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NFL Postseason Spurs Social Activity

Super Wild Card Participants Generate Nearly $11M in Post Value

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Social Media
January 19, 2023
January 19, 2023
 min read

For the third consecutive season, the National Football League’s playoffs opened with a Super Wild Card Weekend pitting a trio of division winners against a set of wild card entrants while each conference’s top seed enjoyed a bye into the next round. And as has been the case for both previous iterations of the format, this postseason’s starting six-game slate featured close games, comebacks, and upsets. Despite the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys bookending the action with convincing victories, the four games in between were all decided by one score. In an effort to highlight the relevance of existing popularity relative to exciting contests, we examined text, image, and video content across each of the 12 competing franchises’ owned Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels throughout the week ending January 17. Collectively, the weekend’s participants created 597.1 million impressions and generated $10.96M worth of post value – and a familiar, polarizing franchise led the way in both categories.

America’s Team Tops Post Value Rankings

Excitement for Monday night’s matchup between the NFC South champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys, who were the NFC’s top-seeded Wild Card entrant, built throughout the holiday weekend as five other matchups took place on Saturday and Sunday. But Dallas quickly demonstrated why they were a road favorite, racing out to an 18-0 halftime advantage and leading by as many as 25 in the fourth quarter before ultimately winning 31-14. The eager anticipation coupled with a resounding victory helped stimulate social activity for America’s Team, as the Cowboys created 94.6 million total impressions and generated $1.9M worth of total post value to lead all Super Wild Card participants in both metrics. Dallas was also the only organization to exceed $6K in average post value – finishing the week with $6,098 per post – but a pair of rivals rounded out the top three.

The New York Giants, whose upset victory in Minnesota set up a date with the Eagles this weekend in Philadelphia, finished second with an average post value of $5,511 while also earning the proverbial silver in total post value – $1.57M – as well as impressions and engagements, with 82.5 million and 4.83 million, respectively. The engagements crown for the postseason’s opening weekend, however, belongs to the San Francisco 49ers, whose 5.78 million engagements outpaced all other team totals by at least 19.5%. Moreover, activity surrounding the 49ers’ posts helped propel them to third in total post value with $1.37M. The trio of NFC victors each increased their weekly engagements total by at least 2x, with the Giants boasting a league-leading 4.3x week-over-week boost.

A pair of AFC contenders were the only other teams to exceed $1M in total post value last week. The Buffalo Bills amassed $1.17M in total post value to narrowly pip the Cincinnati Bengals’ $1.13M. However, Cincinnati boasted a higher average between the pair – $4,655 to $4,163 – and led all 12 teams with a 5.16% engagement rate during the period.

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Playoff Wins Correlate with Social Activity

On Super Wild Card Weekend, winning proved to have a positive correlation with social value – as evidenced by each of the top five teams in terms of post value generation having advanced to the divisional round. The Jacksonville Jaguars, who played late into Saturday night and have the smallest social following among all 12 teams, finished seventh in our post value rankings – behind the five winners and the Seattle Seahawks. Overall, the six Super Wild Card winners generated 2.44x more total post value than their counterparts while also collectively averaging 87% more value per post than their defeated foes. Additionally, the winning group’s 24.1 million total engagements eclipsed their foils’ figure by 2.84x.

Our data also revealed a positive correlation between the weekend’s NFC teams and elevated post values. All three NFC games surpassed each AFC contest across every social metric. Furthermore, the NFC matchups each produced at least $2M worth of post value, 5 million combined engagements, and more than 100 million total impressions – figures that were unmet by any of the AFC showdowns. The most compelling game of the week was the finale between Dallas and Tampa Bay. The pair’s combined post value of $2.45M represented 22.3% of the group’s collective total. It was largely the result of 125.3 million impressions – the most among all matchups. Meanwhile, social activity from the opening game between San Francisco and Seattle produced the most engagements, 7.85 million. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Jacksonville’s triumph over the Los Angeles Chargers resulted in the lowest figures in each category. The AFC duo’s combined post value of $1.19M accounted for only 10.9% of the teams’ total.

Twitter Impresses During Playoff Openers

Teams overwhelmingly took to Twitter to share their myriad updates throughout the week. Of all content, 50.9% was posted to Twitter, 31.4% was uploaded to Facebook, and the balance was shared on Instagram. As a result, Twitter was able to surpass its platform rivals in both impressions and total post value. Super Wild Card Weekend teams collectively created 236.4 million impressions on their Twitter channels while generating $4.27M worth of post value – roughly 39% of the overall value. Additionally, the top post by value for nine of 12 teams was shared on Twitter – the only exceptions being the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, and Miami Dolphins, whose most valuable posts were on Facebook.

However, the platform that attracted the fewest posts last week earned the most engagements by a significant margin. The participating teams collectively posted to Instagram 529 times, resulting in 24.5 million engagements. The figure equaled 75.3% of the overall total and topped totals from Facebook and Twitter by 5.96x and 6.24x, respectively. MVP will continue to monitor this trend as the playoffs progress.

Divisional Round Will Propel Contenders

After resting and patiently waiting for their respective chances to compete, the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles are ready to join the fold for a four-game NFL Divisional Round slate beginning on Saturday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium when the Jaguars attempt to topple the AFC’s top seed. While each of the eight remaining contenders is eager to win and advance for the sake of pride and accomplishment, our opening round data suggests victory is also important for brand partners and exposure this weekend and during subsequent matchups. MVP will continually examine social metrics throughout the 2023 NFL postseason and provide weekly analysis as the field dwindles toward Super Bowl LVII.

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