03 November 2008
Firstly, The TV Tally

Based on television audience data collected from 38 key markets around the world, The Nielsen Company estimated that just over two billion people—almost one third of the world’s population—watched the Beijing 2008 Olympics Opening Ceremony. The highest audience reach was in Asia-Pacific, where more than five in 10 people watched the Opening Ceremony, followed by Europe (30%) and North America (24%).
Firstly, The TV Tally

Based on television audience data collected from 38 key markets around the world, The Nielsen Company estimated that just over two billion people—almost one third of the world’s population—watched the Beijing 2008 Olympics Opening Ceremony. The highest audience reach was in Asia-Pacific, where more than five in 10 people watched the Opening Ceremony, followed by Europe (30%) and North America (24%).


Looking at individual markets, the percentage of people tuning into the Opening Ceremony varied widely—from the expected high of host nation China, followed by South Korea (where 44% of people watched), Greece (43%), and Australia; all recent hosts of the Summer Olympics (Seoul 1988, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004). Viewing levels were also impressive in the United States, where it is estimated that 65 million people tuned into the broadcast. Lower numbers of viewers were reported in markets such as Indonesia (8%) and Argentina (11%).

Since work and play simply can’t grind to a halt for the Olympics, many turned to the Internet to get brought up to speed on the latest sporting news, seeking comfort and illumination in the sinewy tresses of online Search.

Google’s Summer Games Doodles!

During the Olympic period, visitors to the Google homepage were greeted by a series of Olympics Doodles that reflected an emotive spirit of support for the Games. Google periodically displayed inspired redesigning of the familiar, rounded blue, red, yellow and green letters that form its logo. To mark the closing of the Olympics, it featured a dragon in place of its second ‘g’, and jubilant little cartoon animals proudly displaying medals amidst falling confetti.

To see all the Google Summer Games doodles, from badminton playing tigers to weight-lifting rats, go to http://www.google.com/doodle14.html

Olympic Gadgetry

Whether your favourite event was badminton, athletics or aquatics etc., Google’s collection of special tools assisted viewers in keeping abreast on this summer’s games in Beijing. “We’ve always been interested in providing tools for people to find out about the things they care about,” said Derek Callow, Marketing Manager of Southeast Asia, adding that the new features provided a great way for fans to stay on top of everything that went on, from beginning to end.

Internet users could track medal counts, find out where or when events were happening, even take a 3D virtual tour of the stadiums on Google Earth. A Google Maps feature brought users up to speed on event information for each country, while also enabling users to view past, future and live event information. Then there was Google’s 2008 Summer Games Gadget at iGoogle, Google’s personalized homepage. It allows users to customize their web experience, providing them their own personalized pages. Users could add on news feeds, games, and other content that matches his or her individual interests—viewable right on their homepage whenever surfing the Internet.

Furthermore, those always on the go could check out the Summer Games updates by going to a landing page, through their mobile phones, by going to m.google.com.my.

What Were We Searching For?

The biggest item of interest for Malaysians in the 2008 Olympic Games was the much-anticipated progress of our badminton team, especially with Lee Chong Wei going all the way to the singles final. But we probably don’t know half of what other Olympics-related matters Malaysians are interested in.

Now, with the help of Google Insights for Search Malaysia, namely a search trends tool, ADOI presents a roundup of the most far-out Malaysian Olympics-related search habits!

1. The 2008 Olympics was twice as popular with Malaysians as the 2004 Athens Games.

2. Badminton takes the lead in Malaysian searches over gymnastics, swimming, diving and even football, largely due to the silver medal win of Lee Chong Wei in badminton singles. No surprises there!

3. Lee Chong Wei also led the athlete searches from the start of the Olympics, surging ahead of other famous Olympians like Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Rafael Nadal and Liu Xiang.

4. There was also little doubt whose side Malaysians were on during Chong Wei’s eventual defeat to China’s Lin Dan for the badminton singles final.

5. Movie-loving Malaysians were also tuning in to the Olympics rather than checking out the latest movies, with ‘Olympics’ getting more hits than cinema chains Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) or Tanjong Golden Village (TGV) combined.

6. Despite the by-election fever heating up searches for ‘Anwar Ibrahim’, Malaysians were still upbeat in their search for Olympics news and material. Malaysian searches for ‘badminton’ tipped the scales on 17th August—the day the men’s badminton singles finals between Lee Chong Wei and Li Dan was held.

