The Olympic games start on July 27, 2012, but the race to game the social ad strategy has already begun.
For the Beijing Summer Olympics, NBC alone sold over $1 billion worth of advertising, and online publishers took an estimated $100 million in revenue. Social advertisers take note: the 2008 games happened before social advertising really got going. Even in early 2010, social advertising was just gaining a foothold, and the 2010 Winter Olympics saw advertisers foray into social efforts.
This year, they’re going all-in. The role of social in promotion of the 2012 Games will be huge.
Earned Social Campaigns for the Games in Full Swing
On Facebook, Samsung is encouraging people to follow more Olympic athletes with an earned play: a 140 Proof-like app called ”How Olympic Are You?" As part of the self-titled “US Olympic Genome Project,” the app analyzes how well connected people are to athletes for this year’s Games. (Why is it 140 Proof-like? It analyzes people’s connections to Olympics influencers, similar to how 140 Proof analyzes people’s interests based on who they follow.)
Of most interest to advertisers using the interest graph, the Games have set up an Olympic Athletes’ Hub to help people follow all their favorite competitors on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, extending the earned reach of Olympic messaging to as many people as possible and strengthening interest graph links between influencers and fans.
Brands Seek to Maximize Social Sharing
The main focus in the paid media approach as reported by several outlets is on generating a maximum number of shares.
Alex Craddock, head of North America marketing for Visa (always a major Olympics sponsor), says (emphasis ours):
The biggest challenge, I’ll call it an exciting opportunity, is with social and the importance of social in orchestrating your content across those multiple platforms. We have a lot of experience on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and are harnessing those experiences to make sure “Go World” delivers a great user experience.
The goals are around engagement and sharing. We have a multitude of different metrics we track. It’s hard to find one metric that we’ll be able to track on a day-to-day basis. It’s the level of sharing and engagement that will drive the level of success across “Go World.” We focus on three key metrics, views of the multitude of videos, the “likes” that we garnish for our Facebook page and the variety of consumer content and the cheers themselves.
But how best to encourage engagement and sharing? Since London 2012 organizers seem to be discouraging homegrown shareable media, brands and organizers must reinforce opportunities for fans to share officially sanctioned media. The best way to do that is with paid social media: make it easy for fans to share your content in social by presenting it in a social context.
Paid Social Campaigns for the Olympics Ramp Up
And paid campaigns for #London2012 all things Olympic have already begun, with brands like Visa and Sega stepping up first.
Visa launched its huge “Go World” campaign, which includes a Facebook wall dedicated to fans’ cheers for athletes (similar to Gillette’s Facebook greeting card for Derek Jeter on 140 Proof in 2011) and paid promotion of the Twitter hashtag #VisaGoWorld.
Earlier this year, Twitter promised Olympics organizers that they wouldn’t allow non-sponsors to squat the #london2012 hashtag for Twitter’s promoted products. That promise appears fulfilled so far: Only Sega, a London 2012 sponsor, is currently tagging along to Olympics momentum on Twitter to promote their latest game releases. Search Twitter for “#London2012” today, and you’ll see Sega is promoted at the top of the results.
As Olympics news in social advertising develops, 140 Proof will report more. Have you considered drafting on Olympics buzz to support a brand campaign? Let us know in the comments or send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on how social will affect the big stories of 2012, check out How Social Will Win the Election Ad Wars