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Tokyo 2020 – what worked on social during the Olympics?

The one-year delay to the Olympic Games in Tokyo allowed Olympic Summer Sport Federations an unexpectedly longer period to prepare their social media campaigns and activities for the Games. How efficiently was this extra time used? What type of content worked best, on which platforms and in what format? And how much of an impact does the content posted by the federations make in the global social media footprint of the Olympics?

The IRIS “Digital Content Report” investigates this content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube in detail, and interprets these findings in a clear and consistent way.

For example, did you know that in terms of “total videos views”, 84% of the best performing posts were recorded on Facebook. This suggests that Facebook was the most successful platform for video content – will this still be the case in Paris 2024 (or even Beijing 2022?) These videos had an average length of 92 seconds, which suggests that a short-form video platform may be able to take a larger share in future events.

The Tokyo Olympics were characterised by the additions of new sports and disciplines, which generated a lot of interest in the mainstream media – but how did they perform on social media? We found out that even with a limited owned digital outreach (Federations with a lower number of followers per platform), sports like Surfing had still gathered high interest from “earned” media, confirming the overall interest from the media/public in these new events.

Is it better to post videos or images? Our analysis showed that the ROI for videos was lower for Federations (e.g. owned media posts):

About the author:

Audrey Premand

Head of Digital, managed to write this article between two ski sessions…



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