The NCAA Basketball Teams That Inspire Fans the Most, According to Amazon Data

Pattern Data Science

March 15, 2021

Outside of a political election (and the Game of Thrones finale), few events whip Americans into a frenzy quite like March Madness.

Since its creation in 1939, the NCAA basketball tournament has become one of the most highly anticipated events in sports. In the course of just 3 weeks, 68 teams face off in 7 rounds to determine college basketball’s national champion, earning the tournament the appropriate moniker, “March Madness.”

It’s indisputable that Americans love the madness. More than 10.5 million viewers tuned in to watch the 2019 tournament, and about 10% of all Americans fill out some kind of office bracket to predict the tournament’s outcome.

Always the data fanatics, this got us wondering: How does March Madness impact consumer behavior, and which university has the most fans showing up on Amazon to purchase school merchandise?

To find out, our data science team analyzed 2019 and 2020 market demand on Amazon for college merchandise from the top 25 basketball programs of all time to learn how March Madness impacts consumer behavior and which university has the most dedicated fan base when it comes to buying gear to support their team.

Does March Madness stoke market demand for college merchandise?

Yes. In fact, consumer demand for college merchandise for the top 25 programs was up 18% during March Madness 2019 compared to the average the rest of the year. Interestingly, the holidays seem to have a more significant impact on consumer demand than the NCAA tournament. From November through December 2019, consumer demand for school merch was up 41% compared to the average rest of the year.

Federal, state, and local governments began to implement lockdowns and other social distancing measures just before the beginning of the 2020 NCAA tournament, which significantly impacted consumer demand for college merchandise throughout 2020. Consumer demand was down 45% year over year during March and April 2020 and down 19% year over year, overall. Despite the decrease in demand, consumers still turned up in droves to shop for college merch during the holidays in 2020.

Which historical top 25 program commands the greatest market share?

Among the top 25 programs of all time, fans of the University of Kentucky turned up in greater numbers on Amazon than any other program during March Madness in 2019 to purchase school merchandise. Wildcats fans accounted for 24% of the market share, followed closely by Duke fans at 22%, and more distantly by Notre Dame fans at 13%.

When combined, Kentucky and Duke fans commanded nearly half of all market share on Amazon for college merchandise during the 2019 NCAA Tournament (among the top 25 programs).

Does winning increase consumer demand for a school’s products?

Virginia, Texas Tech, Michigan State, and Auburn ran the gauntlet in 2019 to face off in the NCAA’s most coveted showdown - The Final Four. Texas Tech got past Michigan State and Virginia eked out a win over Auburn to meet in the national championship game. The ‘Hoos of Virginia would not only go on to win the 2019 title, but their fans would show up in greater droves on Amazon than would any of their Final Four counterparts.

Which top program experienced the biggest lift?

No school from the historial top 25 experienced a bigger lift in consumer demand on Amazon in 2019 than the University of Kentucky. Demand for Wildcat gear was up nearly 3x during the 2019 NCAA Tournament compared to the average demand the rest of the year.

Ohio State, which sees its greatest lift during the football season, experienced the biggest decrease in demand during March Madness. This, despite the Buckeyes actually being in the big dance in 2019, goes to show that not every team that makes the NCAA Tournament experiences an increase in consumer demand for its school’s branded products on Amazon.

A lesson for brands

From our data, it’s clear that significant cultural events like March Madness can significantly increase demand for products that help fans express themselves and feel connected to the organizations they are most passionate about.

Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can leverage our data to help your brand win online, reach out to us at hello@pattern.com or schedule a demo today.

And, if you’d like to receive all the latest news, info, and analysis on what’s trending in ecommerce, be sure to subscribe to Pattern Insights on the right.

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How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand

If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.

Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.

At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise  are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead. 

What is an Amazon SEO Agency?

An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.

A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:

Prioritize Your Success

Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance

Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS. 

To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.

Provide Detailed Competitive Insight

A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.

It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.

Reduce Your Ad Spend Over Time

Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins. 

Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.

Amazon SEO Optimization and More

As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.

Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.

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