Social Media Madness

It is that time of year again... #MarchMadness. With the first weekend of exhilarating (and often heartbreaking) games behind us, for most of the 60 million Americans with brackets it is #MarchSadness.

Whereas most of us fill out our brackets based on fragmented memories of games we saw at the local watering hole, which teams' colors we like, or which mascot would win a real life fight, several organizations are using social media and big data to try to predict this year's tournament. Let's look at their methodologies!

Sprout Social

For the second year in a row, our favorite social media management software company Sprout Social used social media analytics to predict the winners of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Using their Twitter Listening Report, Sprout Social measured Twitter @mentions, hashtags, and keywords during the period of March 1-15. They then chose the winner of each head-to-head game based on which college had the greater volume of keyword usage. Click Here to see complete methodology.

Winner: North Carolina over Oregon. See complete bracket results here.

Five Thirty Eight

Notorious political statistician Nate Silver's website Five Thirty Eight has been using probabilistic forecasting to predict March Madness results since 2011. To predict the odds of any given team winning a game, Five Thirty Eight uses a combination of six computer rankings and 2 human rankings; Elo, ESPN's BPI, Jeff Sagarin's "predictor" ratings, Ken Pomeroy's ratings, Joel Sokol's LRMC ratings, and Sonny Moore's computer ratings, the NCAA tournament selection committees "S-Curve" and a composite of preseason ratings from coaches and media polls. Click Here to see complete methodology.

Winner Prediction: Kansas over North Carolina. See complete bracket predictions here.

Prime Visibility

Similar to Sprout Social, social media agency Prime Visibility used social media mentions (also including Facebook) to completely fill out their bracket. Having also filled out their bracket with a similar methodology in 2015, last year Prime Visibility's bracket outperformed 99.8% of all ESPN brackets heading into the Elite 8. A key difference in methodology with Sprout Social is rather than only measure mentions during the two weeks leading up to the tournament, Prime Visibility tracked mentions through the entire NCAA basketball season. Click Here to see complete methodology.

Winner Prediction: Kansas over Michigan State. See complete bracket predictions here.


Interested in more? Check out these additional data bracketologists and their predictions!

Wayin: "To predict the Final Four, Wayin analyzed #Letsdance and discovered the top four teams that were most talked about on Twitter in the last 3 days." Final Four comprised of Duke, North Carolina, Oregon State, and Texas Tech. See results.

Davidson March MATHness: Davidson College Mathematics professor Tim Chartier helps you fill out your own bracket using algebra! Click here to see how it works. Click here to create your own bracket.

Bing: "Bing uses search, social, and other relevant data to make intelligent predictions about upcoming events, like sports games, reality TV shows, and more." Winner: Kansas over North Carolina. See complete bracket predictions here.

Paul GuestComment