Olympic-sized Traffic Spikes for Misty May Sunglasses or, the Online Effect of Offline Wins

Since the London Olympics kicked off with Friday’s opening ceremony, the games have been the hot topic on everyone’s mind. Yahoo Sports estimates that 40 million viewers tuned in for that opening ceremony. If only a small fraction of that tune in at any given point over the coming weeks, that’s a lot of eyes.

If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt familiar with the habit many people have (including me) of constantly Googling stuff, via phone, tablet, or laptop while watching TV. If I see a commercial for a movie, I’m on IMDB within seconds. If I want to checkout a website mentioned in a show, I’ll get there immediately. If I see an athlete tearing it up in the Olympics, I’m looking at what Google can tell me about them. So are other people looking up information on the Olympics while they’re watching it? You bet! Are people Googling their favorite athletes WHILE that athlete is competing? Without a doubt.

The SwellPath team has the pleasure of working with Nike Vision to help drive their SEO and analytics tagging strategies. We also provide them with data about how their site performs to help them make educated decisions about what they do online. So, while watching the USA’s Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings take on Natalie Cook and Tamsin Hinchley in a heated game of beach volleyball, I decided to take a look at the real-time traffic report in Nike Vision’s Google Analytics account. For those who don’t know, Misty May-Treanor is sponsored by Nike and wears Nike Vision sunglasses during her matches. I figured, “if there are millions watching this match right now, I bet some are searching for info about her sunglasses.” If you were watching the match, that Nike Swoosh was hard to miss.

When I hopped into real-time Google Analytics, I saw just what I expected to see: a huge spike in visitors, right at that very moment, checking out a blog post we optimized about Misty May signing on to Nike Vision! It was pretty damn cool. I saw this trend continue throughout the match and then saw it repeat the next time Misty took to the court.

In total, traffic to Misty May blog content on received 1,121% more unique visitors between July 28th and August 2nd (6 days) than they did in all of June (30 days). Non-paid organic was up over 1696% during that same timeframe!

The Moral of the Story

The quick version is, what happens offline affects what happens online. If you have an athlete, actor, or other high profile person associated with your brand, make sure you have content on your website that can capture interested eyes when that person does something big.

During the Olympics, people were searching for “Misty May Sunglasses”. Because Nike Vision had engaging and well-optimized content about Misty on their site, was there waiting in Google’s #1 position to just rake in the clicks. If Nike Vision hadn’t published content about Misty in their blog (or decided to forgo having a blog altogether), their chances of owning the experience of interested searchers during this exciting time would be slimmer than {insert country you don’t care for} taking home a gold medal.

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Mike Arnesen

Mike Arnesen - Director of Analytics & Optimization

A diehard SEO and web analytics geek, Mike is the Director of Analytics & Optimization at SwellPath. He is also a board member at SEMpdx. Mike's fascination for search experience optimization, structured data and semantic markup, and web technology knows no bounds. Beyond geeking out with SEO and analytics, Mike is also a prolific blogger, speaker (MozCon, SemTechBiz, SEMpdx, SMX, State of Search Conference, etc.), and company culture advocate. When not in the office, Mike is spending time with his wife, enjoying the outdoors, or keeping up with inbound marketing news via mobile; most of the time, it's all three simultaneously.

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