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Will the Olympics and social media open up sponsored data to global advertisers?

By January 21, 2016 No Comments

There’s a strong possibility that the main sporting event of 2016, the Rio Olympics, could provide the kickstart for major brands to use sponsored data as a direct marketing tool.

The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will be the Social Media Olympics. Yes social was around in previous Olympics but not to the extent of what it will be in 2016. Growing social media numbers are almost announced weekly. There are almost 1.8bn social users globally which is about 25% of the world’s population. With a global event happening, people want to be on the pulse with the latest information, videos or photos. So for spectators at the Olympics, providing their followers with this content in a timely manner is vital. You don’t want to have to wait to get back to your hotel room to upload content and by that point it’s almost out of date.

Everyone knows the price of data roaming while abroad, so that’s why we switch off data as soon as we step on the plane. Imagine this, you are watching Usain Bolt in the 100m final. As soon as the race starts you record a video and finish as soon as he crosses the line to win gold. If Usain repeated the 9.63 second’s as the 2012 Olympics and you want to share this video on YouTube. Based on an Irish person using data roaming, it would cost €21.71* to upload that one video. Or a T-Mobile customer visiting from the US, the same video will cost $52.96**. Historically, tourists have a tendency to switch off their data when abroad for fear of bill shock. Although you would assume that people who can afford to travel to the Olympics would be fairly affluent, nobody could justify these charges. 

So how do visitors overcome this without astronomical data roaming charges?

One solution is sponsored data. Leading brands such as Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Nike have the opportunity to gift spectator’s free data. For these brands, they have a captive audience to offer relevant, targeted advertising in turn for some free data usage. Free Facebook or YouTube is what could be offered in return for the advertisement, so it’s a win win for the operator, brand and spectator.

As brands spend significant sums of money on above the line (ATL) marketing around the Olympics, sponsored data is a new way of getting their message across to a captive audience.

As athletes are training hard for the upcoming Olympics, Brazilian network operators need to start gearing up too. There will be an expectation that communication infrastructure will be up for the task and LTE reliability will be crucial to making this the Social Media Olympics. Operators need to work closely with the leading Olympic brands to drive the message that sponsored data is the future of such global events. 

*Post-pay Customer on the Vodafone Ireland network €6.15/MB  correct as of the 19th of January 2016

** T-Mobile US customer at $15.00/MB correct as of the 19th of January 2016