The One Tool You Need to Win Your Office Pool
Ben Eckerson, Former Senior Digital Strategist
The greatest time of the year is upon us! I don’t mean the jolly green holiday where we get in touch with our Irish side, nor the pilgrimage southward (by southwestward) to take in panels, happy hours, and brand promotions. It’s the NCAA Tournament aka March Madness aka the “sportsball bracket thing” — the most exciting 3-week competition in all of sports.
The excitement of watching 54 games in the first 6 days is only dwarfed by America’s burning desire to predict the future of the entire 20-day tournament. Some use conventional wisdom, mascot preferences, and analytical research, while others follow their animal instincts. With the creation of the office pool, it seems we’ve all been shooting toward the holy grail of goals: a perfect bracket. Unexpected teams win (and lose) games and, while this makes for exciting television, it can shatter our predictive confidence and result in a bracket full of red X’s.
As an agency with plenty of data nerds and sports fans, we know two things for certain: there's great power in social analytics, and we love sports.
If The Dress taught us anything (other than things about web design), it’s that people love to share their opinion on social media. So we thought, why not leverage the insights of social media to predict each and every winner of the tournament? Luckily for us, we have some fantastic friends at AddThis who have access to over 1.8B (B for billion, not brackets) monthly users and their social sharing preferences.
With this data, we’ve been able to keep tabs on America’s social pulse and advance in the bracket the schools that are getting the most buzz. We’ll be updating the bracket as games finish and pulling in data after each round to re-project predictions — to see if the buzz gets “smarter” as time goes on. Much like our own personal bracket entries, we know this method will result in a few wrong predictions, but our heart is still hopeful it could be the perfect bracket we’ve all been searching for.