The Summer Olympics has always been an important event for audiences and publishers alike. Just four years ago, the London Olympics became the most-watched TV event in U.S. history. Since then, the only thing that has really changed is the vast amount of opportunities that audiences now have to keep up with the Games, and that publishers have to keep up with those audiences. A majority of viewers are still watching live coverage on their television screens, but are increasingly dependent on mobile video platforms, or “second screens,” to keep up with and learn more about each event. As each platform jumps aboard the digital video train, publishers need to learn how to leverage each new opportunity to fully participate in this quadrennial event.
This year, the platform of opportunity is Instagram. According to Tubular Labs research over the last 90 days, 1 billion online video views have already accumulated from posts specifically about the Rio Olympics - with 586 million of those views attributed to Facebook, 552 million to YouTube, and 29.9 million to Instagram. When it comes to views per post, however, Facebook sees an average of 27,383 views, YouTube sees about 17,692, and Instagram sees a whopping 29,002. With such a high chance of engagement and a comparatively empty competitive space, it’s clear that publishers should be giving their Instavideos a heavy boost of TLC over the next few weeks. By following these practices for Instagram-approved videos, publishers are sure to take home a W.
Follow the 4 S's of Social:
Square & Short(er)
We said it once, and we’ll say it again: keep your videos Square & Short (and Silent & Sexy… more on that next) if you want them to look great on a smartphone screen. This format should be followed for all social videos, but especially for those on Instagram - while Facebook et al. have large mobile audiences, Instagram’s audience is pretty much mobile-only. According to Adriana Garcia, director of digital communications at the Rio 2016 organising committee, so is this year’s Olympic fan base: “If London were the social media games, these will be the mobile device games… We expect up to 85 percent of our audience to come from mobile devices.” Want to learn more about why it's hip to be square on social? Find out Wibbitz CEO Zohar Dayan's take on the trend in his interview with Beet.TV!
When most users look to their phones for Olympics coverage, or for Instagram videos in general, they’re not necessarily looking for a play-by-play of that day’s event. These videos should be as quick and to-the-point as possible, just long enough to show viewers what they missed or comment on what they already saw. According to Newswhip data on BBC News Instagram videos, the average length of those most ‘liked’ were 32 seconds, and those that were longer did not exceed 60.
Silent & Sexy(er)
Just like its predecessor and most other social video platforms, Instagram videos are muted by default. The visual appeal of the media footage and transitions should make up for the lack of sound, and be able to tell the same story as it would with the sound on. But when it comes to Instagram videos in particular, the visual aspect is even more important - the video must also be able to stand out amongst the beautiful imagery that is native to a user’s Instagram feed. The use of colorful text overlays with exciting transitions is the best way to add that extra visual layer while still communicating the story.
Check out this Top Story video created in the Wibbitz Control Room platform. By following all 4 of S’s of Social Success, it’s officially qualified to compete on an Instagram feed:
During Event: Join the conversation as it happens
The real MVP of broadcast TV at the moment is undoubtedly NBC - and their rights to this year’s live Olympics coverage have made it a bit more challenging for competitors to cover the games. But once you take a look at the deals that NBC has made outside the TV screen - namely, with Snapchat, Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram - it’s clear that these platforms are just as important for reaching audiences during (and before and after) these events. Publishers that do not have the rights to live coverage (read: anyone not owned by NBC) can still become a key part of the conversation in real time by following NBC’s lead and placing even more of an emphasis on social video content. Real-time coverage is even easier with the Wibbitz Control Room. As soon as, say, Michael Phelps wins his 21st gold medal, the footage is available and ready to be published:
Pre-Event: Prepare audiences with Teasers & Backstories
While we’re on the subject of real MVPs, no one is more critical to the Olympics, and the conversation surrounding them, than the athletes themselves. Instagram has become home to the first-hand accounts of the summer’s biggest stars, along with their millions of followers hoping to get a taste of their victory. By packaging pre-event coverage into a video like the one below, and posting it on Olympians’ preferred platform, publishers can ensure audiences will know when to tune in, and what they should know about the athlete before they take the stage.
Post-Event: Catch up audiences with Highlights & Recaps
Although it feels like a holiday, most of the Summer Games tend to happen during work hours. Instagram videos are perfect for recapping the day’s events, and highlighting the most exciting parts for those too busy to sit in front of a TV all day. Daniel Haddad, director of commercial consulting at Octagon, sums it up best: “If all I care about is the moment when gold medal is won, I don’t have to sit and wait two hours for that to happen.” Check out this Instagram-ready recap video created by our in-house Newsroom: