How personalized moment marketing found scale in Rio

by John Snyder, Grapeshot CEO

Unlike traditional Olympic marketing efforts, which have taken a sledgehammer approach to the audience, 2016 Rio will be remembered as the  Olympiad that truly ushered in the era of personalized moment marketing. The rise of data driven marketing has allowed brands to take a scalpel-fine approach to reaching individual consumers with targeted messages  based on the trending Olympic stories that interest them.

Forget  bombarding broad audience segments with the same messages now we can  serve personalized, relevant ads in real time to real people.  Ads that are based on a vibrant real-time consumer feedback loop. This dynamic two-way interaction offers brands the chance to generate engagement at levels never previously reached.  Personal marketing in the moment and at scale is a huge opportunity now at  advertiser fingertips.

The Ryan Lochte scandal generated a ton of online social media buzz over a sustained period.  Being able to track fans’ reactions over time provides ongoing insights for brands to adjust their digital messaging on a dime. Even spikes in chatter around a relatively obscure topic  can impact how a global advertiser might alter its plans.  Reportedly, spikes in Italian language conversations occurred when a swimmer from Italy in the aquatic marathon moved up from a Bronze medal to a Silver due to a disqualification.

This degree of micro-marketing against a  tent-pole sporting event is far removed from how brands approached it in the past.  Global brands would lay out their multi-million dollar sponsorships well in advance.  The media plan would revolve around local, on-the-ground activation of a robust promotional plan This plan worked hand in hand with a sizable network and cable TV ad buy.

In 2016, brands are collecting and applying data in unparalleled volume.  As a result, marketers are approaching major events like The Olympics differently, with media buys fragmented across a multitude of digital and analog platforms in a way that affirms the elusive fragmentation of their audience segments.

If you think back on all of the iconic moments from past Olympiads–from the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. hockey team to the sustained dominance by performers like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt–imagine how much greater the brand ROI could have been if marketers had  access to real-time advertising tools.

This year marks the first  Olympics where real-time conversations trending on myriad social platforms have been captured. These conversations form the core of personalized moment marketing, allowing marketers to reach specific audiences programmatically with relevant creative. For the first time, brands are able to truly become part of the story.


  • Grapeshot is a New York and London based privately-owned keyword technology provider that provides audience and keyword targeting and analytics solutions in open and private programmatic environments. Grapeshot builds connections for brands, publishers, buy-side and supply-side partners using our page crawling algorithm. Grapeshot’s core technology and product suite offers a fully customizable, transparent and scalable solution, giving our clients simple, integrated control over brand safe targeting. Grapeshot is integrated with all major programmatic trading marketplaces including AppNexus, MediaMath, Turn, The Trade Desk, Adform, iPinYou and AOL. Grapeshot receives over 2.5M QPS, 3T classifications per month, recognizing 100+ languages and returning standard and custom segments in 25+ languages. Grapeshot builds connections for brands, publishers, buy-side and supply-side partners using our Advanced Keyword Technology.
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