Women’s college basketball donned the March Madness moniker for the first time at the end of the 2021-22 season in an effort to enhance equity between the men’s and women’s championships. Following the change, the 2022 women’s Division I basketball championship saw increased attendance and viewership with fans across the globe tuning in to see their favorite athletes in the Big Dance.
With an audience active 24 hours a day, a membership base of more than 350 schools and upwards of 50 Top 25 games each week to monitor and amplify, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) realized their need for a community management partner.
The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball needed a community management partner who could assist with influencing, engaging and growing a community of loyal women’s basketball fans, while competing at the same level as the men’s accounts.
Because of the success Dittoe Public Relations achieved during its 2021 tournament engagement with Indiana Sports Corp and the Men’s Final Four team, the NCAA quickly selected Dittoe PR to lead the charge as the agency on record to support social media execution for the entire 2022 23 women’s basketball season.
During the regular season, Dittoe PR was responsible for 24/7 community management of the Women’s March Madness Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok accounts. By leveraging user-generated content from the membership base and profiling top performing players, Dittoe PR saw direct engagement from teams, student-athletes and fans alike increase drastically.
Promoting prime-time conference match-ups and major regular season rivalries also increased viewership and real-time social media engagement during the Top 25 games. To cater to younger fans and users without a significant interest in sports, Dittoe PR introduced memes and other trending content in an effort to make the game more relatable, which resulted in an influx of engagements and new followers in the second half of the season.
TikTok also played a pivotal role in the overall social media strategy. Dittoe PR leveraged content from teams and players and worked with the NCAA to develop a growth strategy that leveraged a combination of team-generated content, player interviews, Duets and other trending video content and compilations.
As conference tournaments wrapped and teams punched their ticket to the Big Dance, Dittoe PR doubled down with a revamped strategy to maximize reach and engagement during the Selection Show and beyond.
“Dittoe PR has gone above and beyond our expectations in all aspects,” said Chris Dion, NCAA associate director of digital and social media. “We chose to partner with Dittoe PR because of their extensive experience in social media and PR for big sports events and organizations. They have become like part of our team and their expertise in social media strategy has been very helpful in surpassing our goals.”
For the First and Second Rounds, Dittoe PR worked side-by-side with the NCAA Digital & Social team in a “war room” at the NCAA headquarters in downtown Indianapolis. Following the Sweet Sixteen, Dittoe PR shifted to a hybrid remote approach with one team member flying to Dallas to support onsite team activations while managing remote team members during the Final Four and National Championship.
In addition to 24/7 community management for all platforms through the entirety of the tournament, Dittoe PR oversaw live photo transmission, clipped game video and posted live during all 67 tournament games. Our team worked alongside the creative and video teams to ideate and produce content in real time. By telling the story as the tournament was unfolding, the Women’s March Madness accounts were competing with and working alongside major sporting publication accounts such as ESPN, espnW, and HighlightHer to break the news of each new record, each major play and each bracket advancement as they took place.
Following the most-watched NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship in tournament history, Dittoe PR capitalized on the wave of engagement and continued community management through May 15, live posting during the 2023 WNBA draft and setting the NCAA up for success during the off-season.
Throughout the regular season (Nov. 1, 2022–March 11, 2023), Dittoe PR tallied more than 2,100 hours of community management for the Women’s March Madness social media accounts and surpassed the NCAA’s goal of reaching 1M followers across all four platforms. Our efforts also contributed to:
- 30M+ video views (680% growth compared to the 2021-22 season).
- 83M+ impressions (71% growth).
- 3.9M+ engagements (189% growth).
- 42K+ new followers.
- 174% increase in content published.
That success translated to higher viewership of the 2023 Selection Show and increased social media metrics across the board on Sunday, March 12. In the days and weeks following, the growth continued at a near exponential rate and, throughout the 2023 Women’s March Madness Tournament (March 13– April 3), Dittoe PR’s consistent efforts earned:
- 169M video views (711% growth compared to the 2021-22 season).
- 205M+ impressions (265% growth).
- 18.7M+ engagements (578% growth).
- 197K+ new followers.
- 72% increase in in content published.
Thanks to our team’s onsite presence in Dallas and season-long knowledge of the community, during the Final Four weekend alone (March 28–April 3), our team helped generate:
- 118M+ video views (1,118% growth compared to the 2021-22 season).
- 95M+ impressions (379% growth).
- 13.2M+ engagements (956% growth).
- 132K+ new followers.
- 47% increase in content published.
From start to finish, this season’s advancement for women’s college basketball was a resounding success. Star players like Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark continued to make headlines in the days following the championship and the WNBA draft drew the largest viewership numbers in nearly a decade with more than half a million people watching Aliyah Boston get drafted to the Indiana Fever. In total, we earned:
This season also resulted in a major step forward in building equity between the men’s and women’s games. Compared to the Men’s March Madness accounts, which have 3.5 times the audience size, Dittoe PR published 17% more content and closed the gap of both video views and content engagements by 38% compared to last season’s figures. And, the success of our partnership didn’t stop there; the NCAA also engaged with Dittoe PR to support live-game community management for Softball and Baseball for the first 60 days of each sport’s season.
“Dittoe PR has gone above and beyond our expectations in all aspects. We chose to partner with Dittoe PR because of their extensive experience in social media and PR for big sports events and organizations. They have become like part of our team and their expertise in social media strategy has been very helpful in surpassing our goals.”
NCAA ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA
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