November 19, 2021

SBJ Atlas Newsletter – November 19, 2021

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Ohio State leads in social ahead of CFP rankings

This year’s first CFP rankings will be released tonight, and Ohio State leads all AP-ranked teams in followers for official university athletics accounts across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, according to Zoomph data analyzed by SBJ Atlas. Ohio State (3.03 million) and Oregon (2.27 million) are the only schools able to claim a collective follower count over 2.0 million. Georgia, expected to be the top-ranked team after tonight, came in third, followed by Alabama in fourth. Three teams outside of the top 10 in the AP Poll found themselves within the top 10 most followed, with two (Kentucky and Auburn) in the top six. Tenth-ranked Wake Forest, fresh off its highest football ranking ever, placed 24th in total follower count with 97,231 across the three platforms.

Reigning champs Baylor lead college hoops teams in social media growth

With a new season of college basketball set to begin tonight, SBJ Atlas took a look back at how the top-ranked teams for this season fared on social media during the most recent March Madness. Last season’s NCAA men’s basketball champion Baylor gained more followers on Twitter and Instagram through the tournament than any other team in this year’s preseason top 10. Runner-up Gonzaga grew 40% on Instagram during their run to the national championship game, while 11th-seeded UCLA saw 8.5% growth on both platforms en route to the university’s first birth in the Final Four since ’08. Neither Kentucky nor Duke, both ranked in the top-10 going into this season, qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season. Their lack of social media growth reflected their unsuccessful seasons, with Kentucky gaining a modest 654 followers across both accounts during March Madness. Duke lost 1,743 followers, the only team in the negative in either category. Despite this, both universities’ basketball accounts rank in the top three on Twitter and Instagram in this list.

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

Followers of the Cavaliers on social are four times more likely to follow Rocket Mortgage on Twitter than the average NBA fan, showing how the brand and team have grown an affinity together during Dan Gilbert ’s tenure as Owner. When Gilbert purchased the Cavs from  Gordon Gund in early ’05, he made sure to include his company Quicken Loans in the deal. The acquisition coincided with the team’s arena being named Quicken Loans Arena for the next 14 years, before transitioning to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in ’19. In addition to naming rights, Rocket Mortgage is positioned all over the arena, with more than a dozen assets found on every level. Each home game is featured on Twitter with a post tagging the brand. The cumulative posts from the first month of this season generated almost $6,000 in social value and more than 635,000 impressions for the partnership. 

Instagram generating higher value for NFL teams despite more Twitter content

Through the first half of the NFL season, the amount of social value generated by each team on Instagram and Twitter from Sept. 9-Nov. 7 was similar to current league standings. With 67.5% of NFL followers between the ages of 15 and 34, the Cowboys and Packers, both among the top five in win percentage, have been the most effective at targeting a younger generation of fans on both platforms. The Packers gained $4,850,797 in social value over the first nine weeks of the season on Twitter, the most in the league and $451,278 more than the second-place Cowboys. Conversely, it was the Cowboys which topped the Packers on Instagram, with $23,190,519 in social value to lead the league by almost $3M.

WHAT’S TRENDING : The leaguewide approach to the two platforms was uniform, with every team posting around two-thirds more on Twitter than Instagram. This difference in posting, however, did not correlate with engagements, impressions or social value. Across the board, teams posted less on Instagram and generated anywhere from three to five times more the social value compared to their activity on Twitter. In terms of engagements, the Texans, despite ranking last on both platforms, managed to produce around 10 times more engagement on Instagram in comparison to Twitter. Engagement rates followed a similar trend across the league, with the Bengals at the top in both platforms. But again, with a fraction of the posts on Instagram as opposed to Twitter, the team’s engagement rate on the former was 10.47%, more than 9% higher than the latter. In total, the 32 NFL franchises have combined for $319,054,600 in social value across both platforms with $249M from posts on Instagram, despite the platform making up about 20% of the total amount of content shared.

Warriors, Rakuten see value on social

The Warriors’ expansive partnership with Rakuten has been a success on social media, with followers of the team two times more likely to follow Rakuten than the average league follower. Tweets from the Warriors tagging Rakuten have been a hit on social, with a recent jersey release post generating more than $12,000 in social value. Rakuten first signed on as the Warriors’ jersey patch partner in ’17 at $20M per year for three years in a groundbreaking deal that landed them home, away and practice jersey as well as practice facility rights. At the time, the deal was the largest in the league and saw Rakuten fully integrate into the Warriors organization as the official e-commerce, video-on-demand, and affiliate marketing partner. The sides extended their deal late last week for an undisclosed amount of time.