Social Media Madness

Can Social Media Be Used to Predict March Madness Results?

Happy March Madness 2018! For the next few weeks, some of the most talented student athletes in the country will try and decide who is the best on basketball courts all over the country.

Our student social media athletes decided to put their own spin on the madness this month by deciding which school would come out on top if the game were played on social media instead of the hardwood. The above bracket are the results.

They say defense wins championships and offense wins games, but on social media, engagement wins all. In deference to that fact, our team analyzed all 64 teams in the main bracket (apologies to the teams who lost their play-in games) and measured the following metrics:

  • The number of followers of their team social accounts compared to the currently enrolled student body
  • The volume of content produced by those accounts
  • The amount of engagement the social content received compared to its following

These numbers were combined using our super-secret, proprietary formula (as well as an equalizer metric to convert those numbers into digestible basketball scores) and then we bracketed out the teams according to their social media engagement score.

While we won’t publish an exhaustive list of the data we collected and each team’s score (that would be dreadfully boring for all but the true data junkies out there) here are a few insights people may find interesting:

  • Nevada vs Texas, a 7 vs 10 matchup in the real tournament, was decided by less than one tenth of a point on our ranking system. Nevada then becomes the victim of slim margins with a loss to Cincinnati by .05 points–the closest game in our bracketing system.
  • Though we have Davidson losing in the first round to Kentucky, it’s not for a lack of engagement. Davidson finished 9th of the tournament teams with a social engagement score of 789.49. Unfortunately, they were a victim of poor scheduling, falling to Kentucky’s 5th-best 12,041.66 points.
  • St. Bonaventure has the 2nd-smallest enrollment of any of the 64 tournament teams. However, they finished 10th in total engagement score.
  • San Diego State, though falling to Houston in the first round of our tournament predictions, has the highest Instagram rate of engagement of all the teams. Unfortunately, lack of additional, dedicated and active social accounts for their team stalled them in round 1.

Duke basketball is the king of engaging its fan base online. In fact, they have a social engagement score higher than all the other Final Four teams combined! Is this the year they win both online and on the court? We’ll know in just a few crazy weeks.

Here’s to hoping the tournament is great and that you, dear reader, start engaging with your alma mater’s accounts to give them a boost to their engagement score.

We’ll leave you with just one final question: Is social engagement a good predictor of the outcome of basketball games? Follow our bracket to find out!

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