Olympics Will Be A Second-Screen Bonanza As Fans Watch From Home, Not The Pub

Can you believe the Olympics is only four weeks away from today? For British digital marketers, the challenge with the event is that although it's the best-known sporting spectacle in the world, it is carried by the BBC. That curtails any opportunity to directly run campaigns on television while the action is taking place, unlike Euro 2016, which is shared by the BBC with ITV.

The good news for digital marketers, however, is that the Olympics is -- on paper at least -- a great second-screening opportunity. That's according to Radium One, which has been researching how we will watch the two big sporting events of the summer. The findings will tie in with what most people will already know. The football tournament sees a near even split between those watching at home and those viewing at a friend's house or down at the pub. In contrast, 97% of Olympic viewing will be at home.

This, the researchers suggest, means that people are not with the friends and relatives they might usually talk to about sport and so there will be a lot more messaging and social sharing around the Olympics -- particularly the opening and closing ceremonies for all viewers -- and of course, a decisive race for a national champion will drive second-screening in that contestant's country through the roof.

Thus, the researchers suggest that Santander, for example, have a huge opportunity with second screeners as its star endorser Jessica Ennis-Hill's progresses through each round of the heptathlon and the same for Virgin Media as Usain Bolt limbers up for each round, and presumably the final, of the 100 metres. 

So, brands can gear up for some social engagement around the key events and test out exactly how "real time" their efforts can be. There is obviously no opportunity in the UK to combine tv campaigns with search or social strategies, because there are no tv campaigns to be had. However, there is likely to be a huge increase in surfing through mobile devices during the key events. That has to be a good thing for any brand looking to reach sports fans through display, content and social strategies.

Brands, be warned -- get those messages of congratulations ready, those spoof videos approved and inspirational memes dusted off. Whatever your content strategy might suggest would engage with Olympic second screeners, get it ready and devise a way of working that allows social and content teams to work as near to real-time as humanly possible. You have just four weeks to get ready, but the research would suggest there will be a huge audience looking for mobile entertainment and information as they second screen on the sofa waiting for the next big action moment to hit the main screen.

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