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Ratcheting Up the Intensity

NBA Teams Bolster Average Social Post Value by 39.3% During Postseason’s Opening Round

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Social Media
May 4, 2022
June 21, 2022
 min read

Although the opening round of this year’s NBA playoffs lacked upsets and even a single seven-game series, fans on social media made it clear they were following the action fervently. And despite the convincing series wins, there was still drama abound as the upstart Pelicans pushed the reigning Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns to six games, the Boston Celtics decisively defeated a Brooklyn Nets team many considered to be a threat in the Eastern Conference, and a young Memphis squad rallied after losing its opening game at home to win a playoff series for the first time since 2015. All the while, we monitored each franchise’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube channels using MVP’s social platform to determine how much traffic they received and the amount of value they generated. From the postseason’s opening tip on April 16 through the first round’s conclusion on April 29, the 16 contenders created 2.12 billion social media impressions and earned $40.8M in post value. Their collective average post value of $4,914 was 39.3% higher than they received during the regular season, with only Chicago failing to raise its average once the playoffs began. And it was no surprise to see some of the title favorites near the top of our value rankings.

Championship Cultures Translate to Social

After overwhelmingly exceeding all of their counterparts in post value during the regular season, the Golden State Warriors maintained their dominance through round one of the playoffs by generating $14.86M in total post value at an average of $24,527 per post. The Warriors’ 20.1 million engagements more than doubled all others’ totals, while their 701.9 million impressions at least tripled the total boasted by each of their NBA rivals. But there was a shift in the rest of the top five, as the Boston Celtics moved into second place across each metric. Though only needing four games to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Celtics managed to generate $4.46M in total post value thanks to 226.3 million total impressions. The only other team to exceed $3M in total post value during the first round was the Chicago Bulls, who finished with $3.02M worth of value despite falling to the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks in five games. Rounding out the top five were the Miami Heat and Milwaukee, earning $2.59M and $2.06M, respectively. During the two weeks, all but four playoff teams earned at least $1M in total post value, with all eight series winners eclipsing that mark.

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Beantown, Big Easy Captivated by Playoffs

Boston entered the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and with reasonable championship aspirations. But their first-round opponent in Brooklyn featured a roster with likely several future Hall-of-Famers and seemingly the potential to pull an upset. But just one year after losing to the Nets at the same stage of the postseason, the Celtics returned the favor by dispatching their foe in four games. And even with such quick work, the organization’s social media team made an immediate impact, elevating the Celtics from fifth in our regular season rankings to second in our initial postseason post value examination. Content from the team’s owned channels earned 2.31x as many average engagements and impressions, resulting in 2.42x more average post value — $8,133.

But Boston was not the only team that made significant strides as soon as the lights got brighter. The New Orleans Pelicans navigated their way through the NBA play-in games to secure a matchup with the Phoenix Suns in the first round. Somewhat surprisingly, the series was tied at two games apiece after four. Even though the Suns would win the final two in the series and eliminate New Orleans, the Pelicans made their social mark during their brief stint in the postseason. After finishing last among all playoff entrants in total post value during the regular season, New Orleans catapulted to seventh in our first-round rankings thanks to a 3.5x increase in engagements and 2.01x increase in engagements. Furthermore, the team’s average post value of $1,621 was a 2.31x improvement over its average from October through mid-April.

Ascending to a Higher Platform

Much like during the regular season, the largest portion of NBA teams’ content and total post value was on Twitter, while the vast majority of engagements were on Instagram posts. Tweets accounted for 58.5% of all social posts from playoff contenders during the period, ultimately resulting in $18.75M worth of post value. But while Instagram finished behind Facebook and Twitter in total post value with $10.91M, it far surpassed its counterparts in averages across each metric. Instagram posts during the first round of the playoffs accounted for a mere 14.5% of all content, but they averaged $9,084 in post value — 45.5% more than Facebook posts and 2.35x more than Tweets received. And notably, MVP’s social platform revealed Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all increased their average values and engagements once the postseason began. Twitter enjoyed the largest increase, as its average post value was up 41.5%. Averages on Facebook and Instagram were elevated by 31.6% and 15.3%, respectively. Engagements also rose to a new level, jumping by 40.2% on Twitter, 39.9% on Facebook, and 19.4% on Instagram.

Eyeing the Conference Finals

One benefit of an absence of first-round upsets is the presence of hoop heavyweights remaining to compete for places in the Conference Finals. The postseason round currently underway features rosters full of All-NBA candidates who hope to enhance their legacies with memorable playoff performances. And as teams showcase such efforts on their social channels, MVP will continue to track engagements and values on a round-by-round basis. Look for additional installments of our NBA Playoffs social series in the coming weeks.

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