Super Data

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

My name is @kevinweil and I’m on the analytics team at Twitter. The convergence of sports, brands, and culture around the Super Bowl makes for a particularly fascinating set of tweets to follow. Fans of the @NFL watch the Super Bowl for the football and others enjoy the spectacle for the commercials. We were curious to understand how these groups interacted with Twitter as the game unfolded.

We categorized each incoming tweet as about the Super Bowl itself, about the brands or the commercials, or neither. Dividing each group by the total volume of tweets, we produced the graph below which represents a minute-by-minute reflection of people’s thoughts and emotions during the game.

The horizontal axis is time. The vertical axis is a percentage: the blue line is the percentage of tweets, relative to the total worldwide tweet volume, that were about the Super Bowl each minute, while the red line is the percentage of tweets that were about brands or commercials. Click the image for a more detailed version.

Super Data
You can see excitement spike with the kickoff at marker A. Everyone watching was geared up for the first commercial break at marker B, hoping for funny or memorable ads; as soon as the first commercial break began, viewers were immediately tweeting about it. The first @DoritosUSA ad at marker C caused the largest per-minute volume of commercial-related tweets — for the minute following the ad, related tweets were 19% of all tweets we saw, eclipsing even the chatter around the Super Bowl itself for a brief period. Back in the game, excited or dismayed tweets following the first @Colts touchdown at marker D formed nearly 40% of all tweets that minute. The second half began with a bang as @TheSaints recovered a surprise onside kick, and for the next minute 44% of all worldwide tweets were about football. Chatter around brands had meanwhile dropped to much lower levels until @Google’s Parisian Love commercial sparked viewers once more. Excitement around the game grew steadily with large peaks following scores and turnovers up until the final moments. As the game ended, one out of every two tweets on Twitter was about the Super Bowl!

Every day millions of people interact with Twitter to share and discover what’s happening now. Major events like the Super Bowl focus people around a few common topics. There is real value in being able to measure the reach and influence of those topics in real time, and we in the analytics team are looking forward to a lot more where this came from. On to the Winter Olympics…