March Madness: Which Final Four Team Wins on Social Media?

By   |   March 29th, 2016   |   Reading time: 4 minutes Brands

The Final Four of March Madness are gearing up for the championship games and we uncover which team would win through social media. 

Has your bracket been broken this year, or did you make some lucky picks? There’s an endless amount of ways to choose your NCAA winners. Here at NewsWhip, we’re wrapping up the tournament by finding who would win through their social media engagements.

Using NewsWhip Analytics and Spike, we examined the Final Four teams and how many engagements they were scoring across social media from the beginning of March Madness to now.

NCAA social media final four

Oklahoma has been the top engaging team of the Final Four since March Madness took off on March 15th. They’re closely followed by North Carolina’s Tar Heels, with 591,000 Facebook engagements to Oklahoma’s 615,000.

Meanwhile, Syracuse is at 562,000 total Facebook engagements, and Villanova trails in fourth, with 302,000 engagements. But those numbers alone don’t give us a full scope of the content trends. We need to get more granular. 

[bctt tweet=”In #MarchMadness social media, @OU_Athletics is the #1 winner”]

Using NewsWhip Analytics, we can view the time frame where most of these engagements were coming from. We can look at the article count over time to see when the teams had the most content being produced about them. Try Spike to find the top content around your favorite team, and your rivals. 

Final Four Teams’ Article Count From March 15th to 28th

article count ncaa

We can also look at the Facebook shares over time as well. 

Final Four Teams’ Facebook Shares For Content Published From March 15th to 28th

NCAA facebook shares

Looking at the graphs, we see North Carolina and Oklahoma have had fairly steady engagement. While all the teams saw spikes in engagement around their wins, Villanova and Syracuse especially did when the teams started upsetting people’s carefully assembled brackets.

[bctt tweet=”Our picks for #MarchMadness based on social media: @OU_Athletics vs @GoHeels”]

All of the teams have seen a huge jump in content produced once they made it into the Final Four. Let’s look at the content that’s getting the most attention on social. 

The Biggest Content Winners

The biggest article on social media was “An Open Letter of Apology to America From Syracuse Basketball” on SB Nation’s Syracuse Orange blog.

NCAA Syracuse content

The article drove over 7,500 shares, 20,000 likes, and 4,500 comments on Facebook, along with 163 shares on LinkedIn and over 1,900 tweets.

Upsets are a given any year, and engagement can be expected, both by fans who are happy their team has beaten the odds and those distraught that their brackets are falling apart.

The second most shared article focused on this video of Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig scoring a buzzer beater.

Despite not being about Syracuse scoring a win, the video was recorded by a Syracuse player’s father and still shows the excitement of the game and the feats of these young athletes.

The article drove over 4,000 shares on Facebook, along with nearly 16,000 likes and 1,500 comments.

We mentioned in January that vertical video would be at the forefront of publishers’ minds this year. Especially for events like these, where fans become broadcasters through the power of their phones. Their videos can give publishers and teams unique vantages to share.

Over on Instagram, victories are taking the lead in engagement, mostly thanks to big sports publishers like Sports Illustrated.

This is the most liked Instagram post for the Final Four, announcing Villanova’s win over Kansas. It scored over 9,500 likes. Instagram’s visual platform lends itself well to the the thrill and emotion of big sports moments. For sports, fans want to relive the most exciting plays of a game over and over, and feel like they’re a part of the action. 

Hedge Your Bets on Social

If social media could win games alone, then we’d be placing our bets on Oklahoma. But as we’ve seen from analyzing the individual metrics, Syracuse could be the winning team, since some of the best content focused on them and their upsets.

[bctt tweet=”Top NCAA Final Four winners on Facebook: 1) @OU_Athletics, 2) @GoHeels, 3) @Cuse”]

We’ve watched how social media plays out around huge sporting events before. This time we’ll be watching to see if fan buzz can be a forecaster of who’s going to go home victorious.

syracuse march madness spike

Even in the past three hours, Syracuse is dominating the news around March Madness in Spike

As we get closer to the final games, NewsWhip Spike will keep us up to date on the latest big news on social around the Final Four. Maybe next year, we’ll use it to guess our brackets. Til next time, enjoy the games and good luck. 

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