1 Week Before the Rio Olympics — Is a Buzz Finally Starting on Social Media?

by Steve La Barbera

The Olympic Games Begin August 5, but Chatter on Social Channels Has Been Slow

The Rio games are unique in a number of ways… It’s the first time the games will be held in South America, and face a number of unprecedented problems such as the Zika virus, water pollution, security and apparently now an “unlivable” athlete’s village according to the Australian Olympic Committee.

Despite these serious challenges, it seems that given the violence going on in the western world lately, that many people are focusing their social content on other topics. More on that later…

First, let’s take a look at the growth in social media audience acquisition for the Olympic Committee of our key countries. The first thing we notice is that Instagram is quickly gaining in popularity versus other social platforms in each of these countries over the last few weeks.

% Growth in Followers of the Canadian Olympic Committee Each Week
% Growth in Followers of the Australian Olympic Team Each Week
% Growth in Followers of the British Olympic Team Each Week
% Growth in Followers of the American Olympic Team Each Week
Brazil is an outlier as it is the only country we’re tracking where Instagram isn’t the fastest growing audience

Now if we take a look at this audience acquisition by country, we’ll see that Canada and the UK are growing far slower than any of the others. Brazil started from well behind in number of followers, but is beginning to bridge the gap… and across the board, Twitter is the slowest growing of the platforms we’re monitoring:

At this point you may be wondering what the total follower numbers for these accounts look like. Here they are:

Not Surprisingly, USA has the most total followers

However, despite this lackluster growth… Canada remains the country with this highest proportion of its population engaged with the olympic team on social media.

At this point, in Canada and Britain, follower numbers are high, but audience acquisition is slow.

Among these countries… the volume of tweets related to the Olympic Games has remained relatively low since July 4:

Team USA has had the most people engaged among these countries, largely because of the country’s population and large social audience for their Olympic team

The most common words in tweets associated with the Olympics from these countries are listed below. We see some words like Rio, Athlete and Olympic pretty much across the board. However it’s interesting to see what words are unique to each country. While the US is focussed on basketball, the UK is thinking more rugby, which is now in the Olympics for the first time in 92 years. Rugby was up there in Australia too, but not in the top 10… our Aussie friends were chatting more about the conditions of the Athlete’s village, which they apparently found sub-par. And I was pleased to find that my countrymen are talking about the flag, and perhaps most importantly… GOLD!

These are the most tweeted words related to the Olympic teams of each country

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