Return of March Madness Boosts Consumer Engagement 61%; Instagram Dominates

illustration of basketball on court

After it was canceled last year because of the pandemic, the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament is slated to resume this month, albeit in a much different fashion.

Social media conversations about it are a bit different too. “This year, many of the posts discussed the NCAA’s choice to allow fans in the arenas, which could point to why [the word] ‘NCAA’ is much more prominent than last year,” says Madison Busick, a marketing analyst at Shareablee.

Last year, some fans blasted the NCAA for canceling March Madness, just two days after WHO declared a pandemic. Some judged the NCAA’s action as premature.

As you might expect, last year consumer engagement with content related to the tournament was way down. Versus the same period in 2020 (Jan. 24-Feb. 23), 2021 consumer engagement with March Madness content rose 61 percent, according to Shareablee data, provided exclusively to PRNEWS. In the charts, ‘actions’ refer to the sum of shares, comments and likes.

Likewise, brands posted 158 percent more content this year vs. 2020, across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Bleacher Report was responsible for 31 percent of all engagement, though it posted just 10 times.The most engaged-with post was Overtime’s throwback video featuring athlete Tyler Herro.

While just 4 percent of March Madness-related content was posted on Instagram, the platform enjoyed 85 percent of all engagement.