How the 2016 Rio Olympics Dominated Social Media [Infographic]
With the 2016 Olympic Games now in the books, both Twitter and Facebook have provided a range of data and stats on how the Olympics-related conversations dominated social over the past two weeks.
First up, on Twitter the 2016 Olympics inspired 187 million tweets and generated 75 billion total impressions.
That's up from the 2012 London Games, which garnered around 150 million tweets in total - though it is proportionally fewer, considering subsequent platform growth. Back in 2012, Twitter only had around half the users it had now.
So despite having 146 million more monthly active users, Twitter only saw an increase of 37 million total tweets. This may be reflective of the popularity of the Games itself, or it may be indicative of less engagement on Twitter over time.
One possible comparison we can use to determine this is the relative Facebook conversation volume - according to The Social Network, 277 million people had 1.5 billion interactions about the Rio Olympics on the platform. For London 2012, Facebook reported that there were 116 million posts and comments about the Games. The comparison here isn't direct (interactions vs posts/comments), but it seems pretty clear that there was a big jump in overall Facebook activity from the previous Games.
Between the two platforms, Twitter's "impressions" stat and Facebook's "interactions" are pretty closely related, which would suggest that Facebook came out well on top in overall Olympics conversation volume.
Facebook's also reported that Instagram saw 916 million interactions from 131 million users about the games.
And another interesting point of note - Facebook says that more than 15.2 million people used profile frames to show their support for their favorite teams. Of those, frames were most popular amongst users in India, the Philippines and Pakistan.
The usage numbers underline the popularity of frames and may see the option get more focus - we've written before about how sponsored frames could present a new advertising opportunity for the platform, similar to how Snapchat uses Lenses and Geofilters as interactive marketing tools, where users actually want to help spread your marketing message because the option itself is so engaging.
Facebook also conducted a test of MSQRD team filters for users in Canada and Brazil during the Games, though no word as to how often those were utilized during the event at this stage.
In addition to the base numbers, both Facebook and Twitter have released listings of the most popular athletes and moments of the Games, based on interaction volume.
Soccer got more attention on Twitter, whereas the success of Simone Biles saw gymnastics mention volume leap ahead on Twitter.
Overall, there was, predictably, a heap of Olympics related discussion on the major social platforms, but the data does suggest that Facebook came out on top. What that means, exactly, is hard to say - Twitter's always been the key source for breaking news, so you'd expect to see more tweet activity, but Facebook's also now outgrown Twitter so much (1.71 billion MAU vs 313 million) that it's hard to say whether Twitter is losing ground as the real-time leader, or Facebook is winning out purely on audience volume.
It's interesting to consider either way, but the relatively small increase in total tweets, and the comparative growth in Facebook mention volume, does indicate that Twitter may be losing a lot more ground than many had thought.
Of course, the other consideration is that Millennials just don't care about the Olympics as much as past generations have and do, which may also have played a part. No doubt we can expect more Olympic numbers and analysis in the coming months.
Follow Andrew Hutchinson on Twitter