Friday, November 20th, 2015 | 9 min read
The 11th week of the National Football League’s 2015 season has just kicked off, and a lot has happened over the past ten weeks.
With public controversy over pay-for-play daily fantasy sports, drama surrounding players’ personal lives, and a record number of undefeated teams making it far into the season, things are definitely heating up—both on and off the field.
Let’s not forget about your personal investment. Does your favorite team have a winning record? Did you lose that bet you made? More importantly, how’s your fantasy team doing?
We’ve got one more thing for you to consider when it comes to how the teams stack up this season, and it’s something you have a part in.
For the past 10 weeks, we’ve used Sprinklr Benchmarking to analyze how the 32 NFL teams are doing—not on passing yards, touchdowns, or wins—but on mentions, likes, and shares in social media.
Though wins and losses are what determine a team’s stats, positive performance on social can help long-term success. It’s proven that social media presence is an essential role to brand marketing and has become an expectation from clients. Brands are not only able to tell their story, but also engage with their audience on a larger scale.
Putting these tools to best use can be a challenge, but with the right strategies in place, social media marketing has the potential to increase sales, improve brand loyalty, and provide a wider range of opportunities to reach customers, or in this case, fans.
Sprinklr’s Benchmarking tool provided insights into each NFL team’s social performance on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and we compared how that information stacks up to their success on the field. Check out our findings below to see where your favorite team stands.
Here is a list of the top five NFL teams on social alongside ESPN’s latest standings. While the official ranking represents teams with the best record in terms of wins and losses, the social rankings, powered by Sprinklr, reflect a team’s overall performance when considering engagement, following, and activity. The New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos stand out as the only two teams to make both lists.
Touchdown for New England once again: the most talked about team for seven of the past 10 weeks. The patriots are one of two teams to remain undefeated after week 10, which no doubt has generated a large amount of the buzz.
The Pats’ season also began at the tail end of a cheating scandal surrounding their quarterback Tom Brady, whose suspension was lifted days before the first game. This sparked significant media attention and was likely a big drive behind the number of mentions they received during week one—the highest number of mentions out of all 10 weeks.
It should come as no surprise that the teams generating the most mentions also happen to be the most popular on social media.
The Dallas Cowboys boast over 11 million followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram combined, which is almost two million more than the second-place team. This comes as no surprise; “America’s Team” was also rated as the most popular of the NFL teams this season, according to the 2015 Harris Poll.
While a high follower count is impressive, the interaction between teams and their fans is what truly helps drive their success in social media. The next graphic shows the top teams based on social engagement.
In addition to the usual suspects, the Oakland Raiders emerged as one of the most engaging teams based on audience size. Despite only having 4.1 million followers—less than half of the most followed teams—their engagement ratio is almost double.
The Raiders weren’t on the radar during the first few weeks of the season, but now, with talk of going to the playoffs, it’s no wonder they are beginning to get a lot of attention on social.
The Green Bay Packers, who are sharing the most content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on average, are proving the benefits of businesses interacting with their audience. Due to a growing fan base, the packers expanded their home stadium two seasons ago and have seen a 9.4% increase in revenue from last year.
With over 16 million engagements thus far this season, combined with their average weekly posting rate, it is no wonder the Packers rank number one on our week 10 standings.
Rallying phrases—like the Miami Dolphins’ #StrongerTogether and the New Orleans Saints’ “WhoDat Nation”—gained a lot of traction on social during game days.
Specific players were highlighted as well, like tight end Rob Gronkowski (Gronk) of the Patriots and QB Aaron Rodgers of the Packers, for their performance this season.
Fans also took to social during the #BUFvsNYJ game, which was the debut of the new “Color Rush” campaign, in which both teams sported new solid color uniforms. However, it was soon realized that watching the game was a nightmare for those who struggle with red and green color blindness, and the hilarious frustration took over the internet.
On Instagram, the Patriots hold the number one spot for the most-liked post this season: a picture celebrating Tom Brady’s new NFL record of 161 wins as a starting QB. Other top posts were in a celebratory mood as well, including the New York Giants’ photo of their head coach Tom Coughlin, congratulating him for his 100th regular season win with the team.
With 10 weeks of data collected from 32 teams, there’s a lot to share. In addition to our graphics above, which laid out the top teams in each category, here are some other highlights we found.
There’s clearly a lot more to a team’s success than their wins on the field, and social is a great way for players and teams to connect with fans and build morale and hype. With the amount of users on social media today, it is no surprise that customers and fans of their favorite (and least favorite) brands are taking their opinions to the internet. A team’s record will always be important, but social success is an entirely different game, one that should be played with a sharp strategy.
About the Authors: Cheyenne Dermody, Emmett Butler, Rebecca Schwartz, Jacob Issac, and Amanda Saiewitz are marketing interns in Spinklr’s New York office, who have a passion for social media and football.