NFL’s Super Wild Card Social Takeover

Playoff Teams Exceed $8.6M in Post Value During Opening Round

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NFL
Social Media
Published 
January 21, 2022
 | 
5
 min read

The National Football League expanded its playoffs to include 14 teams prior to the 2020 season, forever changing the landscape of the postseason. The new system rewards only the top team in each conference with a bye to the divisional round, resulting in a Super Wild Card Weekend featuring six games and an abundance of excitement for football fans across the country. The league scheduled contests over three days for the opening weekend of the 2021 postseason, beginning with the Cincinnati Bengals hosting the Las Vegas Raiders last Saturday afternoon and culminating with NFC West rivals Arizona and Los Angeles playing in the first-ever Monday Night Football playoff game. We monitored the playoff teams’ social media channels from Saturday through Monday and analyzed text, images, and videos across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to determine which franchises had the most engaging content and how that translated to value for them and their partners. With 1,683 total posts, they collectively generated $8.6M in total post value. However, on Super Wild Card Weekend, a gridiron triumph did not always correlate with social superiority.

Celebrations Elicit Engagement on IG

Super Wild Card Weekend demonstrated Twitter is useful for the game, but the after-party happens on Instagram. Team accounts regularly relayed brief updates, highlights, and news on Twitter, amassing 961 tweets collectively over the weekend. That represented 57.1% of the total social posts during the period but generated only 28.1% of the total post value. Conversely, despite accounting for a mere 15.9% of the total posts, Instagram earned $4.36M worth of total post value – 50.6% – thanks to 14.7 million engagements and more than 229 million impressions on the platform. Those totals can be partially attributed to winning teams’ celebration graphics and videos. Among the six victorious teams on Super Wild Card Weekend, Cincinnati was the only one whose most-engaging post was not on Instagram. Though no playoff team’s top content was on Facebook, playoff participants combined to create 455 posts on the network, which generated 6% more engagements than Twitter. But Facebook’s low impression rate relative to the other platforms resulted in only $1.84M worth of post value, 21.4% of the total across all three.

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Playoff Upset Helps 49ers Earn Top Value

The San Francisco 49ers traveled to Dallas to renew their playoff rivalry with the Cowboys during the late Sunday afternoon window of Super Wild Card Weekend. The franchises faced each other in three consecutive NFC Championship games during the early 1990s but had not met in the postseason since. However, the longtime foes evoked memories of the old days as they played a tight contest that culminated with a 23-17 upset by the road team. The 49ers’ fans responded resoundingly, as the team generated 3.1 million social media engagements and $1.16M worth of total post value. The Cowboys were the only other organization to surpass $1M in post value, finishing the weekend at $1.09M. 

Among AFC teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers led the way with $997,058 worth of post value, but that does not tell the whole story. Despite losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in what is likely to have been quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s final game, the Steelers’ 110 social posts averaged $9,064 worth of value – at least 10% higher than every other team’s average. Of teams that participated in the opening round games, the Cowboys, 49ers, New England Patriots, and Chiefs rounded out the top five in terms of average post value.

Sunday Showcases Dominate Discussion

Our data showed a strong correlation between game metrics and individual team metrics. Unsurprisingly, Sunday afternoon’s game between Dallas and San Francisco received the highest post value as well as the most engagements and impressions. The teams’ combined $2.25M worth of post value equaled 26.1% of all value earned during the weekend. But the Sunday night game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City finished a close second, as the sides combined to generate $1.82M in post value – good for 21.2% of the weekend’s total. As a result, the Steelers and Chiefs finished third and fourth overall, respectively, in total post value. The round’s final game – which took place on Monday – garnered the least social attention, earning just 709,086 engagements. Consequently, the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals had the two lowest post value totals among Super Wild Card Weekend participants, with $162,765 and $108,653, respectively. Their collective figure even trailed the combined total from accounts belonging to the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans, who earned $418,484 in post value during their mutual bye week.

Conference Leaders Ready to Join Party

This weekend’s games promise to be competitive, as seven of the eight participating teams are division winners. After waiting a week, the AFC champion Titans and NFC champion Packers will begin their postseason journey on Saturday against the Bengals and 49ers, respectively. Despite not playing last week, the top seeds still combined to create 21.9 million impressions and more than 1.08 million engagements, suggesting their fanbases are ready to join the party. In the coming weeks, we will continue to monitor social channels for each remaining playoff team and analyze trends leading up to Super Bowl LVI.

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