Now that Austin’s SXSW is over, we can recover in the most techy way possible: number crunching. We took a look at statistics pulled from a range of organizations and found some surprising trends that might help you understand big events like these and everything from the best time to tweet to when to plan your after-parties.
1. Slowed growth. SXSW interactive grew, but just not by as much as it usually does, according to organizers. This year's festival saw a 7 percent increase, but that’s the first single-digit increase since 2006. In some years, attendance has jumped as high as 45 percent.
2. Look who’s talking. Of the 540,000 tweets associated with the #SXSW hashtag, only 10 percent originated in Austin. That’s about as many tweets as were originated in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles combined, according to data crunched by the Austin Chamber of Commerce and W2O Group, a collective of marketing, research, and development companies.
3. Even Twitter sleeps. There were four times more social conversations happening at 10 a.m. than 1 p.m., according to data crunched by Fleishman Hillard and Geofeedia. And since even SXSWers sleep, when they rested, so did social media which was mostly quiet between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m.
4. Pedal power. Pedicabs and taxis aren’t always easy to find during SXSW, so it’s no wonder that the city’s B-Cycle bikeshare program set a single-day U.S. record on March 14 with an average of 10.1 checkouts per bike, besting the record that New York’s CitiBike system set of 7.2 checkout per bike per day last September. Altogether, B-Cycle says that its system saw 17,724 checkouts during the 10-day festival and its users rode nearly 23,000 miles.
5. The mobile life. According to AT&T mobile network data, more than 286,086 SMS texts were sent just during SXSW’s first weekend. Throughout the entire festival, from March 6 until March 16, AT&T customers alone used more than 35,377 GB of data at major venues including the Austin Convention Center and Butler Park and other outdoor surrounding areas. The company says that's the equivalent of streaming more than 11,560 hours of HD video.
6. Doesn't pay to wait. Planning tool Eventbrite saw a 79 percent increase in SXSW-related events using its platform. But of the 650 total events in its system, less than 100 were published a month before the festival. The single day with the most events planned through the tool was March 6, the day before Interactive began. Eventbrite suggests that planners get started early to rise above the din. It also suggests that certain less popular days, such as the first Monday and Friday of Interactive for those targeting those attendees, might have less competition for guests.
For other insights, check out this infographic with other social trends tracked by agency Fleishman Hillard and Geofeedia.