While athletes from around the world were putting their skills to the test in London this summer, the research teams assembled by NBC made an Olympian effort of their own.
Leading up to the Games, NBC’s research teams created a survey that would poll over 50,000 participants on their experiences with NBC’s coverage on television, on the Web, on mobile devices and in social media.
The Games are obviously over and the preliminary numbers (the full results won’t be revealed until next week) are fascinating. According to a report in The New York Times, the numbers show:
- 217 million people in the U.S. watched the Games, the most for any event in history.
- 8 million people downloaded NBC’s mobile apps.
- People who followed the Olympics on four devices—TV, tablet, smartphone and computer—followed an average of 5.5 hours per day as opposed to those who just watched on TV, who averaged 3 hours and 12 minutes.
In social media, mobile and online:
- There were 83 million Olympic-related comments on social media sites (4.9 million a day).
- There were 2 billion page views across all of NBC’s Web sites and apps.
Armed with this knowledge, and a whole lot more data collected, NBC shifted some policies on the fly and will shift other tactics in the future. Among other things, NBC learned the power of streaming content, which has convinced them to stream more NFL games to subscribers. They also learned a lesson as the Games went on: After failing to live stream the opening ceremony, they learned going forward that live streaming wasn’t hurting viewership at night. So they made sure to live stream the closing ceremonies.
The lesson for anyone trying to deliver brand messaging is clear. Long before you start to embark on any campaign, know what you want to measure, put the tools in place to measure and then use the data you’ve collected to make real-time adjustments to the current campaign, while using the lessons learned for all future campaigns.
Numbers don’t lie, but they don’t say anything unless you listen to them carefully.
PR News will be addressing issues and tactics relating to social media measurement on October 2 in New York City at our Social Media Measurement Conference.
Follow Jon Gelberg: @Jon_Gelberg