London 2012 has been touted as the first ‘Social Games’. Social media is an important part of the BBC’s broadcasting and LOCOG’s engagement strategy – but how are people actually using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and online content to follow the Olympic Games? And does it make them feel more involved?
Information use of Olympic proportions
We thought this was a great opportunity to find out if engaging with social media makes people feel more involved with an event. So we sent out a quick survey to our Bunnyfield database and we got 676 responses.
We found out a bit about how people are watching the Games – traditional media are still important to people with:
- 94% watching events on TV
- 36% watching events solely on TV
But we also found that most people are using other devices to watch the Games:
- 80% PCs/laptops
- 36% smartphones
- 15% tablets
These devices are mostly being used to access iPlayer, the BBC and other broadcasters’ websites to watch live and/or catch up on past events.
42% of these people said they were using multiple devices at the same time – perhaps watching an event on TV while looking up background information about an athlete on a tablet or phone.
What information is most important?
Most respondents said they have access to more information than other major sporting events and the good news is that 73% also feel they can get the information they want. Most people (78%) were after results and schedules, followed by the latest stories about their favourite team (49%) or sport (50%).
How are they getting all this? Everyone is reading either physical or online newspapers and on top of this they’re using:
- Google (31%)
- the official London 2012 app (34%)
- the BBC London 2012 app (25%)
- bookmarked websites (21%)
People want to share their excitement about the Olympics so are turning to Facebook (30%) then Twitter (17%) to discuss events with friends or share a real-time experience with people anywhere in the world. But interacting with brands, Olympic broadcasters and athletes was less popular.
But has all this information changed the way people feel about the Games?
It looks like access to a wealth of information is helping most people feel part of the Games but people with tickets to an event were more likely to feel involved (83% compared to 49% of those without tickets). But, with or without tickets, people are feeling more part of the Games than other major sporting events (78%), which suggests that being able to discuss events with anyone, anywhere, anytime really makes a difference.
What can we learn?
Even before the Games started most people (with or without tickets) said they felt involved by the information they were getting and the information available during the Games has met or exceeded their expectations. This potent mixture of official and self-generated content highlights the importance of understanding of peoples’ appetite for seamless cross-channel experiences and has set a standard for future global events.