Are you ready for some FOOTBALLLLLL…with some digital marketing analytics? It may not have the same ring as HWJ’s Monday night anthem, but for those of us NFL-fanatics who pose as marketers, today is Christmas. Approximately 10% of Americans will voluntarily waste the next five months of their lives day-trading on the fantasy waiver wires, and marketing nerds everywhere will drool over product placements, 30 second spots, and CSR campaigns associated with the multi-billion dollar media juggernaut we call the NFL.

You might ask, “what business does a digital marketing and communications firm like W2O Group have ranking football teams?” First of all, we’re a little bored of unscientific, highly subjective, and over-editorialized rankings choking our daily Twitter feeds. Second, this is what we do best for our branded clients. If you saw our previous post predicting this year’s breakout acts at Austin City Limits Music Festival, you’d know that we like to geek out on digital relevance metrics as a foundation for marketing communications strategy. Finally, it’s football season and we needed an outlet for five consecutive months of sporting boredom.

Here’s how I’m reacting to the rankings below…

PERSONALLY, at least I’m not a Bengal. I’m disappointed but not surprised to see my Lions bringing up the basement at #31 (of 32). Perhaps by sharing this with my own Michigan networks, I can help activate the sleeping “Bring Barry Back” fan base and restore a digital roar in “The D”.

PROFESSIONALLY, “so what now?”. NFL teams face similar challenges to any marketing organization – how to capture new, youthful & diverse audiences; how to identify and exploit new revenue streams; and perhaps most importantly, how to attract ad revenue and sponsor partners.

By ranking these teams’ ability to connect with their fans across digital and social channels, we’re essentially hinting at ideal targets for ad dollars and brand partnerships. After all, social buzz is just word of mouth advocacy in digital form. Imagine that you’re a brand marketer for an consumer goods firm. Will you rely strictly on historic paid impression data for your NFL playoff campaign? In the age where marketers are required to justify every penny with either lead-attribution or ROI, I hope the answer is a definitive “no”. As a modern, data-driven marketer, wouldn’t you want to know what the 49’ers have done to galvanize such an active online audience? What does this audience care about most, above and beyond the gridiron? Where might you find that Venn-overlap with your product experience to start a dialogue with these consumers?

As I mentioned previously, these are the questions we enjoy “geeking out” on, so expect to see subsequent posts exploring potential relevance drivers such as fan demographics, player fantasy value, game attendance, or maybe even weather. Have some fun with the interactive graphic below, engage with your team directly, or start an endless argument with your fantasy football league. Go Lions!

21. Chicago Bears – 44.69
22. Oakland Raiders – 44.36
23. Denver Broncos – 43.86
24. Minnesota Vikings – 43.66
25. St. Louis Rams – 42.94
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 41.51
27. Kansas City Chiefs – 39.90
28. Arizona Cardinals – 38.34
29. Carolina Panthers – 35.83
30. Miami Dolphins– 33.22
31. Detroit Lions – 29.40
32. Cincinnati Bengals – 26.91