Marketing for the Olympics

The EUROs was a tournament dominated by the unexpected. Few could have predicted Portugal’s final 1-0 win, or Wales reaching their first semi-final since 1958.

Fans flocked to Twitter to register their joy, and surprise – with over 10.7 million tweets posted by Brits during the live broadcasts of the 49 matches alone, driving more than 2.8 billion impressions – making social media the key battleground for real-time engagement.

Our data reveals three universal fan behaviours that brands can harness to conquer the Olympics this August:

1. Fans actively engage across devices


According to our latest Kantar Twitter TV Ratings study - the official industry metric for Twitter TV data in the UK - Brits clocked up an average of over 7,700 tweets per minute during the England/Iceland game, peaking at a huge 54,673 with tensions running high at 9.51pm.

Far from a game of two halves, the ‘as-it-happens’ nature of social media means public opinion changed kick-by-kick.

Rather than fans disengaging when their team drops out, our data shows that instead they change allegiance. 

The extent of mid-match engagement on the companion screen shows that there’s an opportunity for brands that can monitor and tap into the changing mood in real-time, rather than waiting for the final whistle. And with more than 800 events scheduled for the Olympics and Paralympics over the next two months, there are ample opportunities for brands to tap into shifting consumer behaviour.

2. Fair weather fans tune in


Kantar Media’s TGI data shows that whilst genuine football fans share many common traits, the EUROs – like many high-profile sporting events – have succeeded in opening up the sport to a much wider audience. In particular, we’ve seen a significant gender shift as the tournament has progressed.

The Kantar Twitter TV Ratings data showed that men far outnumbered women by 8:1 for Twitter engagement at the beginning of the tournament, but by the time Portugal faced up to France in the final match, almost a quarter of EUROs related Tweets from the UK were female-authored.

When it comes to the Olympics, it’s no different.

Our TGI data shows that true athletics fans display a host of shared interests – they read a lot of print newspapers and magazines, show a strong interest in quiz nights and cultural affairs, and have been inspired to undertake more sport since watching the 2012 Olympics. However, they won’t be the only active viewers this summer.

Whilst brands may know their core sports fans well, the ‘one size fits all’ approach could risk them excluding the ‘fair weather’ fans too. Those peripheral groups who occasionally engage with sport represent a clear opportunity for brands to extend their marketing influence around both the Olympics and Paralympics.

3. Fans stay engaged, they just switch allegiance


Rather than fans disengaging when their team drops out, our data shows that instead they change allegiance.

Despite England being knocked out at such an early stage, we calculated that – based on the greater number of positive Tweets mentioning the team – fans in the UK were behind Germany as they took on Italy in the quarter-final, and Iceland as they faced up to France the following day.

By the last game of the tournament, UK fans were still actively engaged, cheering the Portuguese team on to their final win.

These social TV analytics tools can give brands far greater audience targeting capabilities.

They unlock powerful insights that can inform decision making – invaluable with the Olympics and Paralympics offering many more unpredictable sports marketing opportunities this summer.


Search article


Related Solutions


Sport: illuminating the sport industry with powerful insights
Read more
Banner image for Television and Video
Television and video measurement across platforms and devices
Read more
Consumer behaviour: profile, segment and reach the right people
Read more
Banner image for Social TV
Social TV tools show how Twitter can amplify the power of television
Read more