U.S. Olympic Committee experiences a digital explosion during Games
August 9, 2012 09:07 AM
The USOC’s digital increases the last two weeks include an 82 percent jump to 2.5 million in unique visitors to its website; a 79 percent increase in subscribers to its new YouTube channel; a 20 percent increase in Facebook engagement; and a 170 percent increase in Twitter followers to more than 285,000.
The increases are falling line in with the USOC’s strategy before the Games. The organization wanted to amass a huge audience on its social platforms so that it could continue to directly send them information and drive them to TeamUSA.org after the Olympics when most people begin to shift their attention to traditional sports like football and basketball.
“We’ve been focused on asking, ‘What can we do now to grow social platforms so we can extend interest after the Games?’” said Sarah Hollis, USOC senior director of digital media and broadcast services. “We’ve been able to do that so far.”
One of the biggest success stories for the USOC on the digital front has been increases in subscriptions for its YouTube channel. The channel is one of only a handful that YouTube is funding, and the USOC used that funding to develop videos about its athletes, film interviews with athletes and film segments around London.
The total number of subscribers to the channel, which launched in the spring, has risen to 21,000. By comparison, Alli Sports, which runs the Dew Tour, has 44,000 subscribers for its channel.
The new subscribers come at an important time for the USOC. Claude Ruibal, YouTube’s head of sports content, said he plans to make decisions later this year about what sports channels will continue to get YouTube funding. He met with USOC chief marketer Lisa Baird about it this week in London.
The other big improvement is the increase in the number of people interacting with Team USA content on Facebook. Historically, only 5 percent of the USOCs fans on Facebook click “like” or comment on posts, but during the Games, that total has risen to 35 percent.
For example, a recent video that was posted featuring Gabby Douglas highlights from the U.S. Olympic Trials last month got 220,000 “likes.”
“It’s getting into more people’s news feeds and extending the reach we have to a broader audience,” Hollis said.
The USOC has been producing 10 to 15 pieces of content for its website a day, ranging from photos to articles to videos.
It has been able to monetize the site, as well. The organization sold Games-time packages to existing sponsors Coca-Cola, Devry and Procter & Gamble. Each paid to brand a section on the organization’s website.