A Great Job Done: USCCB Social Media and the Papal Visit



During the week of the Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, the men and women in the USCCB Communications Committee who handle the social media engagement of the Conference made a real concerted effort in terms of staff, volunteers, and resources to be present within the digital culture through social media. They setup a social media hub in each of the three cities where volunteers worked 18 hours/day to keep abreast of how the pope’s visit was unfolding on social media. I asked Matt Palmer to send me some stats from the week’s work and it was a phenomenal success due to Matt and his team, both professionals and volunteers. Way to go! Here’s Matt’s initial report to me:

Here’s a breakdown of our stats for the week with some insight into how it all happened.

Over 6 days, the USCCB team produced 2,462 pieces of social content, including 62 real-time videos with an equal balance of English and Spanish, resulting in 18.5 million content impressions (over 3,000 impressions per minute of USCCB work.)

During the week, USCCB English and Spanish Facebook posts reached 8 million people and engaged 500,000 people.

1.65 million video views (over 13,000 video views per hour)
5.1 billion impressions of the campaign hashtags, #popeinUS and #papaenUSA (almost 10K hashtag impressions per second!)
8% of all Pope conversation included our hashtags, content, or reference to the USCCB.

We reached out to 1,300 people through 1:1 engagement during the two most events on the final weekend, encouraging people’s enthusiasm for the visit and asking them what they pray for in their lives.


Prior campaigns with 1:1 engagement suggested we should anticipate 10-15% response back from people at max. But, 75% of people responded back with their prayers.

More than 120 of those were influencers (either verified, have over a certain number of followers or from a pre-identified list). From that outreach, we received great engagement back from some big names including:
Fundación Pies Descalzos (Shakira’s nonprofit org)
Maity Interiano (Despierta América reporter)
Savannah Guthrie (Today show co-host)
Reverend Jesse Jackson
Kathie Lee Gifford (Today show co-host)
Anderson Cooper (CNN host)

Furthermore, the analytics team created a social and traditional listening/monitoring process across English and Spanish that distilled more than 73 billion mentions of the Pope into clear, concise, on-point media and conversation insights that prepared Archbishop Kurtz for the daily press briefings.

For context on all of the above, the Superbowl generated 66.5 billion mentions in 2015 (compared to 73 billion for the Pope during the visit).

No organization came remotely close to the results USCCB saw in terms of share of conversation.

Golin will be pulling together a full case-study video and other materials to represent these great results in the next few weeks:

Some of the top performers:

Recap video of the visit that we produced last night in Spanish and English- 2 million in reach with 400k Facebook views.

First steps on U.S. soil.- 2 million users reached and 335K views.

Pope Francis remind us of the importance of family. – 892.8K users reached

We will pray for you, Pope Francis. – 528.9K users reached with original content in Spanish!

The placement of our campaign hashtags secured on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show and the .gif that resulted for social sharing.



2 Comments. Leave new

Mary Anne Gummere
October 6, 2015 4:07 pm


Deacon Pete Gummere
October 6, 2015 9:57 pm

Praise God! Holding our own in the digital age! Congratulations to you and the team at USCCB. God bless you all!