Request A Demo

The Data Behind Kobe Bryant on Weibo

The Data Behind Kobe Bryant on Weibo
jeff gibb
Jeff Gibb, Head of Business Development at Simply Measured

As Kobe Bryant prepared for his 20th season in the NBA, he fit in a tour of China, making stops along the way in major cities. China has such a voracious appetite for basketball that Bryant has made it a point to visit the country often. This was his twelfth trip since 2001.

This trip was focused on promoting Kobe’s documentary, Muse. The film originally aired on Showtime in early 2014 here in the US. Kobe Inc teamed up with Weibo and Sina and Alibaba to bring the film to China.

Simply Measured worked with the team at Weibo to dive into the data and understand how an event like this can impact social media in China. I recently documented my experience on Weibo as a new user, so I was very interested to analyze data on the network as a whole.

The Kobe Dataset

To understand the topics driving the Kobe Bryant event, Weibo helped us identify six keywords that represented the conversation across Weibo:

Kobe – The name in English

Muse – The name of the film in English

打铁 – Translates to “miss the shot.” In English, an expression that fans use to show love to Kobe with a sense of humor

科比– Translates to “Kobe” in English

科蜜 – Translates to “Kobe Fans” in English

蜗壳– Translates to “My Kobe” in English

We took a look at these keywords during the two-month period of time leading up to his visit to China (6/2-8/4).

weibo kobe
Kobe keyword analysis on Weibo between 6/2/15-8/4/15.
kobe keyword volume
Kobe keyword volume by term between 6/2/15-8/4/15.

Demographic Data

The audience for Kobe Bryant in China skews towards a younger male.

61% of the audience is male and just over 53% of fall between the ages of 20-29.

kobe weibo
Demographics for Kobe on Weibo.

Mixed Location Signals

metro region weibo
Kobe keyword distribution on Weibo by metro region.

By breaking down the regional locations behind the six keywords in our data set, we see the Guangdong province leads the group.

This is no surprise, as the region hosted a major stop from Kobe in the city of Guangzou.

Kobe tour stop
Kobe’s MUSE tour stop in Shanghai (photo:

However, I expected Shanghai to be much higher than seventh on this list, as it was another major stop along the way. If anything, this suggests the truly national obsession with Kobe being in China was enough to overcome his physical tour stops.

Engagement Tells the Story

Beyond the sheer volume of Kobe-related keywords, it was fascinating to put the keyword numbers into one of our Simply Measured megaphone visuals to understand how the conversation and engagement exploded during this time period.

weibo keyword metrics

As you can see, there were just under 94k original posts containing the keyword Muse.

This resulted in over 1 million engagements and 307 million impressions – or close to 1 impression for every person that lives in the USA (318 million).

You can easily see the power of the network effect in this data.

Unique Weibo Features Shine

Weibo Kobe banner
Image courtesy of Weibo.

Weibo Hashtag VolumeHashtags were a significant part of the Kobe Bryant conversation.

In my previous post, I explained the double # mechanics on Weibo. The hashtags themselves generated massive impression numbers (over 232 million) which rivaled the basic keywords. The unique features of hashtag conversation in Weibo allows users to “follow” a hashtag conversation.

Just under 10k users signed up to follow #Muse# and #MUSE# during the time period.

Weibo also hosted an interactive Q&A interview with Kobe Bryant, similar to a Reddit AMA. 9,144 questions were submitted, and Kobe answered thirteen of them.

Impact for Marketers

As a social media platform, it’s clear that Weibo is a win for brands (like Kobe) for both live events and defined campaigns.

Remember, the data we analyzed came from a two-month time period. As you can see from the volume by term visual above, the spike during the tour in early August was noticeable but not exponential.

It’s impressive how well sustained the buzz was leading up to this landmark event.


Jeff Gibb

I get to work directly with our integrated social networks, data providers & ecosystem partners. Through partnerships & integrations, my job is to make sure our customers have the best possible access to social data.

Never Miss a Post!

Request a Demo