Rockefeller Center

Delivering holistic innovation to an NYC landmark

Rockefeller Center has sat at the heart of New York City since 1930. Stretched across 12 acres of Midtown Manhattan, it’s home to some of the city’s biggest attractions like The Rink, Top of the Rock, and NBC Studios. It’s a natural destination for tourists, but Rockefeller Center’s extensive and dynamic roster of shops, restaurants, and events make it a place for New York locals, too. In mid-2021, to create an unforgettable experience for everyone who walks onto its campus, the iconic New York City landmark enlisted Big Human as its digital agency of record for holistic innovation in content, design, and development.

  • Strategy
  • Innovation
  • Content
  • Messaging & Copywriting
  • Email Marketing
  • Product Design
  • UI/UX Design
  • Web Development


Creating a multi-channel experience

As a New York City hot spot with a 90-year history, Rockefeller Center needed to create an experience that connected all of its offerings under one seamless digital identity. To make sure Rockefeller Center operated on a sustainable system, the Big Human team focused on strategy and optimization across three fields: content, design, and development. The Rockefeller Center website also houses the landing pages for its top attractions and events, so we sought to enhance its conversion funnel, ensure its stability and reliability, and increase its search rankings. The goal was to develop and maintain a highly performant website supported by smart, engaging content.


Strategizing the content stream

Rockefeller Center tasked Big Human with revamping its online blog, The Center Magazine, and its corresponding newsletter, The Center. The blog provides Rockefeller Center’s audiences with informative content that’s relevant across all of New York City’s communities. Its newsletter acts as a facilitator, sharing the latest news and events as well as announcing upcoming additions to the Rockefeller Center campus.

Rockefeller Center’s content revamp had three main goals: elevate the brand, entice visitors (including local New Yorkers), and raise excitement around on-campus happenings. That meant each piece of content produced needed to have an in-the-know feel and establish Rockefeller Center as the go-to for all things New York.

After refining Rockefeller Center’s editorial voice, we upped The Center Magazine’s publishing schedule to six blog posts a month. Monthly article topics are chosen based on organic search terms, events happening at and around campus, and areas where Rockefeller Center can put its stamp. The jewel in the crown comes from Rockefeller Center’s unparalleled access to the best of the best. From notable artists and musicians to entrepreneurs and fashion powerhouses, we leverage the input from these industry thought leaders to add authority and authenticity to all of The Center Magazine’s content. 

We amplify that authority and authenticity by way of the newsletter, The Center. The weekly email blast gives added exposure to magazine articles, can’t-miss events, and exclusive Rockefeller Center news. 

In 2023, we gave The Center Magazine a facelift that better reflects its content and identity. Accompanied by sleeker navigation and enhanced filtering options, the magazine now allows for various featured story collections, improved article components (quotes, photo galleries, sharing links, etc.), expanded hover states, and more. 

SEO and Analytics

Making data-driven decisions

In order to boost Rockefeller Center’s digital presence, the Big Human team implements a range of Search Engine Optimization tactics. This includes optimizing headlines both on the page and in title tags, adding alternative text to all images, and utilizing keywords strategically throughout every blog post. 

To engage with audiences off-campus and reinforce Rockefeller Center’s status as the de facto New York authority, the Big Human content team also developed a monthly column rounding up events across the city’s five boroughs. More than half of the traffic from these articles now comes from organic searches. 

With these SEO initiatives, Rockefeller Center saw a 216% increase in organic search traffic and a 465.4% increase in magazine traffic from Q1 2021 to Q4 2021. In 2022, the SEO efforts continued to pay off — with a 106% increase in magazine traffic from Q3 2021 to Q3 2022. Q4 2023 was The Center Magazine’s best quarter to date; there was a 61% increase in page views from Q4 2022.

For the weekly newsletter, Big Human composes eye-catching subject and preview lines, ensures the content is compelling, produces clear Call-to-Action buttons, and provides a variety of shareable links.

Email Marketing

Growing an online audience

Expanding The Center Magazine’s reach and visibility was another pillar in Rockefeller Center’s content plan. To broaden readership and grow the number of The Center subscribers, the Big Human team launched a newsletter pop-up that appears on relevant pages throughout Rockefeller Center’s website; we routinely draft new versions that coincide with special events and announcements, like The Rink season-opening, enticing users with a “you’ll be the first to hear” angle. Since Rockefeller Center sees large spikes in traffic during the holiday season, we also created a newsletter pop-up that drew on the excitement of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, prompting a 21.4% increase in subscribers from Q3 to Q4 2021. We resurfaced the pop-up in 2022 and 2023 and continue to see quadruple-digit audience growth. 

After Rockefeller Center began offering complimentary Wi-Fi, we leveraged its heavy on-campus foot traffic to encourage visitors to subscribe to The Center Newsletter; those who opt-in receive an automated “Welcome” email with an exclusive discount code for Rockefeller Center tickets. The Center Newsletter audience has since increased by over 700% from 2021 to 2024. 

We also collaborate with Rockefeller Center’s social team to share magazine content across all of its channels and motivate outreach with contacts featured in the magazine to encourage social promotion and backlinks.

Design & Development

Optimizing the user experience and site performance

Most of our design and development work for Rockefeller Center is focused on maintenance, optimization, and new feature development. We act as a safety net, fixing ad hoc bugs and making sure the website is stable and scalable for peak traffic moments. Our teams meet biweekly to monitor site performance and look for ways to streamline the process even more.

One of our biggest development undertakings thus far has been localizing the Rockefeller Center website. Since a sizable number of visitors are international tourists, we translated the website into nine different languages.

Design & Development

Integrating a new user experience for ticketing

The Rink and Top of the Rock are huge New York City destinations, and tickets for both can be bought online. To better serve Rockefeller Center’s business needs and prepare for the holidays (its busiest season), our development team replaced its entire backend ticketing system with a new vendor in Q3 2023. During the integration process, Big Human designers and developers revisited the user experience of the checkout flow with the goal of reducing dropoff and avoiding the headache that often comes with purchasing tickets.

Rockefeller Center’s previous system only allowed users to buy tickets of the same type; for example, if a user wanted tickets to both Top of the Rock and The Rink, those transactions had to be done separately. We modified the UX to support purchasing multiple ticket types through an “Add to Cart” feature that also enabled users to view and edit their selections. Along with introducing seven new ticket options, we included the ability to handpick popular add-ons, like a skate rental for The Rink and The Beam experience for Top of the Rock.

Design & Development, cont.

Designing for accessibility

For visitors who prefer to buy tickets in person, there are kiosks at The Rink and Top of the Rock box offices. When it came time to replace the machines with new models, Big Human worked on bringing the online ticketing experience into a physical environment — but it was more than just applying Rockefeller Center’s branding to the user interface. We usually design for the digital world, but, as with all of our projects, we prioritized accessibility. Keeping designs minimal yet true to the Rockefeller Center brand, our designers placed all buttons on the lower 50% of the kiosk screens to ensure they could be accessed by every visitor.


Moving forward with award-winning innovation

In the three years since we established our partnership, Rockefeller Center has seen double and triple-digit percentage increases in site traffic, conversions, and revenue. Our content work has also earned Rockefeller Center a few accolades, including a Shorty Award for Best Blog and a Digiday Media Award recognition for Best Newsletter.

The Big Human team continues to look for ways to update and innovate. We churn out new content for The Center Magazine and The Center newsletter monthly to keep audiences interested and engaged. We’re also currently working on further optimizing Rockefeller Center’s ticketing experience.