The London 2012 Olympic Games not only reached a record television viewership and digital traffic, it also blew away recent sporting events on the social media front.
According to social media research company Bluefin Labs, NBC Olympics' coverage of the Summer Games was more social than the 2012 Super Bowl, the 2012 Grammys, 2012 Oscars, 2012 Golden Globes and all seven games of the 2011 World Series combined. Bluefin also concluded that 99% of all social TV buzz between the hours of 7 p.m. through midnight was attributable to NBC Olympics' primetime coverage of the Games.
All told, 219.4 million viewers watched some portion of the 2012 Games on the networks of NBCUniversal, while the just completed quadrennium scored nearly 2 billion page views and 159.3 million video streams.
NBC Olympics partnered with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Shazam to promote its coverage of the Games onto these social media platforms. It also populated Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, and GetGlue with Olympic content.
"Actively joining the social conversation through our partnerships with these platforms, as well as calling out Olympic social trends and highlights in our linear television coverage, aided us in reassembling the ever fragmenting media audience, most notably among that elusive younger demographic," said Gary Zenkel, president, NBC Olympics, in a statement. "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...it appears we succeeded."
The following are social media research highlights for the 2012 London Olympics as provided by NBCUniversal, Facebook, Twitter and Shazam, as well as social media research companies Bluefin Labs, uSamp, Insight Express and Social Q:
From Bluefin Labs
• Over the 17 days of the Games, there were nearly 83M social comments in total, 36M of which were driven by NBCU telecasts.
• The Olympics telecasts were more social than the 2012 Super Bowl, 2012 Grammys, 2012 Oscars, 2012 Golden Globes, and all seven games of the 2011 World Series combined (36.0M vs. 32.7M).
• The Olympics completely dominated the primetime social TV conversation. Over the 17 days of the Games between the hours of 7pm and midnight, 99% of all social TV buzz was attributed to the primetime Olympics telecasts.
• The 17 days of the Olympics drove 2.4M new people to join in the social TV conversation, making the Olympics the single-largest driver of social TV conversation of all time, more than 2x the Super Bowl, which drove approximately 1M new people to join in the social TV conversation).
• Highest Daily 24-7 Olympics buzz: Sunday August 12, 11.4M comments Opening Ceremony telecast, with 5M total comments, was the most social Friday TV event of all time.
• In total, there were more than 82M comments on Twitter and public Facebook about the Olympics from July 27 through Aug 12. To equate this figure to other major multi-day social TV events, this is: more than 10 times the social buzz for the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament across CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV (7.69M across 67 telecasts); and more than 4 times the social telecast buzz for the 2012 NBA Finals on ABC (19.1M across five telecasts).
According to Facebook, there are more than 101M fans on Olympics-related pages. During the Games, those pages increased by 12.2M fans.
• Facebook also saw over 100M Olympic-related posts or comments during the course of the Games.
• According to Twitter, there were more than 150M Olympic-related tweets.
• Less than 0.5% of those included #NBCFail, the hashtag where Twitter users compiled their complaints about various aspects of NBCU's coverage from London.
• According to Shazam, there were several million interactions with their app and the Shazam-enabled NBC Olympics broadcast.
• 86% of social media users who watched NBCU coverage of the Games agree that "There was a lot of buzz about these Olympics"
• 75% of social media users who watched NBCU coverage of the Games say they read comments about the Olympics
• 54% of social media users who watched NBCU coverage of the Games say they read comments from friends and family about the Olympics
• The vast majority of social media comments posted by friends/family or by the respondents were positive
9 in 10 reported that friends/family comments on social media were mostly positive (vs. 2% mostly negative)
• 9 in 10 reported that their own comments on social media about the Olympics were mostly positive (vs. 2% mostly negative)
• Comments by friends/family members about the Olympics on social media was the top source of social media Olympic buzz, followed by posts by Olympic athletes and news/media organizations.
• 74% agree "Seeing Olympic athletes post on social media makes the Olympics feel more personal"
• 67% agree "Posts about the Olympics on social media get me excited about Olympic sporting events"
• 36% of social media users who watched NBCU coverage of the Games reported that they used social media more often during these Olympics than they normally do (only 7% reported using social media less often as a result of the Olympics)
• 66% of social media users who watched NBCU coverage of the Games this Summer report, "I am following these Summer Olympics on social media more often than I did for prior Olympic Games"
Note: Online survey conducted on Saturday, August 11, 2012 among 1,204 A13-54 social media users, who watched NBCU's coverage of the Olympics
• 48% engaged with social networking about the Olympics during an event, 28% before and 68% after the event took place.
• All devices were used to engage with social media around the London 2012 Games
• 36% Desktop/PC
• 40% Laptop
• 27% Mobile phone
• 12% iPad or Tablet
• 2% Gaming Console
• Which of the following sites have you visited or do you plan to visit for Olympics information or to talk about the Olympics?
• 30% visited Facebook for Olympics information or to talk about the Olympics (up from 11% in Vancouver)
• 12% visited Twitter for Olympics information or to talk about the Olympics (up from 4% in Vancouver
• NBCOlymipcs.com users interacted with the London 2012 Olympics via a variety of social networking methods.
• 36% Visit on Facebook
• 24% Follow on Twitter
• 27% Texting on a mobile device
• 21% Tweet, post or share content while watching the Games
• 21% Tweet, post or share content related to the Games but not when watching
• 20% Check-in while watching (i.e. Get Glue, Foursquare)
• 14% Earn social rewards related to the Olympics (i.e. badges, points, levels)
• 7% Use the Shazam app for a custom NBC Olympics Shazam experience
• App and WAP site users were socially engaged with 4% of actively sharing content via email, Facebook, Twitter.
Source: NBCOlymipcs.com, Live Extra, Uber and WAP Exploratories; 07/27-08/12/12; Insight Express
• Visitors to NBCOlympics.com were seven times more likely to have been a fan of the NBC Olympics on Facebook than an average person on Facebook.
• More than 70% of the fans of NBC Olympics on Facebook visit NBCOlymics.com once or more a day.
Source: NBCOlympics.com Site Exploratory; 07/27-8/12/12; Social Q integration