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Championship Contenders Emerge

Conference Semifinalists Create 1.69B Social Impressions During NBA Playoffs’ Second Round

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Social Media
May 18, 2022
June 21, 2022
 min read

After the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs was void of surprises, the conference semifinals were poised to give basketball fans emotionally-charged, competitive matchups every night – and they did not disappoint. Each of the four series went at least six games, with a pair – Boston against Milwaukee and Phoenix against Dallas – going the distance. Not only that, but both Western Conference semifinal series were won by the lower seed, setting up a Conference Finals showdown between the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks, franchises that each won at least one title in the 2010s. In the East, the Celtics and Miami Heat navigated their respective paths to the conference final, which will be a repeat from the 2020 NBA bubble postseason. In the latest installment of our NBA postseason social series, we used MVP’s platform to examine team posts across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube from each of the eight teams that competed in the second round of the playoffs to learn how the increased stakes affected fans’ online interactions. We discovered that throughout the conference semifinals, championship hopefuls collectively generated $33.9M in post value – up from their combined $30.2M in the previous round – with positioning for the top half of teams in our rankings remaining unaltered.

Golden State Maintains Social Stronghold

The Golden State Warriors generated the most post value and the highest number of engagements and impressions during the opening round of the playoffs, and then widened the gap between themselves and their counterparts with content from their second-round defeat of the Memphis Grizzlies. The Warriors’ 696 posts throughout round two ultimately generated $17.9M in post value thanks to 24.3 million engagements and 835.7 million impressions – each figure representing an increase from the first round. Golden State’s total value generated was 52.5% of the value received by all teams and 4.44x more than Boston – which, again, finished second in our value rankings – earned. Despite their $4.01M in post value during the round, the Celtics noticed declines in total impressions as well as average engagements and impressions per post. Conversely, the Heat and Bucks maintained their third and fourth place positions, respectively, while also increasing their total and average post value, engagements, and impressions. Memphis, which was last among second-round teams in terms of post value during the postseason’s opening round, rose to fifth in our conference semifinal rankings by generating $1.85M – a 30% increase.

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Small-Market Teams Take Big Strides Online

Memphis was among the surprise teams throughout the regular season, but the Grizzlies entered the postseason with the second-most wins in the NBA and fully on everyone else’s radar. Nevertheless, their first-round series against Minnesota did not make waves on social media, leaving Memphis with the lowest average playoff post value and fewest average engagements and impressions among teams to advance to the conference semifinals. But the Grizzlies’ continued on-court success coupled with a thrilling series against Golden State created a surge unparalleled by any other contender. They grew their total engagements by 40% round-over-round while also increasing their impressions by 24%. The passion shown by Memphis’s fans helped the team increase its value per post by 25% to $2,784.

Similarly, the Milwaukee Bucks raised their performance to another level in the second round. The defending NBA champions are undoubtedly familiar in basketball circles online, and that was evident when their social team generated more than $2M in post value during the first round. But a seven-game series against the Celtics helped amplify their fans’ excitement, driving a 26% increase in total post value. Furthermore, the Bucks equaled the Grizzlies’ total impressions growth of 24% and finished second in total engagements growth at 31%.

Facebook Makes Its Playoff Run

MVP’s social platform revealed throughout the regular season and each of the first two rounds of the playoffs that Twitter was the platform to consistently deliver the highest total post value and most overall impressions while Instagram led in engagements and averages across each metric. This can be attributed to Instagram’s active audience as well as Twitter’s significant advantage in total content. However, within our subsets of data – regular season, first round, and second round – Facebook has unfailingly occupied the second-place position for each metric’s average. And although all three platforms increased their averages as the playoffs intensified, Facebook exhibited the strongest growth push during the round. Its average post value of $10,706 demonstrated a 71% round-over-round increase thanks to 84% more engagements per post and a 66% rise in average impressions. Additionally, Facebook narrowed its average value gap behind Instagram to only 14.7% for the round, while generating a post value average 90.1% higher than Twitter during the period.

Quest for Conference Supremacy

All four franchises competing for the right to play in the NBA Finals have had considerable recent success and play in passionate NBA markets, suggesting social activity surrounding the teams and games should be substantial. Therefore, MVP will maintain our social media monitoring practices throughout the series to identify new or continuing trends leading up to the championship round. Stay connected with our social channels and website for that and other valuation insights from the Association in the coming weeks.

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