The stats are in, and one clear winner from this year’s summer sports has emerged: digital media. Here’s a quick look behind the “screens” at how the web blew records away around the world, at the most wired Games ever.
Searches set a new pace
Mirroring the growth of the web and digital media, Google search volume around the world was dramatically higher this year than during Beijing in 2008:
- Driven by a 900 percent increase in [ryan lochte] searches, American interest in [swimming] spiked 25 percent higher than 2008 levels.
- The “Fierce Five” vaulted U.S. searches for [gymnastics] to almost double the 2008 peak.
- Spurred on by a record-breaking performance by sprinter Usain Bolt, Jamaican searches for [track and field] raced up 40 percent from 2008.
- Japanese gymnast and first-time gold medalist [kohei uchimura] proved he’s a “superman” in search as well as on the tumbling mat, with search volume in his home country up 420 percent over the last games.
- Success may have been sweeter the second time around for wrestler [sushil kumar], the first Indian athlete to win an individual medal at successive Olympics, with searches up more than 375 percent from the 2008 games.
Here are a few more search snapshots:
Top Athlete Searches (U.S.)
Top Artist Closing Ceremony Searches (U.S.)
Global streaming goes the distance
YouTube powered the live stream for NBC Olympics and for the International Olympic Committee’s YouTube Channel, making the world’s games even more global and accessible. NBC Olympics saw more live streams than during the entire Beijing Games—more than 159 million total video streams and more than 64 million live streams across YouTube's online, mobile and tablet experiences. In all, more than 20 million hours of total video was streamed over 17 days. And of course, the Games were also streamed on the IOC’s channel (youtube.com/olympic), with tens of millions of streams to 64 countries in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. We’ll have more details on the YouTube blog soon.
The multi-screen relay
More than ever, people experienced the Games not just via the TV broadcast, but on desktops, mobile phones and tablets. Through research panels conducted in partnership with NBC in the U.S., we learned a bit more about how this played out:
- Mobile makes a strong showing: Many viewers turned to one or more “second screens” beyond TV to keep updated on the Olympics—nearly half of those who did (44 percent) did so via a mobile phone or tablet.
- Power viewers: Second-screen viewing didn’t seem to diminish participants’ interest in watching the games on TV...in fact, it increased it. People who followed the Games on TV plus one other screen watched 52 percent more Olympics on TV than those who didn’t; people who followed on two additional screens spent more than twice as much time (105 percent) with TV. And people who watched live streams of events online watched 66 percent more Olympics on television than people who followed exclusively on TV.
- Synchronized usage: Overall, nearly 56 percent of people who followed the Games on TV and at least one other screen did so simultaneously. These simultaneous viewers also watched TV for 67 percent longer than those who only watched TV.
Gold for digital businesses
Brands who invest in digital marketing to connect with customers grow their own businesses and help make great content possible. A few campaigns that caught our eye:
- Visa’s global “Go World" campaign invited fans to show their support for Team Visa athletes in the form of cheers across social media. The campaign generated more than 59 million cheers, and Visa’s YouTube channel accounted for more than 47 million views of Visa’s commercials and athlete training videos from around the world.
- Insurance provider Zurich launched a successful “Share your Sports Moments” marketing campaign on Google and YouTube, featuring members of the German Olympic team. The result: a significant uplift in the number of leads who then signed insurance contracts.
- Lloyds TSB Bank, presenting partner of the Olympic Torch relay, conducted a successful AdWords campaign that kept pace with the Olympic torch as it passed through towns in the U.K., resulting in more than 190,000 clicks and more than 2 million impressions over three months.
Higher traffic and increased investment in the web also helped online publishers in a big way:
- In the U.S., across 2 million sites in our Google Display Network and the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, ads shown on sports-related websites increased by 19 percent, while revenues (RPMs) for these sites increased by 14 percent, compared to the two previous weeks.
- Our premium ad serving platform for publishers (DoubleClick for Publishers), which helps some of the web’s largest publishers make money from their content, broke a new record, with one major publisher serving more than 400 million ad impressions in a day across its website and mobile content—driving higher revenues and more free content.
A fun note to end on: showing how the web can fuse data and creativity while opening the playing field, one of our software engineers used Google App Engine to create a “per capita” medal tally(the data is real, the accounting is somewhat creative). On this basis, one country stands above all others—congratulations to the most successful nation of the last two weeks, Grenada!