5 Mobile Marketing Best Practices for the Olympics

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The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver represented early days for streaming video and mobile. In fact, Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad only a couple weeks prior to the start of the 2010 Games.

The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver represented early days for streaming video and mobile. In fact, Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad only a couple weeks prior to the start of the 2010 Games.

A lot has changed since then.

The growth in adoption of tablets and smartphones will launch video into an important role during these Summer Games and attract more viewers than ever before. The estimated number of viewers is at 4.9 billion, up from 4.7 billion in 2008 during the Olympics in Beijing.

Globally, these Olympics have already been dubbed "The Digital Games in part because viewers can follow the events through their choice of device. According to survey results released in July by TechBargains.com 46 percent of viewers will watch on laptops, 39 percent on desktops, 31 percent on tablets, and 27 percent on smartphones. They also have a selection of apps that offer coverage fo the Game. The official London 2012 apps, for example, enables audiences to watch everything from the Olympic Torch Relay to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as receive live updates, medal tables, and athlete profiles. The BBC and NBC also plan to stream live video. The NBC Olympics Live Extra app features the streaming of all 32 athletic competitions and the awarding of all 302 medals, while the NBC Olympics app provides content like interviews, news stories, highlight videos, and live results.

As audiences turn to these emerging mediums to watch their favorite Olympics events, advertisers and marketers shouldn't miss out on this valuable opportunity to effectively leverage the mobile platforms to deliver targeted messaging and to drive consumers to their companies' websites.

I recently spoke with Martin Hayward, director of marketing at Mirror Image Internet, on getting advice for delivering live content and ads to mobile devices during the Olympics. He listed five best practices:

1. Leverage traditional media to drive people back to your website. Brands can reel consumers in during TV ads, but prompt them to "find out what happens" by visiting their website, downloading a mobile application or 'Liking' a Facebook page." With the advancements in technology and capabilities available during these Games, it's easier to drive more traffic to websites through mobile devices or the desktop. "It will be much easier for brands and advertisers to serve up content to any device via an android, or tablet," he said.

2. Deliver relevant content. Mobile during these Games will serve as a test for marketers delivering relevant messaging. Hayward suggests at minimum, serving ads relevant to consumers' geographies with location-based offers.

3. Leverage opt-in mobile messaging. Keywords and short codes are becoming a regular part of advertising. Simply advertise a short code inviting people to text in to receive more information like discounted offers, alerts, or promotions. In a short time, you can quickly build a substantial list of opt-in mobile numbers.

4. Use device demographics. This year's ads will drive more traffic than ever but before advertisers send their ads they must first detect the different devices on which the ads are being viewed. Graphics sent to an iPad may differ than graphis for a smartphone.

5. Incorporate social media. Social media will play a key role during the Games. Survey data from TechBargains suggests about 7 of 8 Olympics viewers plan to use social and/or texting to talk about the games. As such, Hayward suggests that brands publicize their social sites through their messagin and marketing during the Olympics and actively respond to people who visit companies' Facebook or Twitter pages.

Social and mobile will help to reshape the 2012 Olympics and put viewers who don't have tickets to the Games front and center at most events. These games will serve as a test for marketers and advertisers on their ability to be front and center with viewers as they watch athletes compete.

How do you plan to leverage mobile during the Olympics?