As the Rio 2016 Olympics come to a close, we’re looking back on a great run for the USA, jam-packed with tons of memorable moments to recall for years to come. From the historic “double Simone” win with 19-year-old gymnast Simone Biles becoming the best gymnast in the world to 20-year-old swimmer Simone Manuel becoming the first African American woman to win an individual medal in swimming. From 19-year-old Katie Ledecky setting world records in women’s swimming, to meeting Michael Phelps’s newborn son Boomer, and who can forget Ryan Lochte dying his hair platinum blonde and then lying about being robbed? With such an eventful run, it’s no surprise that the Olympics had a major impact on social media. With the 2016 Games being the first Olympics to take place in this era of increased virtual engagement through multiple viewing platforms, the numbers for viewer engagement were expected to skyrocket in comparison to the 2012 London Olympics. From multiple Snapchat filters and stories dedicated to the Games to Twitter exploding over popular Olympians, it was an exciting time to be in the loop! Each day brought about new trends and events to talk about. [caption id="attachment_9231" align="aligncenter" width="796"] Image via The Next Web[/caption] For starters, the top three countries which engaged the most in social media for the 2016 Rio Olympics were Brazil, Russia, and the USA, in that order. This includes every single Instagram post, tweet, Youtube video--anything that shows users actively engaging with the 2016 Rio Olympics. Many popular brands jump at the chance to sponsor the Olympics each time because of its international audience. Some of the most mentioned brands this year included Samsung, Nissan, and McDonald’s. This didn’t come without a cost, however--it can cost up to $200 million for a four-year corporate sponsorship slot. [caption id="attachment_9230" align="aligncenter" width="781"] Image via Mention.[/caption] Many of the Olympians themselves also took to social media to further expand their fan base and take advantage of the many opportunities for direct audience interaction. Simone Biles used Twitter and Instagram to keep her fans updated as she increased her medal count and rose to Olympic fame--and also won the hearts of many when her celebrity crush and millennial heartthrob Zac Efron paid a visit to the women’s gymnastics team. And the Internet absolutely lost it over photos of legendary sprinter Usain Bolt’s smiling and relaxed face during one of the three races he won a gold in (and you can bet that it instantly became a meme). [caption id="attachment_9232" align="aligncenter" width="707"] Image via Sports Illustrated.[/caption] It is intriguing to look at the social media engagement in this year’s games: with social media usage at an all time high and the average Olympian age resting at 27, the 2016 Rio Olympics had an overall more modern and contemporary feel as fans were able to track the journeys of the Olympians, starting from the very beginning with their training and trials. While the flame that lit the Olympic torch has now been put out, the fervor surrounding the Games this year will continue to stick around as always. This has truly been a groundbreaking year for Team USA, and only time will tell us what’s in store for 2020. Here at Digital Operative, we’re always keeping an eye out for marketing trends in popular culture. Contact us for all your online and social media marketing needs!