
More than half (59%) of people are likely to share content about the Olympics and 43% will do so at least once or twice per day. The most popular time for sharing content is during an event (56%) and after an event (53%). Smartphones (25%) and laptops (21%) are the most popular devices for sharing.
Second-screening poses a huge opportunity for brands too, according to the survey, because although 76% of viewers will watch the Olympics on TV, 64% will engage in other activities at the same time. Over half (59%) will use a smartphone and 47% will use a tablet. While watching events unfold, 20% will chat with others about what is happening via online platforms, 19% will search for extra information online and 16% will post a comment on social networks.
Rupert Staines, European managing director at RadiumOne, says: “The Olympics provides a sustained series of ‘moment marketing’ opportunities for brands. Particularly if they can connect the second-screening usage at key ‘glory’ moments on TV, [including] the opening and closing ceremonies and the BBC highlights show, and individual events.”
This gives brands the opportunity to sync ads with specific events by targeting multiple connected devices with a similar profile to the TV audience in terms of socio-demographics and geography, he adds. “It’s about taking a TV moment and using technology’s capability to extend audience reach for an ad in real-time, achieving better engagement and ROI.”
In terms of content, the Olympics opening ceremony is the most popular event for 71% of respondents, while 60% express interest in the closing ceremony and 56% will watch the highlights shows. The most popular sports are athletics (67%), football (51%), tennis (50%), gymnastics (49%) and aquatics (45%).
Looking at specific brands that people associate with the Olympics without being prompted, Coca-Cola is the most commonly mentioned (21%), followed by Nike (14%) and Adidas (9%). When prompted, Coca-Cola is still the most frequently associated brand, at 67%, while Visa and McDonald’s both register for 57% of people and 48% for Samsung.
These figures differ by age group as Coca-Cola’s association with the event peaks among 35- to 44-year-olds (71%); Visa’s and McDonald’s unprompted awareness peaks among the 25 to 34 age group at 67% and 65% respectively.
These sponsors will have big-budget campaigns in the works already but non-sponsor brands can also capitalise on Olympic content by targeting consumer who share it, including via channels that cannot be measured by web analytics, such as instant messenger apps, email and forums, which are also known as ‘dark social’. The research reveals that 72% will share content through these private channels and a quarter (24%) will only share this way. “The best way to unlock ‘dark social’ is via sharing tools, such as URL link shorteners and the sharing widgets around articles,” says Staines. “People who share and receive content via these means can subsequently be targeted with relevant messages across the web.”
He adds: “Sharing content online indicates a strong degree of real-time intent that can be used to greatly enhance real-time campaigns, particularly programmatically.” For example, when athletes achieve a world record it will be heavily shared, so a brand associated with timing, such as watch maker Tissot, or performance, like car marque Porsche, could identify people interacting with this type of content and send them related messaging, suggests Staines.
The level of interactions via private channels differs from event to event, though, because while 85% of respondents would share content about football using these platforms, only 68% of those watching golf plan to do so. For cycling it is 83%, the triathlon 78% and rugby 77%.
With just over 100 days to go until the sporting event kicks off, even those brands not directly associated with the Rio 2016 Olympics have time to engage with this ‘obsessed’ audience of fans.