Go for the gold: How to ace your 2024 Olympics campaign

By Shani Rosenfelder
How to ace your 2024 Olympics campaign - OG image

The Paris Olympics are just around the corner. Every nation sends forth its finest athletes, showcasing and testing the limits of what a human can achieve.

And like a gold-medal Olympic athlete, achieving success in modern mobile marketing demands a supernatural talent akin to being a decathlete – requiring expertise in multiple domains. To earn gold, you must be an expert in creative, fine-tune your channel mix, drive tangible results, and deliver seamless user experiences, to name just a few skills.

This blog will serve as your training ground, where we’ll delve into proven strategies to adopt for large sporting events , highlight essential tools and channels to experiment with, and provide actionable insights to bring your Olympics campaigns to life.

Ready to be a champion?

The power of major sporting events

Tiger Woods’ hole in one. Pele tying his laces before the kickoff in the World Cup final. Usain Bolt looking back at his rivals in his record-shattering run. These iconic sporting moments have iconic brands behind them – the Nike swoosh, the leaping Puma, the Adidas stripes.

Sporting events draw millions, or even hundreds of millions,of eyeballs and exponentially more emotions. Sports signage, logos on jerseys, and traditional advertising throughout the game present an exciting opportunity for advertisers around the world. There aren’t many opportunities to draw this much attention and the type of spirit that accompanies it to a singular event outside of sports.

One study went as far as measuring billions of impressions, 61,082 seconds of brand exposure, and about $164 million in media value from the Champions League final alone; Adidas and Fly Emirates earning the lion’s share of impressions and engagements. 

Sports marketing examples

Let’s get our ideas flowing by starting with some examples of what great sports campaigns look like. We’ve handpicked campaigns with a unique approach in both their creative and its execution.

Just Eat x UEFA EURO 2020

Just Eat worked with French football superstar, Eric Cantona, who notoriously compared the media to hungry seagulls following his suspension from kicking a fan in the stands. The poetic figure delivered a series of rousing, tongue-in-cheek speeches to get the nation hyped up, leading to the big tournament. He ends with a bang and says “when it comes to crunch time, delivery is everything.” 

Uber loves Rio: 2016 Olympics

The Olympics is about exploring and celebrating different cultures around the world. In this beautifully-shot ad, Uber showcases Rio’s rich culture, cuisine, and atmosphere. The imagery speaks for itself.

Coinbase QR code Superbowl ad

The Super Bowl is the busiest, noisiest, and loudest time on American television. To stand out, Coinbase chose simplicity. They played an 8-bit soundtrack with a bouncing QR code that emulates the classic bouncing DVD logo. Intriguing viewers, the QR code led to a link offering $15 in Bitcoin to those who signed up for Coinbase before February 15th. The simple but genius ad drove 20 million QR code hits in 60 seconds, skyrocketing Coinbase from 186th place to 2nd place on Apple’s App Store.

Temu 2024 Super Bowl ad

Temu opted for a repetitive strategy. Disney-esqeue characters danced with vibrant colors, with a straightforward yet impactful message: “shop like a billionaire.” It was weird, but memorable – especially after airing six times in one Super Bowl broadcast.

Temu boasted over $15 million in coupons and giveaways.

Winning strategies for 2024

Ideas are a dime a dozen, and are only valuable when the execution matches it. A bouncing QR code would have little impact without an enticing offer backing it up. With that, let’s delve into some new strategies to help you succeed in the upcoming Olympic games.

Context and smooth experiences

Not everyone will have the luxury of a €150 million budget to plaster your brand all over the Olympics, and even if you do, you better do it right to justify it. Effective ads need two things: 

  1. Be relevant to what’s happening at the moment. Take advantage of the heightened spirits of the Olympic games. Think Under Armor’s Michael Phelps ad.
  2. Ensure a smooth experience to connect your app  to all your owned media channels (ie: from email, referral, social, web). Use deep linking to connect your audience from point A to your app without friction while collecting key first-party data to optimize further.

World class creatives with AI

Blue-sky thinking is easy, execution is not. When competition is high on the global stage, your creatives need to be nothing short of superior. This year, make the most of AI throughout the entire creative cycle to help you up your game.

Generate and iterate new ideas

Only a year ago, Generative AI tools struggled to leave the uncanny valley – every image looked eerily similar to real life, but was so clearly AI-generated. But tools like Midjourney and Stable Diffusion (and in the very near future, SORA) have turned creative execution on its head. Under Armor’s Anthony Joshua campaign is a prime example of the capabilities of AI today.

AI tools are also effective in the brainstorming process around concepts that you’ve found to be successful in your niche. Ask it to mix and match ideas, and create new ones based on existing campaigns. But of course, these should be thought starters – and the true genius comes from human creativity.

