From Thursday thru Sunday around 3 days worth of college basketball content was broadcast across TVs, smartphones, tablets, and PCs. Advertisers inked deals surpassed only by the Super Bowl in terms of cost to capitalize on of the millions of individuals that tune-in for the cross-screen madness.

As the field harrowingly narrowed from 64 teams to 16, hundreds of advertisers looked to capture emotionally-charged fans rooting for their teams and brackets. The field of 16 for 4C Brand Madness was determined based on total TV advertising minutes aired during the first 2 rounds of the tournament as tracked through our Teletrax monitoring network. Going forward, we’ll be incorporating social engagement and sentiment into the scoring to see which brands are getting the most bang for their buck.

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Heading into the sweet sixteen, the automotive category has taken the most spots but AT&T leads the field having made a big splash with 116 minutes of total advertising time during the first weekend of the tournament. The initiative is making an impact. AT&T leads the field of 16 in Facebook and Twitter engagements with 243,097, achieving a 15.4x engagement lift thus far.

AT&T’s performance stats are helped out by its placements during key games. Middle Tennessee’s upset over Michigan State was the biggest moment on social and drove over half a million engagements across Facebook and Twitter. AT&T aired the most spots during the Blue Raiders vs. Spartans matchup. In fact, AT&T’s broad and ambitious coverage has enabled the telco provider to be leading advertiser during key March Madness moments including the near defeat of Texas A&M by Northern Iowa, Wisconsin’s upset over Xavier on Sunday night, and Indiana’s win over rival and higher-seeded Kentucky.

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The No. 2 seed goes to Buick. The automaker has already invested over 72 minutes in advertising time in the early stages of the tournament as it seeks to redefine its image. Buick scored a 94 percent positive sentiment in the starting rounds, but it will have to improve on engagement, social index, and engagement lift to advance in the subsequent rounds.

Narrowly making it into the sweet sixteen is Enterprise. The longtime college sports champion edged out Allstate, Quicken Loans, and State Farm to advance. Now, the car renter will see if it can “Pick up” enough social media presence to upset AT&T.

Stay tuned to see which these qualifiers can connect with their consumers most effectively to make it through to the Final Four of Brand Madness. As a reminder, we’ll be scoring the final rounds of the tournament as follows:

  • 32.5% Total Social Engagements (how many people interacted with the brand on social media)
  • 32.5% PPM Index for March Madness (how many people interacted with the brand and also NCAA Tournament content on social media)
  • 25% Engagement Lift (how much did the brand’s social engagement go up during the tourney)
  • 10% Sentiment (how positive were the posts about each brand)