When the Golden State @Warriors and CSN Bay Area (@CSNAuthentic) joined forces for a Twitter conversation during the 2013-14 @NBA season, both saw a boost in Twitter engagement. By displaying distinctive hashtags on air, the Warriors and CSN were able to both draw attention to conversations that were taking place on Twitter and spark new conversations among fans.
The team and the broadcast outlet wanted to use Twitter to ask fans what they thought — and used on-air hashtags to organize the conversation. For eight games, they set up an “Authentic Fan Twitter Challenge” asking fans questions ranging from the Warriors’ next Hall of Famer to tweeting their picks for the game-winning shot of the season.
The Warriors and CSN Bay Area coordinated the execution so the calls to action were the same on Twitter and TV. They also displayed fans’ Tweets during the game, some of which are shown in the custom timeline below.
Across the board, engagement on Twitter was higher around the game when this Twitter call to action appeared on air. Using Nielsen Social (@NielsenSocial) data and comparing these games to the average of all Saturday games during the season showed:
In addition to trying to drive attention to a Twitter activity, a hashtag on air can also be used to spark a new conversation among fans. CSN Bay Area also promoted hashtags on air to coincide with big moments during in-game action. For example, if @StephenCurry30 and @KlayThompson, nicknamed the Splash Brothers, were having a big game, CSN featured #SplashBrothers on air.
This is becoming more common with sporting events, and increasingly broadcasters are building hashtags into their telecasts. Typically, the network will mention it on air and on screen — it’s a simple way to encourage fans to make the conversation easier to follow and to build engagement around the event.
We wondered if we could measure the actual effect of that hashtag callout and measured the reaction to them across 45 games played by the @Warriors on CSN Bay Area. The data shows that, on average, there was a 101% increase in total Tweets about the game in the 15 minutes after the callout was made on air — and a perhaps less surprising 405% average increase in Tweets mentioning the hashtag.