WWE’s Social Media Sentiment Problem

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WWE’s Social Media Sentiment Problem


Since social media became a “thing”, I’ve been a fan of social business, the practice of using social data to make business decisions. This January, as part of my MBA coursework at Saint Catherine University, I enrolled in MBA 7120, Social Business.

Our professor, Troy Janisch, did a fantastic job of sharing his expertise on how he leverages social data to help US Bank make strategic business decisions. Additionally, he assigned us a semester-long project that provided us legitimate experience with the processes he taught.

Project Overview

The project consisted of:

  1. Picking a focus company and competitors
  2. Leveraging Q4 social conversation data around selected brands to:
    1. Uncover new areas of opportunities for the business
    2. Discover ways the business can improve current product / brand favorability

I chose the WWE as my focus company and the UFC, Ring of Honor Wrestling (ROH) and Impact Wrestling as competitors.

In this article, I’ll share some of the key insights as well as business opportunities that were derived from detailed analysis of all four brands.

ROH positive commentary

High Level Overview of the Process

MBA7200 Process

Using social listening tool: Brandwatch

Key Takeaways

WWE Net Sentiment

Figure 1.0


  • WWE experienced negative net-sentiment scores for the majority of Q4 2015. This means that there was more negative sentiment within WWE conversations than positive
  • In December, the WWE experienced its only positive net-influence score of the quarter. This was largely due to a positive change in storyline. Though not reflected in this data set, positive sentiment has carried over to January 2016
  • WWE was the only analyzed brand to receive negative net-sentiment scores
  • Ring of Honor Wrestling (ROH) consistently scored the highest in terms of net-sentiment
  • Impact Wrestling managed to maintain a positive net-sentiment and performed best in November

To get a better understanding of distributed sentiment cross brands, I organized Q4 net-sentiment across three universal topics that all four brands share: events, televised programming and storylines.

WWE Net Sentiment By Category

Figure 2.0

ROH Sentiment

WWE Negative Sentiment

  • Similar to the Figure 1.0, there’s a similar distribution of net-sentiment
  • WWE takes its negative net-sentiment hit around its storylines. It’s barely positive for events and televised programming. This is not good for a company that is trying to grow paid subscription rates to its WWE Network App
  • In stark comparison to the WWE, Ring of Honor and UFC are positive across all three topics, but strongest in televised programming
  • Though Impact Wrestling maintains a positive net sentiment cross-topic, scores are fairly low which paints overall conversations as mostly neutral

Additionally, I deep dove in to the Q4 social conversation and created a SWOT analysis for the WWE to reference (if they so care to).


WWE Network Sentiment

In Summary

Q4 data shows that WWE struggled with sentiment. Across the board, WWE was the weakest in terms of fan sentiment across the competitive set.  Towards the end of Q4, WWE experienced a surge in net-sentiment due to a big improvement in storyline direction. Thus far, the momentum of the storyline has carried over in to 2016 and hopefully it continues to resonate with fans.

In addition to the opportunities I listed in the SWOT analysis, I’d highly recommend that WWE spend time listening to the social conversation and using the insights it derives to make business decisions.

While I can’t say for certain that WWE isn’t listening to social conversation, based on its level of brand engagement, I’d bet that it isn’t.

WWE Engagement


About Author


is a Digital marketing veteran located in the Twin Cities area.

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