All eyes have been focused on the Olympics this past week. And one of the most commons stats seen across media outlets is the latest medal count – which country will ultimately win the most gold medals?
Behind the scenes though, it’s all about the user experience and understanding how spectators both at the events and on media channels, are responding to the Games. This involves analyzing an astounding amount of data… an analyst’s nirvana! The goal, of course, is to make the Olympic Games the very best event for all of those customers.
One of the largest worldwide research organizations, Nielsen, has been running research studies for the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games for the past three years. Their research has influenced the choice of mascot, the ticket pricing mechanism, the organization of the volunteer corps at the Olympic Park, and the execution of the closing ceremony. During the games, Nielsen deployed the latest technology and research techniques, including mobile and app-based surveys, to measure spectator sentiment. Nielsen’s research efforts have been so successful and chockfull of insights that organizers of future Olympics have already reached out to Nielsen for assistance. You can read more about some of these research initiatives here.
An even more fascinating look at the data is NBC’s so-called Billion Dollar Olympics Lab. Ok, maybe the research lab didn’t cost a billion dollars (though NBC’s broadcasting rights did), but the reams of information being gathered by the media provider is astounding. Just think about this: the network is broadcasting 835 hours of programming on 6 different channels, over 3,000 hours of live-streaming on their Olympics website and over 3,200 hours via mobile and tablet channels. Every single user visit, click and comment is being tracked and analyzed on NBC’s websites as well as via their partners comScore and Google who are capturing data from user panels.
One of the more interesting aspects of this research is a look at the so-called “simultaneous media user” - as mobile and tablet technologies have developed over the past few Olympic Games, the NBC research team has seen a significant impact of these users on overall viewing behavior and engagement. This is especially important as the digital media channels are often preferred by the younger generations, who were previously thought of as uninterested in the Olympics.
Of course, much of NBC’s research is also driven by a desire to demonstrate ROI to its advertisers. One of the examples noted from the Vancouver Games was a spike in Google search traffic immediately after a British Columbia tourism ad – a pretty obvious correlation of the impact of advertising on consumer behavior! More details on the Billion Dollar Olympics Lab can be found here.
So even though NBC has received their share of criticism over its “delayed” broadcasts of events over the past few days, the hope is that all of this great data and research will inform future decisions and result in a win-win-win – for NBC, the spectators and the Olympians.