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Facebook Traffic a ‘Strong Estimator’ of NFL Game Tune-Ins

With Super Bowl 50 just around the corner, Facebook presented fresh data in tandem with Nielsen suggesting that activity on the social network is a “strong estimator” of TV tune-in during the first minute of NFL games.

“Just as the crowd inside a physical stadium is abuzz about the game ahead of kickoff, sports fans on Facebook are, too,” Dan Reed, head of global sports partnerships at Facebook, wrote in this post about the study. “Nielsen looked at the volume of Facebook activity in the 15 minutes prior to the start of the game, and found that Shares and Posts were a strong estimator of the first-minute TV audience. Shares and Posts were the two types of Facebook interactions with the strongest statistical relationship to TV viewership in the first minute, according to the study.”

Per the chart above, he said Nielsen found that an increase of one post within the 15 minute period before the kickoff correlated to about 250 additional viewers in the first minute, while an additional Share correlated to 1,000 viewers in the same time frame.

Among other findings, presented following the recent launch of a Facebook Sports Stadium (an area dedicated for social interaction during live sporting events), that association was greater following the first 25 minutes of an NFL broadcast on Sunday night. “In other words, Shares on Facebook correlated with tune-in even after kickoff,” he noted.