2013 NBA Social Media Playoffs: Memphis Grizzlies Rebound from 2012 and Brooklyn Nets Lead the Pack on Twitter, but LA Lakers and Miami Heat Still All Stars

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Second annual Unmetric report on NBA teams' social media efforts reveals teams are focusing on engagement efforts to strengthen social media presence

NBA 2013 Social Media Report Infographic

The most fundamental component of this entire franchise are the teams’ dedicated fans. It’s the support of the fans - Lux Narayan

NEW YORK – Today Unmetric, the company that tells global brands how they stack up against competition on social media, releases its second annual NBA Playoffs Report which details the social media efforts of all 30 NBA teams participating in the 2013 season to observe the impact of social media presence and to compare results from the 2012 season.

The Rules:
Unmetric gave each NBA franchise a score based on a blend of quantitative and qualitative metrics, weighted and averaged by sector to produce a single number ranging from zero to 100 for each social network—one score for Facebook and one for Twitter. These scores, the Unmetric Scores, are based on metrics such as content strategy, engagement, growth, timing and frequency of tweets and posts on Twitter and Facebook. The report compiles data from the entire 2013 regular season, from October 31, 2012 to April 17, 2013.

With over 19 million connections across Facebook and Twitter, the LA Lakers remain the kingpins of social media this season. Miami Heat came in with 9 million connections total. However, while these early social media pioneers have secured larger fan bases, other teams are leading the pack across other important metrics.

Compared to the 2012 season, the NBA teams have put on their game faces in preparation for the playoffs and both admin posts and fan engagement have skyrocketed on Facebook. In particular, the Memphis Grizzlies—who had been deemed the losers of Unmetric’s 2012 report—stepped up their game in 2013, generating the highest number of admin posts (2,113) and the shortest average reply times on Facebook (1:16:48) from fans as they strived to promote better interaction with fans.

In terms of engagement on Facebook, Miami Heat, LA Lakers, Indiana Pacers, Golden State Warriors, and LA Clippers keep fans updated on the latest schedules, scores, articles, and videos. Miami Heat takes the engagement crown with an average score of 252. Top dog LA Lakers placed in the bottom five in terms of engagement in 2012, but gained monumental traction and rose to second place for the 2013 season with a score of 184.

Miami Heat and LA Lakers go a step further, integrating personalized graphics, infographics, updates on charity initiatives, integration of Instagram and partnership promos. The Heat go as far to change their cover photo to remind fans about upcoming games, and expertly utilizes in-platform contests such as “Facebook Friday Caption Contests.” The Golden State Warriors executed a scavenger hunt where fans participate offline and online across other social media platforms.

But what type of content is really getting fans excited to interact on Facebook? Unmetric took a closer look at the top 10 NBA teams in terms of content engagement, revealing that the majority of Facebook posts were player-related, totaling to 911 posts--the San Antonio Spurs contributed the most in this category with 212 posts. Other big post initiatives include game schedules (706), game results (659), questions to fans (501), and score updates (479).

However, posts that were intrinsically engagement-oriented proved to induce the highest interaction from Facebook fans, receiving an average engagement score of 200.6, followed by game results (147) and score updates (114). Interestingly, although the Dallas Mavericks posted the most engagement-oriented material, 74 posts total, the team saw one of the lowest engagement scores overall with 19. Miami Heat, on the other hand, has only one engagement-oriented post but the highest engagement score by far (1,373).

On Twitter, it’s no surprise that the LA Lakers and Miami Heat own the top spots in relation to total number of followers. However, underdogs such as the Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons and the Milwaukee Bucks demonstrates that it takes more than fan numbers to reap rewards on the social blogging site. Unmetric reveals that brands that tweet the most also stimulate the most fan interaction. The Milwaukee Bucks tweeted 8,518 times during the 2013 regular season, the highest for any team—twice what they posted last year and also double the amount of tweets the LA Lakers posted this season.

The Brooklyn Nets, which came in second for total number of tweets with 8,507, generated the most replies from followers of any team (1,511). The Nets also came in first place for reply percentage, responding to 49 percent of tweets. The Detroit Pistons tweeted 6,465 times and came in first for average reply time, responding to posts in just under three minutes on average.