Finding more creative winners with granular measurement & optimization

AI can mix and match data points humans might miss. Modern AI tools can identify scenes and elements within a creative to allow for hyper granular analysis of every creative. 

The level of detail can be as small as the color of one’s shirt or the tone of the narrator’s voice, or the color of the car in the ad. AI can also help identify scene types like different opening or closing scenes, gameplay vs no gameplay, user generated content, animation or real life footage, and more.

When connected with performance-driven metrics like IPM or retention, marketers can truly pinpoint winning creatives. For example, the AI finds that ads that combine gameplay, animation, and user generated content without an opening scene had the best IPM.

Using AI to find the creative winner

Through & through: omni-channel consumer journeys

We all know that there’s no such thing as a linear funnel anymore; it’s a complex user journey. As we constantly go from one touchpoint to another, we need to ensure we’re reaching users where they are and connect it all together. 

We can separate these journeys into two: within mobile and beyond mobile.

Within mobile

Measuring views and clicks is insufficient; we need to capture the rich tapestry of user engagement. We’re seeing the industry moving quickly to solve this:

Meta’s engaged view: counts and optimizes for people who play your video ads for a minimum of 10 seconds (or 97% of the video length if it’s less than 10 seconds) and convert within a 1 day window.

TikTok enhanced view through attribution: EVTA measures the conversions that take place after a user views an ad for six seconds or more but doesn’t click, then goes on to convert within the attribution window (maximum seven days).

AppsFlyer’s enriched engagement types: gives different priorities to different engagement types to provide weight in the attribution logic. This includes pre-load, click-to-download, click-to-app, engaged click, engaged view, view, and listening.

Engagement types

Measuring iOS

There is no substitute for the quality of iOS users. Our data indicates ad spend is rising 25% YoY on iOS compared to 13% on Android. With the introduction of Apple’s ATT, proving ROAS became harder than ever for advertisers. 

Despite its challenges, effective measurement is achievable. The enhancements in SKAN 4, coupled with AI’s ability to address blind spots in attribution models, and the Single Source of Truth (SSOT) to dedupe and combine multiple data sources, collectively pave the way for more holistic and accurate measurement.

Alternative channels beyond mobile

Out-of-Home (OOH) and Digital-Out-of-home (DOOH)

Billboards, bus stops, and physical marketing collateral are still incredibly effective mediums. Tesco Homeplus saved busy commuters in Seoul time by allowing them to shop for their groceries while they waited for their train.

out-of-home digital marketing campaign

Drive LTV with Connected TV

It’s no secret that content consumption is becoming overwhelmingly digital. Today, connected TV stands are the most engaged audiences – especially in large sporting events. 39% of sports viewers watch via ad-supported CTV platforms or social media; equalling cable viewers. And luckily for advertisers, CTV advertising is now measurable, affordable, and proven. 

62% of brands believe CTV advertising will surpass mobile ad spend within the next 5 years. Advertisers can segment audiences at scale through programmatic advertising, which ensures ads are strategically placed at the optimal location and time, maximizing impact and performance with no expensive middleman. 

The new frontier: commerce media

more so 1st party data whose value cannot even be measured in gold. Like Walmart’s website, ride sharing taxi screens, or the hotel room TV – these are all valuable real estate for advertisers to reach their target audiences who are in the mood to shop. Taking advantage of this opportunity is the path to gold. 

Commerce media is the ad space where businesses are acting as publishers. And as we enter a privacy-centric era, the first party data that retailers have is becoming increasingly valuable. 

According to AdExchanger, commerce media has hit $200 billion in revenue in 5 years since conception. In comparison, Search Advertising hit $285 billion in 25 years. 

But commerce media succeeds when data is not only measured accurately, but shared securely between brands and retailers in a way that does not infringe on user privacy and particularly 1st party data. With the help of advanced data collaboration (DCR tech), advertisers can pounce on that very opportunity today.

Key takeaways

  1. Achieving success in modern mobile marketing demands a supernatural talent akin to being a decathlete – requiring expertise in multiple domains. 
  2. AI has enabled advertisers to take their creative game to the next level by generating new ideas effectively, testing creatives, and measuring their results.
  3. Creating journeys across channels, mediums, and devices is more important than ever to improve conversions via effective measurement within mobile and beyond.
  4. Commerce media is not a trend, but a new frontier that presents an exciting advertising opportunity that reaches the right audiences at the right time.

Shani Rosenfelder

Shani is the Director of Global Content Strategy & Market Insights at AppsFlyer. He has over 10 years of experience in key content and marketing roles across a variety of leading tech companies and startups. Combining creativity, analytical prowess and a strategic mindset, Shani is passionate about building a brand’s reputation and visibility through innovative, content-driven projects.

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