Another Olympic season has come and gone and so have the sky high advertising rates from those hectic two weeks. For DRTV ad buyers, every Olympics is a learning experience and this year was no exception, so what lessons were learned in 2012?
Of the more than $1 billion in ad sales for this summer’s Olympics, $950 million of that came from the sale of national TV ad space (Response) and with an average of 32 million people watching the games each night in prime time (LA Times) the reach for advertisers was at an all-time high.
For DRTV advertisers planning ahead is key for success during the Olympics. Controlling clearance and managing inventory are necessary so not to surpass pre-determined budgets. As a general rule to meet client goals, DRTV agencies engage a higher rate of inventory in the “scatter” market. During events such as the Olympics when networks are seeing drastic drops they will reach out with their extra inventory. When orders start clearing more than usual it’s time to pull back to ensure client budgets are not being exceeded. Vigilance, communication and an in-depth understanding of the marketplace are essential in these instances.
Another key learning is the importance of strategizing ad buys in terms of the events being aired. In the future it may be wise to avoid making buys during the big events such as swimming or gymnastics when viewership is at its highest, as are ad rates.
An overview of weekend impressions in both daytime and primetime confirmed that regardless of format (i.e., news vs. entertainment) or audience base (i.e., female vs. male-centric), most networks experienced significant dips at the onset of Olympic coverage. For the 2016 Olympics, it may be advantageous to shift from certain networks, especially those whose audiences were most affected by this year’s games.
Concerns over changing viewership habits (online and mobile viewing), tape delays and large price tags were overstated as NBC and its advertisers came out on top. NBCUniversal experienced record audience numbers and amidst anticipated losses, made a small profit on its $ 1.28 billion Olympic gambit. Advertisers also saw a payoff – according to Nielsen data, Olympic spots enjoyed a 96 percent higher message recall and a 67 percent brand recall (AdWeek).
As with most things, knowledge comes with experience, so for 2016 DRTV ad buyers will certainly be comparing both the London and Beijing Olympics to help direct their buying decisions. There will always be new factors you can’t account for, even when observing past trends. The savvy agency understands the end goal is not just about hitting budgets but about creating opportunities to meet client needs.