Last season, new fan recruitment was a play off of its own as teams battled each other to see who could gain the most followers. For the 2013 season, the significantly lowered fan growth rates compared to last season suggests that teams are striving to deepen their connections with existing followers rather than recruiting new fans. For Facebook, fan growth rates have been reduced by almost half for every team except for the Brooklyn Nets. The team, which relocated to Brooklyn this season, made a 15.5 percent jump from the previous year. The Nets’ initiative to gain new fans proves to be a success as the team made the top five in highest conversation percentage as well as most fan posts, most replies, and lowest average response time. On Twitter, fan growth rates have slowed down significantly except for the Houston Rockets, whose fan base grew an upwards of 11.40% for the 2013 season.

In terms of utilizing other social networks to connect with fans, NBA teams have not focused a lot of attention elsewhere. According to Unmetric’s platform, of the 30 NBA teams, 23 of them have channels on YouTube while only 9 of them have Pinterest accounts.

So at the end of it all, which team wins this year's NBA Social Media Playoffs? According to Unmetric, the LA Lakers are still the ones to beat with a combined Unmetric Score of 120. The Miami Heat comes in a close second place with a score of 110. Not surprising, considering these two teams lead the rest in terms of total number of fans, followers, tweets and engagement. The third place Chicago Bulls ring in with a score of 76.

Here’s a breakdown of notable metrics covered by the report, gathered from October 30, 2012 to April 17, 2013:

Facebook

Unmetric Score
1. LA Lakers - 59
2. Miami Heat - 55
3. Chicago Bulls - 42
4. New York Knicks/Boston Celtics - 33
5. Oklahoma City Thunders - 30

Total Fans
1. LA Lakers - 16,271,154
2. Chicago Bulls - 8,543,681
3. Miami Heat - 7,964,674
4. Boston Celtics - 6,911,235
5. New York Knicks - 3,654,506

Fastest Growing Teams
1. Brooklyn Nets - 47.80%
2. Los Angeles Clippers - 30.90%
3. Oklahoma City Thunders - 25.50%
4. Charlotte Bobcats - 24.90%
5. New York Knicks - 22.50%

Highest Engagement Score (Calculation of Likes, Comments, Shares and Impressions that each FB post receives)
1. Miami Heat - 252
2. LA Lakers - 184
3. Indiana Pacers - 145
4. Golden State Warriors - 138
5. Los Angeles Clippers - 78

Lowest Engagement Score (Calculation of Likes, Comments, Shares and Impressions that each FB post receives)
1. Cleveland Cavaliers - 7
2. Orlando Magic/Detroit Pistons - 9
3. Boston Celtics/Memphis Grizzlies -14
4. Minnesota Timberwolves - 21
5. Phoenix Suns - 23

Highest Conversation % (Percentage of fans that are interacting with the page via Likes, Comments and Shares)
1. Los Angeles Clippers - 6.50%
2. Golden State Warriors - 6.40%
3. Portland Trail Blazers - 6.00%
4. Indiana Pacers - 5.50%
5. Brooklyn Nets - 5.40%

Highest # of Admin Posts
1. Memphis Grizzlies - 2,113
2. Portland Trail Blazers - 1,515
3. Minnesota Timberwolves - 1,311
4. Detroit Pistons - 1,216
5. New York Knicks - 1,211

Fan Posts
1. Houston Rockets - 6,344
2. New York Knicks - 6,315
3. Brooklyn Nets - 6,208
4. Dallas Mavericks - 2,180
5. Orlando Magic - 2,123

Replies
1. Brooklyn Nets - 1,005
2. Detroit Pistons - 59
3. Phoenix Suns - 27
4. Minnesota Timberwolves - 17
5. Atlanta Hawks - 15

Average Reply Time (HH:MM:SS)
1. Memphis Grizzlies - 1:16:48
2. Houston Rockets - 1:29:53
3. Brooklyn Nets - 2:50:17
4. Philadelphia 76ers - 3:55:58
5. Detroit Pistons - 6:59:43

Facebook Content Strategy

Most popular content categories by number of total posts
1. About the players - 911
2. Game schedule - 706
3. Game posts - 659
4. Questions to fans - 501
5. Score updates - 479

