NBA Fans are Getting Excited for the Playoffs!

By Aarun Rumbaugh

Today was the first day of the NBA playoffs. I thought it would be interesting to see which teams fans are most excited and engaged in today’s match-ups. We found the difference between the team’s PTAT% (People talking about This, also known as 7 day storytellers) on Facebook from Friday (4/18) to today (4/19).

Monitoring PTAT changes over just one day can be noisy. However, the PTAT bump from the regular season to the playoffs is big enough to overcome these fluctuations.


Every team had an increase in PTAT% except the Brooklyn Nets, who actually lost engagement.  Toronto had the highest percent increase at 1.6%, which represents 12,000 more active storytellers.   

Oklahoma City’s 1.29% increase from yesterday to today might not seem impressive.  Yet on a gross basis this represents an additional 50,000 active users.  The more fans a team has, the more active users you need to make a 1% difference in your engagement rate.

PTAT Amount of fans playoffs

Although the Raptors had the highest percent change, they didn’t have the highest amount gross of engagement. They’re actually right in the middle. This shows that the more fans you have, the harder it is to raise your %PTAT.  

This is the paradox of popularity. The larger the fan base, the lower the engagement. We’ve measured this to be true not just across professional sports, but CPG, banking, retail, and every other category. There is a strong negative correlation between fan base size and engagement rates.

So why did Brooklyn’s PTAT decline by 20,000 fans?
They lost their last 2 games of the regular season. Fans of losing teams are quiet compared to teams that win, as we demonstrate here.

Facebook is taking away the PTAT metric soon, so this is a good opportunity to get the most you can. We don’t know what the new metric is, but it probably breaks out engagement by type, instead of rolling it into a single number that treat all engagement with the same weighting. Perhaps LCS (likes, comments, shares) will be separate.

Coming tomorrow is the rest of the pack! We’re going to analyze the rest of the team’s in the Playoffs that play tomorrow.


Dennis Yu

About the Author

Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best-selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads.  He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations.You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.