7. Interestingly, searches for ‘Olympics opening ceremony’ and ‘Olympics closing ceremony’ follow the same trends, with the opening ceremony taking a slight lead. With the fireworks-ridden closing ceremony featuring appearances by Jackie Chan and David Beckham, among others, it’s no wonder that viewers showed little hint of fading enthusiasm as the Games concluded.

8. It seems like most KL-ites were hot on the trail of the Olympics by surpassing the other States in Malaysia on online search of ‘Beijing Olympics’, followed closely by Selangor and Pahang.

And This Applies To Me How?

Google Insights for Search (http://www.google.com.my/insights/search) can lead to a host of possibilities for advertisers, marketers, and Internet users interested in finding out what’s been on Malaysian minds. This exciting tool has the capability to monitor trends, and on a grander scale, observe and compare search patterns across specific regions, categories, and time frames. See popular searches for “Banks in Malaysia”, or whether Malaysians prefer Hondas or Toyotas and more. Detailed results can be found by narrowing the date range, region, or subject. A few ways Google Insights for Search can deliver a business advantage is by means of:

• Comparing keywords to gauge interest levels and develop advertising or marketing messages

• Discovering opportunities in new geographies based on emerging trends

• Comparing a search term over time to anticipate demand and plan for seasonality

• Establishing benchmarks through comparisons against competitors or the product category

• Measuring the impacts of advertising campaigns by analyzing related search terms

For example, if you’re an advertising agency, a small business owner, a multinational corporation, or an academic researcher, Google’s Insights for Search can help you determine which messages resonate best. For example, an automobile manufacturer may be unsure of whether it should highlight fuel efficiency, safety, or engine performance in marketing a new car model. Entering these three features into Insights will provide an idea of which aspect garners the most considerable amount of interest, and perhaps ought to be incorporated into the advertising and/ or marketing strategy.

Here’s another example. Say an ad agency is hired to build a compelling advertising campaign for its client, a computer hardware company. The agency could probably use all the information they can get to build their strategy—like getting a handle on what competing brands are doing for one thing. Careful examination of the resulting highest related searches (and the rising searches) might also aid the agency in deciding how it should position the client’s product against competitors. Moreover, through better understanding competitors’ offers and claims the agency can build a campaign that is more likely to differentiate their client’s brand.

Bringing Web Search Expertise To The Tube

Google may soon make TV as measurable and accountable as the Internet is, says Keval Desai, program manager for Google’s TV ad efforts in Mountain View, California. This is part of Google’s continuous efforts to build a broad platform for advertisers to run targeted ad campaigns, a plan that evolves based on metrics, across all forms of media.

Google’s system is centred on gathering second-by-second viewer data from set-top boxes. Instead of counting mouse clicks to estimate performance, on TV the criteria is, quite aptly, remote-control clicks to determine which ads are being tuned out. Astoundingly, Google then factors in Search and Web analytics data to produce solid tracking reports right down to sales generated through spots.

This gives advertisers a pretty good picture of which ads are being seen, and which are passed over. The end goal of all this is of course to show more relevant ads to specific user clusters.

Preliminary reports indicate in the US, Google is currently reaching out to about 14 million households through access to a portion of satellite TV provider EchoStar’s Dish Network inventory. Desai said Google is in negotiations to gain access to more inventory, saying the company will announce a significant deal in the next few weeks that will greatly expand its reach. What is Google serving up in return? What better than a juicy slice of its vast base of small advertisers.

According to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, TV advertising is a US$77.5 billion market, so it’s only logical that Google would want in. Google chief economist Hal Varian is unwavering that TV will “come into the 21st century” within the next five years. But considering that when Google emerged online the Internet scene was burgeoning and taking into account the fact that TV is a well-established industry, they certainly have their work cut out for them.

This excursion into TV will entail a monumental test of whether the Internet mammoth can use its fantastically successful search advertising system in the most dominant of media channels. But if Google doesn’t stand up to the ‘Olympian’ challenge of convincing cagey cable operators and television networks it can really be a one-stop shop for purchasing advertising on multiple platforms, this idea will fizzle out before one can learn to say “Google’s Doodles”, six times, fast.


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