For the first time in the Twitter era, the Edmonton Oilers are in the playoffs. This isn’t exciting news for a lot of people, but it’s a pretty big deal for hockey fans around here. The Edmonton Twitter community has always been a vibrant place, and it will only get crazier as the Oilers move further into the playoffs.

We often dissect social media audiences for our clients. It’s a great first step in developing an effective engagement strategy. We look at things like audience interests, influence, location, and trends to better understand the people and brands that follow our clients.

In the spirit of playoff hockey, we decided to do a quick dive into the over 680 000 accounts that follow @EdmontonOilers on Twitter. Here are five fun things we discovered:

 An Interesting and Influential Bunch

What do actor/director Kevin Smith, Jeremy Bieber (Justin’s dad) and Star Trek’s William Shatner have in common? They’re some of the most influential non-brands that follow @EdmontonOilers. The rest of the top 20 most influential followers are various sports teams, media members and some guy named Wayne Gretzky.

There are a number of ways to measure influence. In this case, our tool looks primarily at the size of following and frequency of activity on Twitter. If a brand wanted to create a really in-depth influencer list, they’d need to do a lot more research and measurement.

Which @EdmontonOilers Twitter follower has the largest audience? The answer – @UNICEF with over 6 million followers. On the opposite end of the influence spectrum, 58% of @EdmontonOilers Twitter followers have less than 25 followers. More on that later…

Most Active Times

We’re also able to dig into the posting habits of the audience. This information is handy for identifying when an audience is actually on Twitter. This data is often influenced by things like seasonality, the type of business, events, and the target audience. In this case, there appears to be some increased activity around game time. This data is skewed even more due to the recent surge in activity around playoff games.

Our data shows the @EdmontonOilers Twitter audience to be most active on:

  • Monday at 8 PM
  • Monday at 7 PM
  • Monday at 9 PM
  • Friday at 8 PM
  • Thursday at 8 PM

In general, the audience is most active between 6 PM and 9 PM daily. No real surprise there…

Popular Words

We’re able to look at popular words in a few different ways. We’ll often look for trends in the bios of followers. A golf course might have a higher concentration of followers with the words “golf” or “golfer” in their Twitter bios while restaurants might find they are followed by more self-identifying “foodies.”

The most popular bio words for @EdmontonOilers followers? Let’s just say that most of them like sports (numbers in brackets indicate the number of bios that include the word)…

  • hockey (27 000+)
  • love – (19 000+)
  • sports – (18 000+)
  • fan – (15 000+)
  • life – (14 000+)
  • music – (10 000+)
  • follow – (9 000+)
  • nhl – (7 000+)
  • oilers – (6 000+)
  • edmonton – (5 000+)

We can also look at popular words within posts. We typically look at these on more of a micro level (like what words are used most by audience members in a particular geo-location, etc.) although the high-level data shows an interesting trend in this case. The audience seems pretty happy… and for good reason. Their team is winning.

  • time
  • day
  • love
  • win
  • great
  • make
  • year
  • tonight
  • night
  • happy

I bet the same data from previous seasons wouldn’t be quite so cheery.

The Who and the Where

A few fast facts about the audience from a gender and location standpoint:

  • 70% of the @EdmontonOilers Twitter audience are male. 30% are female.
  • The most influential females following the Oilers are a pair of ESPN reporters – Michelle Beadle and Linda Cohn.
  • 29% of the audience self-identify as being from Alberta. The second highest geolocation group is 11% from Ontario.
  • Over 35 000 followers are located in Edmonton. There may be more, but we’re only able to pick up those that put Edmonton in their bio.

The Faceless Audience

You don’t need to have a profile picture on Twitter, but it’s rare to see an active account without one. Twitter is littered with inactive accounts as people sign up, try it out and leave. Others might have an account to lurk but never post. It’s not unusual to see a handful of inactive accounts show up in the audience data of a client… but seeing thousands of them in one place is a bit unique. @EdmontonOilers is followed by 215 283 “no profile picture” accounts – that’s over 30% of their following. A quick look through these accounts and we see very few posts and minimal engagement. It’s like an inactive, faceless, zombie Twitter following. Spooky stuff!

Diving into data like this can give us endless amounts of useful information. The items above are just the tip of the iceberg. A typical client review can take hours – each new filter we add offers us a different look at the data. The really cool data is often revealed when we segment an audience and then drill down deeper into these groups.

So, while you’re sitting back and watching hockey this spring, we’ll be busy dissecting data and discovering new trends.

Wait… who are we kidding?

We’ll be watching too…

The hockey posts don’t end here. Check out our influencer marketing post featuring Connor McDavid, a look at the Twitter reaction to some historic first goals and our look at online monitoring and the NHL Trade Deadline

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Post Written By:

Brian Siddle

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