The NFL Playoffs were an exciting time on social media. Fans from all over the world joined with teams and players to unite and cheer for their chance to play in Atlanta for Super Bowl 53.
While millions were reached over the course of three weeks, certain moments stood out and could be learned from. This can stretch from on the field, where close calls exploded on Twitter, to off the field, where one Instagram Live video led to big value for a brand and one pop star led the conversation for a team.
Here are the top four moments on Twitter from the NFL Playoffs.
Melvin Gordon & Uber
Did you know that the most influential post on social media during the NFL Playoffs was not any post from the NFL accounts. It wasn’t a graphic or reaction of a team winning a game. It was in fact before the games began.
Chargers running back Melvin Gordon took an Uber from the airport when he arrived to Baltimore before their Wild Card game against the Ravens. Upon entering, he got into a discussion with his driver who didn’t recognize who he was. Gordon proceeded to record this and broadcast this over Instagram Live.
This blew up like wildfire over a short period of time. The Chargers initially shared it and the video was then shared by news sources like Bleacher Report and SportsCenter. Soon enough, it was spreading across Twitter and trending shortly after. Three of the Top 18 posts from the NFL Playoffs were the initial video from the Chargers and then Bleacher Report and SportsCenter sharing it. The initial post has over 130K interactions as of posting this. Uber also got over $250K worth of Twitter impression value just from this interaction alone!
This goes to show that players are powerful on digital outlets and teams should do what they can to support and broadcast them.
Ball Doesn’t Lie
Social traffic during the NFL Playoffs came to a peak during the most-viewed game since last year’s Super Bowl. The most-tweeted about game during the playoffs, the AFC Championship game, had more traffic at the 9 PM EST hour than any other moment during the playoffs.
During this hour, we saw over 53K pieces of organic content published, primarily about the non-fumble by Julian Edelman, the subsequent interception by the Chiefs, and the drive by the Patriots to take the lead before the Chiefs forced overtime. There was more content shared during this hour than during the end of the NFC Title Game, the Patriots driving up the score against the Chargers, or the end of the Eagles-Bears game.
The team who generated the most interactions on Twitter during the NFL Playoffs was the Philadelphia Eagles. Last year’s Super Bowl champions booked their playoff ticket on the last day of the season and then was able to bring home a win in the Wild Card Round. And that win brought some incredible buzz on social media.
Three of the Top 10 tweets from the entire NFL Playoffs all came from the Eagles in the span of about five minutes. From 7:45 – 8:00 on January 6th, 45 million people were reached and 155 million impressions were registered. Through Week 1 of the NFL Playoffs (1/1 – 1/7, or Tuesday-Monday), the Eagles and Bears were 2 of the Top 3 most talked about teams, behind the Cowboys.
NO GOOD!— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) January 7, 2019
Power to the Players
During the biggest moments for a team, it’s important to tap into your brand’s influencers on a large and small scale to excite your fanbase. For something as big as the NFL, that comes in the form of celebrities.
The farthest-reaching team during the NFL Playoffs was the Los Angeles Rams, thanks in large part to the power of a celebrity. Pop singer Niall Horan had the 5th-most influential tweet from the NFL Playoffs and the biggest post related to the Rams. It performed better than any other post the Rams sent out on their run to the Super Bowl.
The crossover from other sports was also brought to light in a big way. Teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles had active fans in athletes like Conor McGregor, Dirk Nowitzki, and Mike Trout, who talked about them during games.
Team’s own players and their social channels also were a major influence on the conversation during the NFL Playoffs, as they have their own unique fanbase and can enhance the value of a team. The #1 post during the playoffs from or about the Chiefs was not actually from the team, but from QB Pat Mahomes. This post from Eagles QB Carson Wentz was also one of the Top 20 posts amongst all shared during the playoffs.