Last week, we looked into the games and advertisers that were creating the most buzz during the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. This week, as the playing field dwindled from 16 teams to 4, we were once again keeping an eye on the conversation surrounding March Madness.
During the Sweet 16, Wisconsin led in terms of social engagement following the excitement after their surprise defeat of 1-seed Villanova during the second round and near upset against Florida in overtime. Perennial favorite North Carolina took the lion’s share of social media engagement during the Elite 8 with its buzzer-beater elimination of Kentucky. But, South Carolina is having its Cinderella moment with the highest positive sentiment of the teams heading into the Final 4.
Capital One’s parody of Snakes on a Plane and ads starring Samuel L. Jackson, Charles Barkley, and Spike Lee continue to capture the attention of March Madness viewers as social media engagement with the brand following TV spots continues to climb throughout the tournament. DirecTV has also seen a significant lift in engagement from ads highlighting its partnership with AT&T that allows customers to stream this year’s games anywhere so they don’t miss a thing.
As the teams in this year’s tournament have narrowed to the Final 4, social media engagement has increased for each of the teams. While North Carolina has received the bulk of the engagements throughout the tournament, especially during its last second win in the Elite 8, South Carolina has seen the greatest lift with over 8 times the volume of engagement from the beginning of March Madness to the Final 4.
Using the 4C Insights Affinity Graph™, we found the brands that people engaging with this year’s Final 4 are also engaging with on social media. Those engaging with North Carolina and Gonzaga are also engaging with both schools’ official sponsor, Nike. People hoping South Carolina comes out on top with the school’s first ever NCAA Tournament title are more likely engaging with Degree.
As March Madness comes to a close with the Final 4 and national championship games, we’ll continue monitoring social media activity around the tournament. Stay tuned for our final March Madness Impact Report next week when a new winner is crowned.