Analyzing Social Trends as the NFL Season Starts [INFOGRAPHIC]

Niraj Sharma |
 09/06/18 |
3 min read

Bud Light victory fridge

As football season kicks off today, where should brands and marketers focus their attention? It’s a long season and everyone wants to “win” the Super Bowl, so social trend analysis is a great place to start.

Track Trends in the Moment

A LIVE Pulse is an essential tool for capturing trending topics in real-time. Here’s a look at our NFL LIVE Pulse on September 4:

live pulse from september 4

Following Nike’s unveiling of Colin Kaepernick as the face of their newest ad campaign, it’s no surprise the former San Francisco 49ers starter is a prominent topic. The term “boycotting” is also in the mix, and a search on the NFL in NetBase Pro bears out the negative sentiment around both Nike and the NFL in general:

Some are critical of Nike and the NFL for being more concerned with politics than their patrons. Others can’t get past the perceived disrespect of kneeling for the anthem. These are hot topics for sure, and brands on both sides of the argument must use social monitoring to know whether they are in trouble or not.

The good news is social moves quickly. Though Nike and Kaepernick are still being overwhelmingly discussed on September 5, new topics are emerging as opening day approaches:

live pulse from september 5

And a search on Nike in the past day (September 4-5) shows Emotions are pretty well split:

emotion word cloud for nike

For all those burning their Nike gear…

tweet about burning nikes

…there are people declaring new love for the brand:

tweet about buying nikes

Monitor Your Campaigns

Trend analysis is just one aspect of social analytics. If you were performing social listening all along, you should already know what your audience is about, and what will inspire them to engage with your brand as you launch your football ad campaigns.

Bud Light has a new campaign targeting local Cleveland Browns fans. They’ve set up locked “victory fridges” in Cleveland bars, which will be unlocked upon the team’s first regular season win.

There’s a lot of love for the gimmick, with a big spike in positive sentiment on 8/14 when the campaign was announced. But there was also a big negative spike on 8/18, as Bud Light’s NFL affiliation ruffled some feathers.

sentiment spikes in august for bud light

This is when it’s helpful to engage influencers to help keep the conversation flowing in a positive direction. Here are a few Bud Light could consider:

influencers for bud light

It might seem strange to see Bud Light on their own influencer list – but what’s notable is the channel. YouTube is working well for them, so they might consider focusing efforts there – and sharing those videos on other channels.

Again, social is fast-moving, and by yesterday sentiment had rebounded nicely. Here are some of the Emotions in play:

emotions word cloud for bud light

The victory fridge idea is being embraced more than not, which is good. Bud Light will have to keep a close eye on this campaign and learn all they can leading up to the Super Bowl.

Prepping for a Championship

The Super Bowl is the goal, of course – for teams and marketers alike. Now is the time to monitor your campaigns and work out the kinks, while also keeping alert to sudden trends worth leveraging as the season progresses.

Our Super Bowl infographic has some key points worth noting:

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Choosing the right partners for your Super Bowl campaign matters – and Amazon and Michelob Ultra are surely happy they chose Cardi B and Chris Pratt, respectively.

Another recent example is the Kia/Stance partnership featuring Christopher Walken. The “Walken Closet” commercial was a huge win for both brands – but it wasn’t a happy accident.

Instead of seeking to team up with the “biggest” brand Kia sought out a brand with a passionate and vocal fan-base. They wanted to showcase the pizzazz and luxury of their new Kia Optima, and they thought Stance’s quirky individuality would be the perfect complement.

Stance smartly used social analytics to prove they were the perfect challenger brand for the job – and they reaped major benefits from the partnership.

That’s just one example, of course. Many brands have had stand-out Super Bowl moments – but many have also fallen short, like Dodge and Squarespace. The NetBase Industry Report 2018: Super Bowl Advertising highlights what happened for both brands, as well as what brought several brands Super Bowl victory.

We want your brand to be one of those dancing in a shower of Gatorade come February 3, 2019. Apply your trend analysis and other social analytics tools now, and you surely will be.

We’re here to help! Reach out for a personalized demo of how trend analysis can help you win the football season!



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