Commentary

Cowboys Winning The Social Media Game

The Dallas Cowboys are indeed “America’s Team,” judging by their huge success on social media during the NFL playoffs. Since the beginning of December the Cowboys have generated about 27.7 million interactions from their official social media accounts, according to data from MediaPost’s Digital Engagement Index, a new social media activity benchmarking and tracking feature powered by ListenFirst.

That’s almost twice as much activity as the next biggest team on social media, the New England Patriots, with 14.1 million interactions over the same period. The Pittsburgh Steelers are in third place with 11.8 million interactions, followed by the Seattle Seahawks with almost ten million, and the Green Bay Packers with 9.9 million.

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No surprise -- the most popular teams on social media have been the ones winning on the gridiron, with one notable exception: the Carolina Panthers, who managed to sneak into the playoffs and the top ten for social engagement -- despite a losing record -- after winning last Saturday’s wild card game against Arizona. Jubilant Panthers fans helped boost its social engagement score to 6.8 million, putting it in eighth place after the San Francisco 49ers with 8.3 million, and the Denver Broncos with 6.2 million.

Interestingly, different teams are dominant on different social media platforms. For example, the Cowboys are huge on Facebook, which provides 75% of their engagement, thanks mostly to photos and links to articles; photos with captions, scores, and quotes are performing best (there are also a few shots of the lovely ladies of the Cowboys cheerleading squad, which probably don’t need much explanation). The Cowboys are also giving a lot of space in their social feeds to advertisers, including Mastercard’s  #PricelessSurprises, a Texas Lotto promotion, and Papa Johns

Meanwhile, the Patriots are getting more Instagram engagement than any other team, perhaps because of their famously photogenic quarterback Tom Brady. ListenFirst noted that Brady appears in fully one-third of their Instagram photos, and these photos garner 38% more engagement than other photos on average (here it may be worth noting that according to some estimates, women make up as much as two-thirds of Instagram’s user base).

The Patriots are also making room for sponsors on Instagram, including Pepsi, which is presenting the “Do Your Job” promotion, with giveaways of prizes including a football signed by Brady.

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