The Paris Olympics are expected to attract more digital viewers than ever before. Advertisers will need to factor in content differences across countries and be agile in responding to the dynamic nature of content consumption around the Games, says DoubleVerify’s Johanna Wahlroos.

With the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games fast approaching, advertisers are sprinting to create exciting and relevant campaigns that can reach a global audience. Expected to attract a record number of viewers – and with more than 160 countries and territories expected to broadcast the Paralympic Games – this presents an unparalleled opportunity for brands to boost their visibility and engagement.

Taking part in their own competition, advertisers must explore ways to ensure they cross the finish line ahead of their rivals. Those at the top of the podium will be the ones that harness sophisticated technologies and the range of available data signals around consumer behaviour and preferences to build authentic brand connections.

Technology will be central to this Olympics, which is set to be the most digital Games in history, as the International Olympic (IOC) and Paralympic Committees (IPC), and broadcasters, embrace the wealth of digital solutions that can bring audiences closer to the action.

During the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the IOC recorded an impressive 28 billion video views across its broadcast partners’ digital platforms, representing a 139% increase from the Rio Games in 2016. Overall time spent on digital media has only continued to grow.

With all the digital content being consumed, advertisers are faced with a unique window to make an impact. So, what can they do to ensure they are engaging with the right audiences, at the perfect time, and with the optimum message?

Embracing content differences

As the biggest sporting event of the year, many would describe the Olympic Games to be all about the triumphs and rivalries between athletes and countries. However, Olympics content online is not just exclusively focused on sports. In fact, according to DoubleVerify data, the Olympics content in English included 57% content related to sports, while 43% included themes outside of sports.

Furthermore, between 14% and 19% of Olympic content features mentions of business, travel, and/or food, while around 20% of content is about celebrities. This suggests that there are plenty of opportunities for a wide range of brands, including those not traditionally associated with sporting events, to reach audiences with relevant Olympic-related content.

There are several cultural differences that advertisers have to consider, and campaigns should cater to the range of attitudes and traditions across different regions.

For example, when comparing the Olympics content in English and in French*, French content stood out with politics and society-related content (4X times compared to English), versus English content, which was more characterised by family and friendship. As such, brands must consider cultural nuances within the ads they serve, ensuring that the specific sensitivities and values of each market are reflected.

A digital-first spectacle

Brands must also be ready to react to the dynamic nature of content consumption around the Olympics and Paralympics.

DoubleVerify found that, when comparing English Olympic-related content, the top five most-discussed sports don’t remain static. In 2023, football, athletics, basketball, tennis, and dance were the most spoken-about sports online. However, this year, gymnastics has replaced tennis in the top five. When looking at the Olympics content in French, our data showed how sustainability-related topics such as sustainable transport increased 3X from 2023 to 2024.

In summary: brands need to be agile and responsive to evolving trends around the Games, whether this be major athlete news in the lead-up or the sports that are taking place each day during the event.

Becoming a champion

The Olympics represent a special moment every few years, when audiences take time out to cheer on the athletes competing for their nations. Viewers are highly engaged and emotionally invested, making them even more receptive to the ads they see.

Advertisers can capitalise on the excitement by ensuring they keep up with trends around consumer behaviour and the content they’re consuming before and during the Games.

However, when engaging with these trends, it’s important for brands to ensure their reputation is aligned with any content they’re advertising around. Advertisers must consider their media strategies, and utilise consumer insights to optimise campaigns toward the content that matters most to them and their preferred audience. As such, it’s important for advertisers to continuously test, learn, and optimise across the entire Olympic and Paralympic campaign cycle.

Brands that take the right steps toward delivering their Paris Olympics campaigns will put themselves way out in front of the field in the race to capture gold this summer.

* DoubleVerify Internal Data. Analysis was based on a sample data of content online in French and English. Content trends were analysed covering two different time periods: June–November 2023 and January–February 2024.