If you’ve ever wanted proof that social media is relevant, then look no further than the London 2012 Olympic Games. According to social media research firm Bluefin Labs, NBC’s coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics was more social than this year’s Super Bowl, Grammys, Oscars, and all seven 2011 games of the World Series combined!
The NBCUniversal page received nearly 2 billion views and 159.3 million video streams, as more people elected to tune into the Olympics wherever they happened to be. For the first time, NBC partnered with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Shazam to extend their reach across social media platforms. Special apps were created to promote the games and enable live streaming, as well as access to special feature content and downloads, via mobile phones or tablets.
“Going into the Games, our social media goal was to be the life of the big Olympic viewing parties thrown by Facebook and Twitter over the 17 days of the Games,” said Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics. “It appears we succeeded.”
2012 Olympics: Social Media Stats
- Facebook saw over 100 million Olympic-related posts or comments. (Bluefin Labs)
- Twitter saw more than 150 million Olympic-related tweets. (Bluefin Labs)
- There were 7 million interactions with the Shazam-enabled NBC Olympics broadcast app. (Bluefin Labs)
- 75% of social media users who watched NBC coverage of the games said they read Olympic posts. (uSamp)
- 9 in 10 people reported that Olympic-related posts by family and friends were positive. (uSamp)
- 74% agree that “Seeing Olympic athletes post on social media makes the Olympics feel more personal.” (uSamp)
- 67% agree that “Posts about the Olympics on social media get me excited about Olympic sporting events.” (uSamp)
- 68% posted about the Olympics after, 48% during and 28% before an event. (Insight Express)
- The most popular social tools included laptops (40%), PCs (36%), mobiles (27%) & tablets (12%). (Insight Express)
Individual Athletes Benefit From The Social Buzz
- There were 80,000 tweets per minute after Bolt won the gold medal for the 200m sprint.
- Gymnast Gabby Douglas went from 14,358 Facebook fans (7/27) to 608,000 fans (8/15).
- German gymnast Marcel Nguyen leaped from 7,567 to 200,000 fans in less than two weeks.
- Usain Bolt had 926,756 total mentions on social media; Michael Phelphs 828,081; Tom Daley 487,835.
- Additionally, soccer, basketball and volleyball were the top sports to benefit from social buzz worldwide.
- In America, swimming, gymnastics and basketball got the most attention among social media users.
Companies That Benefited From The Olympics Social Media Buzz
Naturally, NBC came out a huge winner in all of this. Viewership was up 12 percent from Beijing, with 31.1 million people tuning in each night. Certainly there were many factors that drove interest in the summer Olympics this year, but the explosion of social media is “the one big change in the media landscape,” says Lee Rainie, director of Pew Research. For instance, Facebook grew from 100 to 900 million users over the past 4 years.
The contrast between Olympic sponsors and non-Olympic sponsors is amazing. Non-sponsor Nike was visible around London with a billboard campaign celebrating everyday athletes, but official sponsor Adidas saw a 44 percent increase in website traffic (compared to 10 percent for Nike), according to Experian Hitwise data. Samsung saw a 111 percent boost in traffic, thanks to Olympic social media buzz. Cadbury saw site visits increase by 41 percent. Mars received 29,740 Twitter mentions, thanks to their sponsorship.