MM Awards

Going for Gold

Mobile Marketing

James Brown, MD at Rubicon Project, explains why the Olympics will be the most digital-friendly event ever, presenting opportunities  for both publishers and advertisers to target sports fans as they consume Olympics content on their mobile devices.

Olympics GC author James Brown Rubicon cutWith the 2016 Olympic Games about to get underway in Rio de Janeiro, many brand marketers are asking themselves if it’s too late to get in on the largest sporting event in the world. At the same time, publishers are seeking to identify new ways to capture their share of the marketing gold that will pour into the games globally.

We often hear about TV consumption is increasingly going digital, but a lot of the time we’re talking the talk and not walking the walk. Euro 2016 took place a few weeks ago and it was surmised that it could be a largely digital affair – and in the aftermath, UEFA proudly touted its digital figures, highlighting its mobile-first approach to this year’s content.

However, when it comes to watching the actual games, the very culture of the Euros – and of football in general – revolves around living rooms, pubs, and open-air screens. It is an event that comes but once every four years, and is built around the social aspect of bringing friends and family together through sport.

The Olympics, on the other hand, is a different kettle of fish – and I’d argue that the format of the Games lends itself fantastically to digital consumption. Unlike a 90-minute football saga, the Olympics consists of very digestible, bite-sized content. Be it track and field, swimming or archery, a lot of the content is of a type that can happily be enjoyed on a smartphone on the way home.

Insights Report
We recently released an Insights Report we conducted on the 2016 Summer Olympics that highlighted this shift in consumer behaviour, revealing three key findings.

The first is that Rio de Janeiro will be the first truly 24/7, ‘always on’ Olympics. No one TV station or online outlet will own the narrative or the audience, as fans turn to live blogs, mobile video, sports and news websites and social media for real-time updates and post-event highlights.

Most sports fans plan to follow the Olympics online, with more than four out of 10 also planning to cut the cord and watch events via live streaming online. The rise of the always on sports fan enables content consumption at any time, on any device from a near infinite number of content sources. The most time constrained sports fans - young parents - are consuming sports videos every day online and will be looking for shorter highlight clips throughout the Olympics, rather than sitting through full-length programming.

Second, Millennials are leading the digital pack. Highly-coveted Millennial audiences are turning away from television and to digital outlets for their Olympics content. They are twice as likely to consume Olympics content on their mobile device (71 per cent v. 31 per cent) and nearly eight out of 10 (79 per cent) will cut the television cord to watch the Olympics live online.

And third, second screen presents a second chance for gold. As television advertising for the Olympics reaches a premium, 57 per cent of Olympics followers note they will have a second screen open when watching the Olympics. And Millennial Olympics fans are more than twice as likely to have a second screen open “most or all of the time” compared to non-Millennials (82 per cent vs. 48 per cent).

Digital experience
The results of the consumer survey only highlight what anecdotally many have seen first hand in the run up to the summer games - this year’s Olympics represent the first time the Games have truly become a 24/7, increasingly digital experience. The way in which sports fans plan to consume Olympics content will undergo dramatic change as mobile and online video draw millions of eyeballs away from traditional television and open new opportunities for both content creators and advertisers with hundreds of millions of connected, always on sports fans just as likely to watch an event on television as they are to stream a game online from work or watch a highlight clip on their mobile device from the road.

Both advertisers and publishers have an opportunity to leverage the shifting behaviours of sports fans and go for gold by creating compelling content and targeted advertising for audiences that are seeking deeper connectivity in real time with the games, athletes, scores and cultural news related to the world’s largest sporting event.

James Brown is MD at Rubicon Project