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Insights From NFL Week 15: Social Media Campaign Comparison

Week 15 was an exciting week across the league as teams anxiously made bids to assume and secure playoff positions. The fans were tuned in as well, as indicated by the highest spike in Twitter content about NFL teams so far this season:

NFL Twitter Feed

Not only was there a loud Twitter echo this week, but we also saw some shake-up in our activity leaderboard, which had been relatively consistent through the season up until Week 14 (see chart below).  The Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants broke into the top 5 in total activity–when we look at the reason why, it gets pretty interesting.

social media ranking

Regarding the Giants’ recent rise, one would have to assume it was based on the on-field scuffle between Odell Beckham Jr. and Josh Norman that led to a one-game suspension for OBJ, and a flood of media attention. However, it wasn’t. Not entirely, at least.

That’s the thing about social media: it transcends traditional media. The media outlets aren’t always selling what the average football fan cares about.

The below post from Bleacher Report is what reaped the highest social media influence score above any post about Beckham Jr.’s suspension (and yes, those are real cleats):

Giants cleats

Similarly, it’d be reasonable to conclude that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ come-from-behind victory against the Denver Broncos that put them firmly in the playoff picture was the reason for their engagement climb. But social media will tell you that the public would rather read and share content like the post below (with the highest influence score for the Steelers) than anything else about your team’s victory.

wiz steelers tweet

This is why it’s so important to track social content, take advantage of these moments, and enrich your own content with what your fans really care about (but no suggestions offered here about the post above).

My conclusion from last week’s blog remains true in that a winning season + more authentic leveraging of the social bandwagon make up the best recipe for successful social media marketing. The evidence can be found here on this Social Media Campaign Comparison Report of the top 4 most socially talked about teams. Note how the Panthers are outranking teams from much larger markets with greater total activity, via their count of Unique Authors, Audience Reached and Social Impressions:

comparison chart

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Analytics & Insights
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