For those of us that love hockey trade rumors, the NHL Trade Deadline is an exciting and interesting day to monitor social media. In between my “real” work, I spent a fair bit of time over the past few days watching Twitter in an effort to find that one juicy trade tidbit that eventually blossomed into a legit trade. Unfortunately, more often that not, this social media searching lead to a plethora of fake rumors, hearsay and dead ends. There had to be a better way…
One service that we offer clients is social media monitoring. Using a tool called Nuvi, we’re able to keep an eye out for things like brand mentions, posts by competitors and industry chatter. We can then go through the information collected and make suggestions to the client on strategy and next steps.
We thought it’d be fun to use Nuvi to monitor a small slice of the NHL Trade Deadline. We decided to keep it simple and monitor activity around two defencemen that were rumored to be traded at some point prior to the deadline:
Keith Yandle, Arizona Coyotes – Although his name had been linked to trades in the past, we thought it was less likely that he’d get traded. We wanted to monitor mentions of a player often included in chatter but probably wasn’t going anywhere (SPOILER: We were wrong).
Jeff Petry, Edmonton Oilers – Petry had been included in many Oilers rumors throughout the year and it was basically a guarantee that he was to be traded. We wanted to monitor mentions of a guy that was going to be traded and Petry seemed like the most likely candidate.
We kept our searches really simple and just monitored the last name of each player. Typically when we’re setting up monitors for a client, we develop searches that are far more complex. We also kept our searches limited to Twitter. The tool lets us search multiple social channels, blogs, etc but most of the information we were after breaks on Twitter first.
We set up the monitors on February 27 (the deadline was March 2) and started collecting information within a few minutes. And then we waited…
All was pretty quiet across both fronts during the early part of Saturday. Things picked up a bit as the afternoon wore on..
Keith Yandle Mentions – Saturday
Yandle’s data is a bit tainted because he played on Saturday night. The first annotation is at the peak of mentions while he was playing against the Bruins that night. Ironically, Boston was one of the teams that was rumored to have interest in him. The second annotation shows a large jump in mentions after the game was over. Let’s see what was going on…
Things started to heat up with Yandle near the end of the Coyotes/Bruins game. During an intermission segment on another game, hockey insider Elliot Friedman mentioned that a few Eastern teams had inquired about Yandle. This information, along with rumors that Boston management were huddled after their game with the Coyotes, got everyone in a tizzy. The screenshot above shows us the timeline of Twitter chatter that first started with Friedman (the first cluster of dots) and continued on as the Boston media updated everyone on the Bruins management huddle. The blue dots are those mentions that Nuvi deemed to be neutral in sentiment with red being negative and green being positive. This chatter continued into the night and there were even reputable sources indicating that the Bruins had a trade in place (perhaps one that included Yandle) and were waiting to announce it. As the evening came to a close, chatter died down and the Coyotes got on their plane and headed home.
Jeff Petry Mentions – Saturday
Jeff Petry’s day was a bit different. Knowing that they were going to be trading the player in the next 48 hours, the Oilers decided to not dress Petry for their game against St Louis on Saturday night. The annotation above indicates the time when the media was made aware of Petry being a healthy scratch.
Word of the Petry scratch spread fast and Mark Spector was one of the first to announce it on Twitter. You can see the moment he Tweeted it and then the corresponding chatter that followed. Nuvi also shows us which subsequent Tweets were related to the original. Ever wonder how something trends so quickly on Twitter? Here’s a perfect example. The rest of the day was pretty quiet. Jeff watched the game from the press box, enjoyed some popcorn and waited for the Oilers to ship him off to a new team.
Keith Yandle – D-Day
Sunday morning was pretty quiet on both fronts. Shortly before 2PM, things started to pick up. Nuvi shows us where some of the initial chatter first came from. You’ll see @RumorBreak Tweets that there is Coyotes trade on the way.
The next 20 mins or so starts to get really busy. Who’s being traded? Where are they going? Some of the big hockey insiders get involved in the conversation. This brings an element of legitimacy to the situation.
Wait.. let me rephrase that. Hockey insiders usually bring legitimacy to the situation. Sometimes they get things wrong. Here’s Nick Kypreos Tweeting the wrong trade information (Dan Girardi wasn’t part of the trade) and the corresponding connected conversations. Ever wonder how false information spreads so fast on Twitter? Look no further than this.
By 3PM, the two teams involved had officially announced the trade and then it was up to the real experts (the fans) to analyze and over analyze the happenings.
Luckily I was around my computer when the news broke. You can see above where our monitoring abruptly stops. We pay by the mention on Nuvi and I figured capturing the post-trade data would bankrupt our company.
As you can imagine, a number of trending concepts and hashtags developed during the trade chatter. Here’s a sample of some of the more popular ones from the Yandle trade excitement. I’ve left in the swears just so you can see how passionate hockey fans can be…
Jeff Petry – D-Day
Jeff Petry had to wait an extra day before finding out his fate. This trade was a bit different than the previously discussed one. The Yandle trade was more of a slowly developing situation (and by slow, I mean over the course of 20 mins). The Petry to Montreal trade was a sneak attack. A mainstream media outlet (RDS) was one of the first to break the news and then it just snowballed from there. Time of day probably played a role in the pattern of Tweets. The trade went down around 6:30AM Edmonton time so many locals were preoccupied with their regular morning routines. Had the trade happened later in the morning, I’m thinking there would have been more media on the Edmonton side of things that would have broken the news.
The Petry news wasn’t just a big deal in Edmonton and Montreal. The trade made some waves in some of the other major Eastern markets like Toronto (the location of a large majority of the media), Boston (a team rumored to be interested in Petry), and New York (the location of a lot of media and the site of the Yandle trade).
It’s also interesting to see the most influential Twitter accounts attached to the Jeff Petry trade. These lists are filled with the who’s who of hockey media.
Nuvi offered some interesting insights into the role that social media plays in the world of trade breaking and trade making. Through the creation of more complex search strings and the review of the data uncovered, there may even be an opportunity to predict trades in the future. This data also gave us a first hand look at how fast information can travel across Twitter (even if it’s the wrong information).
If you’re curious about social media monitoring and how it can play a role in your marketing strategy, drop us a line.