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"Tebowmania" around Broncos' shock NFL victory shows how Twitter can be used to track live reactions
Analysis of minute-by-minute tweet volumes during last Sunday’s NFL Broncos-Bears game shows how real-time social networks can be used as a barometer of consumer reaction to very specific moments.
As more and more consumers engage in multiscreen viewing, WaveMetrix investigated to what level of detail social media engagement can be tracked. Coverage of a shock overtime victory for the Denver Broncos last weekend shows how Twitter can mirror levels of excitement. Current hot-topic Tim Tebow pulled off another 4th quarter comeback to rescue Denver from defeat, making this the sixth game Denver has won late with Tebow starting.
WaveMetrix social media monitoring shows how Twitter is used by consumers to respond to the Bears-Broncos drama. Taking a ten hour sample of game discussion on Twitter, we analyzed where the highest concentrations of tweets per minute fell. These peaks in discussion are a barometer for interest in that part of the game, with the most dramatic moments leading people to tweet then-and-there. This shows how real-time social networking can pinpoint not only how engaged consumers are with an event or program, but which moments or scenes thrill them most.
Consumer reactions are mirrored by Tweets per minute during Dec 11 NFL Broncos-Bears game:
1. The game begins: tweet volumes are initially low, some fans expressing initial anticipation and their expectations for the game
2. Initial peaks in Twitter discussion come around the first commercials, as viewers reflect on the game so far – these peaks are much lower than later in the game as the score remains 0-0 at this point. Throughout the game, tweets tend to peak during commercials for all but the most important moments
3. Buzz remains low as the game is scoreless until the 3rd quarter, when a Marion Barber touchdown puts Chicago in the lead, driving a large spike in tweets when he scores
4. Another Denver drive stalls – viewer anxiety builds as time is running out and the Broncos have yet to score; the stalled drive causes Twitter buzz to spike again as consumers, though anxious, “get ready for Tebow time” and hope for “another miraculous comeback"
5. The largest spike in the game so far comes when Tebow throws a touchdown pass with just over two minutes to go. As the drama builds, so does Twitter engagement
6. As Denver unexpectedly gets the ball with under a minute to go, Twitter engagement goes into overdrive, and is sustained at higher levels until the end of the game as “the comeback kid” Tebow is praised
7. A 59-yard Denver field goal ties the game and it heads into overtime
8. In overtime, another long field goal wins the game for the Broncos, driving tweets to their highest levels as viewers say they “can’t believe” the game’s miraculous outcome and that “Tebow has done it again”
9. After the game, levels drop but remain at elevated, compared to before the game, as viewers continue to discuss what they just saw
Twitter reactions to Broncos-Bears show how consumers respond to TV events:
- Extreme drama and key moments drive viewers to tweet as soon as the moment occurs: Although for the most part Twitter engagement spikes durng commericals, touchdowns, field goals or dramatic plot twists lead consumers to tweet right away, rather than waiting for breaks. This suggests that spikes during a broadcast indicate moments where consumers are really thrilled by what they are seeing
- The majority of Twitter buzz is ephemeral and reactive, but the most amazing moments can lead to elevated levels of discussion hours after the event: Tweets tend to peak and fall around the event itself, with levels during overtime more than six times higher than when the game was scoreless. Tweet levels after the event airs are a barometer of the event’s lasting impact – five hours after the Broncos-Bears game ends tweet levels are still elevated compared to pre-game levels, as viewers continue to say they “don’t know how Tebow does it”