Hashtag Analytics: which college football team out-hashed the competition?

By Dr. Todd Bacile | December 10, 2013

Social Media Analytics

Twitter HashtagsA winner can be determined between the hash marks — and the hashtags.  This past weekend marked several high-profile NCAA football conference championship games. Your team may have won or lost on the field, but how did it fair in its social media fan engagement? Using the analytic tools at Topsy, I conducted a high-level analysis to assess hashtag frequency on game day: 12/7/2013. I wanted to answer one question: how much did the different fan bases Tweet about their teams?

A Hashtag is a form of demarcation and a method to link content on a specific topic within social media. An analysis of certain hashtags has some business value to brands and organizations. One example is share of voice on social media: how one brand stacks up against another brand’s social media chatter by consumers.

The below statistics and charts are a hashtag analysis with a few confounds, such as #OSU representing Ohio State University and / or Oklahoma State University. These confounds were accounted for to a degree by using alternative hashtags for some teams. It’s also possible for a rival team’s fan base to tweet about a competitor. Nonetheless, the depicted results below make for an interesting conversation, while illustrating hashtag analytics 101.

Auburn vs. Missouri

Auburn won the game and the battle of the hashtag. The #Auburn tweets tallied 55,555 compared to 3,937 for #Missouri.

#Auburn vs #Missouri

Florida State vs. Duke

The Seminoles trounced the Blue Devils on the field — and on the hashtag — en route to the opportunity to win a national championship. #FSU scored 21,990 tweets compared to 5,295 tweets for #Duke.

#FSU vs #Duke

Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State

This was a bitter rivalry to begin with! Oklahoma pulled the upset on the field, yet lost on Twitter: #Oklahoma came up short with 3,649 tweets compared to 8,368 for #OkState. It was an even worse beating if you count some of the 17,936 tweets for #OSU (although some must be attributed to Ohio State University tweets).

#Oklahoma vs #OkState

Stanford vs. Arizona State

Stanford won big on the field but came up short on Twitter: #ASU’s 6,471 tweets edged #Stanford’s 3,486.

#Stanford vs #ASU

Texas vs. Baylor

Baylor shellacked Texas on the field. However, the tweet-off is more unclear. On the one hand #Baylor’s 6,651 tweets easily beat #UT’s 1,034 tweets. On the other hand #Texas produced 8,009 tweets.

#Baylor vs #UT vs #Texas

Ohio State vs. Michigan State

This was arguably the best game on Saturday, with the underdog Michigan State knocking of Ohio State. It was also a very close hashtag contest. #MSU’s 24,593 tweets topped #OSU’s 17,936, but there is a possible confound: some of the #OSU tweets were probably meant for Oklahoma State. #OhioState’s 15,063 tweets topped #MichiganState’s 8,635. Who won? I’m calling this one for Michigan State: a tally of the two Spartan-related hashtags (33,228) barely tops the two Buckeye-related hashtags (32,999).

#MSU vs #OSU

Any surprises?

Dr. Todd Bacile (@toddbacile) is an Electronic Marketing Professor at Loyola University New Orleans by day and a college football fan by night/weekends. He holds a Ph.D. in Marketing from Florida State University. Social Media Marketing Magazine ranks him as one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter. Have a question or comment? Post it here and you will receive a response.


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