Rio Olympics - the biggest social media event ever

While much has been made of the Rio Zika virus, the only thing on the minds of advertisers is whether their Olympic marketing campaign will go viral.

With a global audience of billions, the Olympics is the dream event to gain the most bang for your advertising bucks.

And this year it looks like social media could be the star athlete to collect a swag of gold medals at Rio de Janeiro.

The largest social media event ever, with two screens

Adweek reports that Brian Yamada, Chief Innovation Officer of VML digital advertising agency, expects the 2016 Olympics to be the "largest social media event ever."

And Cathy Hackl writes in The Huffington Post that according to Global Web Index, 85 percent of viewers are expected to use a second-screen during the Olympics.

"3.6 billion people will watch the Games on TV, with 3.06 billion doing so while holding their smart phones and tablets- gigantic numbers, as well as a massive opportunity for marketers to engage with audiences across the globe."

Social media is pre-booking big numbers

However it isn’t just marketers gaining from social media - organisers of Rio 2016 themselves also have huge numbers of followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, with 1.4 million, 293,000 and 163,000 fans, respectively.

This has enabled a huge audience to be built leading into the Olympics, ensuring massive exposure and anticipation for Rio - a jump-start that previous events have never had.

Rio Olympics has been providing its audience valuable content on Facebook, including a day-by-day update of the torch relay, along with profiles of participating athletes.

On Twitter, they’re using polls to see which team that people are supporting in different sports - a great way to encourage audience participation.

This increased engagement means people no longer have to actually be at the stadium to feel they’re part of the event- social media gives them a virtual pass to the games, where not only can they be fans, but also commentators and referees.

Video will be the content star

Expect Snapchat to reach new engagement heights.

As I wrote in an earlier article, Gary Vaynerchuk has championed the medium:

“One major reason Snapchat is winning, and will continue to win, is not only its focus on video, but how you create video content. The storytelling capabilities around how people create content on Snapchat is fantastic. There is so much room for creativity, and it reminds me far more of a space like YouTube than Twitter. It’s also an especially interesting platform because the consumer attention it has is very deep. Snapchat hasn’t quite matured or “sold out” yet, but it’s boasting an enormous amount of daily active users.
In December, 36% of Americans aged 18-29 had an account, and they are now reporting 7 billion videos views each day, rivaling Facebook. But while the platform is big and has lots of opportunity, it’s still quite young.
We are just now starting to see the first signs of Snapchat aging up. It’s about to go through its first 20-to-40-year-old renaissance, and that is very exciting. It’s a huge platform, but it still has a solid 24 to 36 months ahead of it that will be of great importance.”
Gary Vaynerchuk. Image credit - The Huffington Post

Gary Vaynerchuk. Image credit - The Huffington Post

Sport - the great unifier

Brian Yamada of VML advertising, continues pulling the heart strings:

“The PSA films feature the line 'together we can change the world' as a platform to deliver a message of how sport can foster a sense of hope and togetherness—the kind of togetherness that can make a real difference, with sport being a great unifier across people and cultures.”

Watch the video -

Make way for the new millenial media

Historically, the Olympics were experienced through more traditional – and often exclusive – channels.

Now however, social media has become a significant way audiences engage with live sports, as well as brands and advertisers- in essence becoming the living embodiment of the message of togetherness the Olympics promotes.

Social media looks set to stand on the podium above traditional broadcast marketing at the Rio Olympics. It powers the themes of this magnificent event - a celebration of humanity.

That's a virus worth catching. 


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