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One epic move can change up the dynamic of any sports game, and if it takes place during the final game in a championship series, it should be a no-brainer to capture that visual of a big three point shot, impressive defensive blocking or the star player being handed the trophy. By having a collection of these, they can be used as a dataset for content creators and social media managers to keep fans ready and engaged. The same is true for marketers. Subtle differences in shot construction for brand and lifestyle imagery can make a big difference in performance. Getting details such as camera angle right can mean a 41% increase in engagement.

The NBA is a prime example of how strong visuals is beneficial for a league’s brands. The NBA’s focus on having its players and teams promote themselves through social media resulted in it being ranked as one of the most innovative companies by Fast Company. There are a lot of fans who continuously pay attention to games on Twitter, Facebook, and even a team’s official app. Twitter is aware of this attention and released a blog showing which hashtag fans can use to connect and interact with their favorite team. One example is the Toronto Raptors’ #WeTheNorth hashtag, which is used as a rallying cry for fans.

See What Makes Your Story Connect

This is part of the regular season cycle for any team in any sports organization. Fan interest will change whether a team is on a winning streak or if they are in a post-championship slump. Despite that, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t crucial to keep finding ways to continue to create interest in the brand on social media.

Deep Data Insight Examples: 

We took the top NBA instagram accounts and the data from their visuals and compared their performance. These insights give us the capability to analyze and understand industries beyond success and failures. The accounts are the Celtics, Spurs, Lakers, Raptors, Cavs, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and Chicago Bulls. With these 10 pages there are roughly 9,000 posts. There are also 51,561,7145 interactions over a year period, and the total audience/ followers is just under 70 million. 

Screen Shot 2020-05-29 at 2.00.55 PMThe highest performing cluster for this cohort of NBA teams shows how crucial brand and player recognition is in visuals. Even if a team is posting about a player on a different team, it benefits their own visuals. Screen Shot 2020-05-29 at 2.00.44 PM

Performance by month shows that October, November, December, January, and February experience higher post count. This is because this is the season for NBA, but also the data also shows that half the year, theres far less engaging content. 

Why is the game-to-game data and capturing the key moments important for social media managers?

The answer? Because any growing set of visual and hard data is going to be needed to create compelling content.

Every team in any league, not just the NBA, has its own Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and as well as an official app to share news to its fans. Two core datasets that brand managers can utilize to great results are team and player performances and knowing what the matchups will be like between teams. And since any sports-related news is more engaging through pictures, clips, and graphics of any kind, it’s good to utilize the visual-sharing capabilities of each social platform.

Patterns in AI 

Utilizing the capabilities of platforms like instagram, comes down to understanding what works when it comes to how you market a sports team. 

Big plays can go one during the regular season against a rival team, the playoffs, and finally, a championship game. Videos of someone like LeBron James scoring 20 points is going to get clicks and raise his profile, yes, but if it’s during a regular-season game, showing crowd reactions could be used for marketing how fun live games are. Or if it’s a playoff game, it can be used to rile up fan support on social media, thus creating more of a buzz.

Then there is the topic of rivalries. Every league has at least two teams that are engaged in a heated rivalry. While the reasons behind the feud, the data going into the game will change. For example, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have one of the longest-running rivalries in NBA history. Having statistics based on previous defeats and victories is great for some initial pre-game interest, as well as specific statistics about certain players.

More Examples:

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The cluster above shows how focusing on the jersey and the physical texture of the fabric is an unexpected underdog with visuals performing 38% above median performance. 

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When Cortex's algorithm takes data from you, your competitors, and tens of thousands of other brands tracked by Cortex, and we group elements based on copy, images and primary image colors to find what content is most effective for your audience. It sees things and aspects of visuals that you can't detect. This above cluster shows how surprisingly, featuring the crowds in your content is 31% above median effectiveness. We can also see that the Raptors domiate this strategy 

Implementing on the Social Media Court 

But what about the actual game itself? Along with highlighting ongoing results, historical comparisons can be a fun way to bring the story full circle, but keep fans informed of the current roster’s prowess. This can all be done through eye-catching graphic design or even a quick video.

But what about small market teams? This is a common occurrence in any league, but it is not an unsolvable solution. Every team has a star player, even if they don’t appear on ESPN every day. Raising a player’s profile on social media can result in growing interest from casual fans, and that can include their ongoing conduct on the court/field/etc. or how they interact with local fans.

Keep Your Brand Alive!

It’s not an easy job being a brand manager, let alone one for a major organization like the Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors or Boston Celtics. It takes a lot of analysis to figure out what can keep the die-hard fans along with bringing in casual fans. But, much like how through a combination of luck and athletics, a seemingly impossible half-court shot just makes it to the hoop, a strong, up-to-date dataset will provide any brand manager with the visuals they need to create great, engaging content for the team’s brand.

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