Last night’s “Selection Sunday” for March Madness saw this year’s pool of on-the-court winners, but lest we forget that March (and early April) will be filled with plenty of winners off-the-court as well!
With so many games in so little time, social video is one of the best ways to keep up-to-date with all of the news and live-action. Fortunately for us, brands and publishers are happy to satisfy our cravings with plenty of March Madness videos.
Before looking at who’s winning the content conversation around this year’s “madness,” we’re looking back at the big winners from 2018 and what they did to attract audiences amid a sea of thousands of college basketball videos last spring.
Top March Madness Videos of 2018
- Dude Perfect: March Madness Stereotypes
- Google Cloud: Full Moon Fever
- Duke Men’s Basketball: The Blue Devil Has Updated His Bracket
- Instagram: The Peak of NCAA March Madness
- Buick: Fandom U
- Hulu: March Madness 2018 (video now unavailable)
- John Legere: March Madness Slow-Cooker Sunday!
- Bleacher Report: Texas BBQ with Darrun Hilliard and Kris Jenkins
- House of Highlights: Fortnite/UMBC
- House of Highlights: MARCH MADNESS IS HERE
Last year, Dude Perfect bested the entire field with 38.3 million views on its “March Madness Stereotypes” video that took a humorous look at all of the typical tropes fans see in March — from literally lighting your bracket on fire, to fans crying hysterically, to the fans always talking about their bracket picks around the water cooler at work. Dude Perfect focused on the NCAA Tournament as a whole, versus one specific team, and the approach attracted fans from all over.
Turner-owned Bleacher Report and House of Highlights had access other publishers didn’t, and made the most of it with three of the top 10 videos overall. One Texas BBQ video (the Final Four was in San Antonio) from Bleacher Report earned 2.5 million views, as did the House of Highlights’ video on UMBC’s historic upset and Fortnite. Cinderella Loyola-Chicago’s initial buzzer-beater vs. Miami also grabbed 2.3 million views for House of Highlights on Instagram.
Entertainingly, Villanova’s Instagram video about heading to the Final Four received more views than their video about winning the national title a week later. Also, Duke managed to have two of the top 12 March Madness videos overall despite not even making the Final Four. Kansas, which beat Duke on the way to the Final Four, had two of the top 20.
How Brands Capitalized on Last Year’s March Madness
Whether they were sponsors or not, brands got in on the action, too. Google Cloud’s simple full moon/upset video earned 7.4 million views while barely even discussing the tournament, while Instagram proper got plenty of run (4 million views) sharing highlights on April 1st. T-Mobile CEO John Legere got in on the madness by… cooking. And event sponsor Buick worked with actor Lamorne Morris for its “Fandom U” campaign (3.3 million views); the car manufacturer also boasted three of the top 20 overall March Madness videos from 2018.
Keep your head in the game this March Madness with a fan lesson from the Dean of Buick Fandom U. pic.twitter.com/OWIRNS4jjW
— Buick (@Buick) March 15, 2018
Surprisingly, neither Michigan nor Loyola-Chicago — the other two Final Four teams along with Villanova and Kansas — had any owned videos appear on the board until No. 25 (Michigan’s was around making the National Championship Game). No Loyola-Chicago video appeared in the top 100, though plenty of publications discussed the surprising run in top-ranking videos. This was certainly a missed opportunity for these teams, who could’ve used social video to capitalize on their standings and create more hype amongst their fans. It’s a good lesson for the Final Four to learn from in 2019.
Speaking of this year, are there any standout successes across March Madness videos so far for this season? As it turns out, it’s Chris Brown, apparently. Two separate videos of Brown dancing to Future’s “March Madness” have over 2 million views. A Bleacher Report video on Murray State star Ja Morant also has nearly 750,000 views. But both brands and publishers have yet to get fully involved for 2019’s event (that’s likely to end on Sunday when the brackets are revealed).
Can’t get enough of March Madness? Don’t forget to check out how user-generated content took to the court during 2017’s event.