Content with highest average Engagement Score
1. Engagement-oriented posts - 200
2. Game results - 138
3. Score updates - 114
4. Photos - 96
5. About the players - 82

Twitter

Twitter Unmetric Score
1. LA Lakers - 61
2. Miami Heat - 55
3. Boston Celtics - 42
4. Toronto Raptors/Orlando Magic - 39
5. Detroit Pistons - 38

Total Followers
1. LA Lakers - 3,067,125
2. Miami Heat - 1,194,399
3. Orlando Magic - 1,096,375
4. Boston Celtics - 1,047,072
5. Chicago Bulls - 739,325

Fastest Growing Teams
1. Toronto Raptors - 60.50%
2. Los Angeles Clippers – 59.320%
3. Houston Rockets - 56.70%
4. Milwaukee Bucks - 51.60%
5. Charlotte Bobcats - 50.00%

Proactive (Tweets talking about team, excluding admin tweets and retweets)
1. Denver Nuggets/San Antonio Spurs - 97%
2. Chicago Bulls - 94%
3. Orlando Magic/Miami Heat/Philadelphia 76ers/Utah Jazz - 89%
4. Boston Celtics/Orlando Magic - 88%
5. New York Knicks/Sacramento Kings - 87%

Tweets
1. Milwaukee Bucks - 8,518
2. Brooklyn Nets - 8,507
3. Detroit Pistons - 6,465
4. Portland Trail Blazers - 6,458
5. Golden State Warriors - 6,167

Tweets Per Day
1. Milwaukee Bucks/Brooklyn Nets - 50
2. Detroit Pistons - 38
3. Portland Trail Blazers - 37
4. Golden State Warriors - 36
5. Indiana Pacers/Minnesota Timberwolves - 34

Retweets
1. LA Lakers - 31%
2. New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans/Dallas Mavericks - 24%
3. Washington Wizards - 23%
4. Portland Trail Blazers/Houston Rockets - 21%
5. Milwaukee Bucks - 20%

Replies
1. Brooklyn Nets - 1,511
2. Indiana Pacers - 1,108
3. Milwaukee Bucks - 779
4. Detroit Pistons - 722
5. Toronto Raptors - 715

Average Reply time (HH:MM:SS)
1. Detroit Pistons - 0:02:42
2. Phoenix Suns - 0:04:39
3. Philadelphia 76ers - 0:07:11
4. New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans - 0:15:21
5. Minnesota Timberwolves - 0:16:13

Combined Unmetric Score (sum of Facebook and Twitter, out of a possible 200)
1. LA Lakers - 120
2. Miami Heat - 110
3. Chicago Bulls - 76
4. Boston Celtics - 75
5. Oklahoma City Thunder - 65

“Being successful, whether it be on the court or on the web obviously matters to the competing teams,” says Unmetric CEO, Lux Narayan. “But the most fundamental component of this entire franchise are the teams’ dedicated fans. It’s the support of the fans that often drive NBA teams to the playoffs and towards the championship. Being able to create a constant stream of engagement with them, and understanding what content resonates brings connects the fans and teams in ways that couldn’t have been possible before.”

Unmetric provides definitive competitive intelligence on social media brand activity, through category benchmarks and cross-category analogues. Metrics, analyses and reports are delivered to brands and their agencies, online and on the fly, making sure that brands don't fly blind on social media. Unmetric combines machine learning and human intelligence to deliver insights that leading global brands depend upon. Brands are now able to answer the basic business question of “Is my brand social enough?" on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and more.

Methodology:
Unmetric compiled its 2013 NBA Playoffs Report by sourcing data from its social media benchmarking platform. Insights and brand activities on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest were analyzed for the 2013 regular season between October 30, 2012 to April 17, 2013.

About Unmetric:
Unmetric is headquartered in New York City and works with category leading brands and innovative agencies across the world. Unmetric provides not-so-obvious competitive intelligence on over 10,000 global brands across 30 industry sectors, helping brands and their agencies to comprehend and calibrate their social media efforts, and compete with intelligence and efficiency. The client list includes iconic brands like Subway, Campbell's, Toyota, and Lowe's Home Improvement, and agencies like GroupM, MRY, M Booth, Golin Harris, and the Zocalo Group. For more information, visit http://www.unmetric.com

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