Olympic sponsors miss out on online opportunities

Global and domestic Olympic sponsors are missing a major online opportunity by not integrating search marketing into their activation strategies, according to a study.

Research by Synergy Digital, the joint venture between sponsorship specialist Synergy and digital specialist Altogether, found that none of the sponsors of Beijing 2008 and London 2012, which include brands such as adidas, BP and McDonald's, are ranking on the first page of Google's natural search results when consumers search for simple Olympic related terms, including 'Beijing Olympics', 'Olympic Games, or London 2012'.

The sponsors are also failing to take advantage of paid-for opportunities. A search for 'Olympic Games' for example returns no results on page one for any Olympic partner, with only a handful of news organisations, such as The Guardian, taking a paid search listing.

When searching for 'Olympic Games' the highest ranked sponsor is Lenovo (40th) followed by GE (48th), with no other brands featuring in the top 100. A search for 'Olympics' sees Betfair (40th) as the top ranked search result even though the brand is unaffiliated to the Games. Sega, which has created the offical Beijing 2008 video game comes next with Lenovo the first global partner on the list as low down as 272nd. Unaffiliated brands such as Nike, Times online and Sky have bought the sponsored links.

'In many specialities, blending search into integrated marketing strategies is now becoming the norm. However our research has shown that in this area at least, sponsorship is lagging behind the times,' said Ciaran Norris, SEO & Social Media Director at Altogether. 'Brands invest significant sums on acquiring & activating these sponsorships, so it seems incredible that they haven't invested the relatively small amounts that would be required to implement paid search & SEO campaigns as part of an integrated strategy.'

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