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With our fair share of upsets, buzzer-beaters and injuries, this March Madness has become one for the books. As we move forward into the Final Four and beyond, social media will be playing an even bigger part in how fans receive their updates and converse amongst the action. Now more than ever, fans have been using mobile access to follow games. This year, mobile and online viewership has seen 12.6 million hours of video. With this 201% increase from last year, top apps such as NCAA March Madness, Pocket Bracket and ESPN Bracket Bound 2013 are making big names for themselves and seeing all-time highs in penetration.
Over the last few weeks, some schools have owned the channels when it comes to making the most noise…digitally. UMiami, FGC and IU are the most talked about schools thus far, with Michigan State, Marquette and Louisville being the least talked about schools. This lowest seed still alive, Wichita State, has the most positive sentiment on social media out of any team at 66%. Wichita has been my favorite team to watch, as they already upset #1 seed Gonzaga and #2 seed Ohio State (knocking out half my pool). With a Final Four win over Louisville Saturday night, Wichita would be playing for the first ever title as a #9 seed.
As the tournament gets more exciting, it will be amusing to see what brands step up and capitalize on content to engage their fans. A campaign I have been following — Capital One’s “Rally Cry”– is an integrated television and digital campaign using Alec Baldwin and Charles Barkley as spokespeople and emphasizing the use of the Twitter hashtag, #rallycry. Capital One wants to provide fans with a megaphone to talk about their teams on Twitter using their hashtag. The brand is tracking the conversation and periodically changing the background of its official Twitter account’s background based on analytics that determine the schools producing the “loudest” fans on social media. This is just one many campaigns happening at the moment. It’s go time for marketers– make sure your brand has a unique P.O.V.
Who will take home the social crown this year?