Twitter Growth Rates for Europe’s Big 4 Leagues For the Last 6 Months

June 29, 2018 Posted by Sean Walsh Football 0 thoughts on “Twitter Growth Rates for Europe’s Big 4 Leagues For the Last 6 Months”
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Sean Walsh
Director at Intelligency

Sean is a Director at Intelligency heading up our digital marketing and client services operations. Sean has 15+ years experiencing working both in-house and agency with brands including Lloyds, Alstom, Hitachi, Lufthansa, Viaplay, DFDS Seaways and Mercedes-Benz.

Twitter Growth Rates for Europe’s Big 4 Leagues For the Last 6 Months

Boasting the most watched leagues in world football, it’s never a surprise to see consistent and aggressive growth rates throughout the football season. Televised match coverage, competitions like the UEFA Champions League, record transfer signings and a wealth of sponsorship agreements ensure that clubs of the Big 4 leagues – the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga, the Italian Serie A and the German Bundesliga – should see constant growth across theis social media channels.

Our analyst team wanted to get a better understanding of what constitutes “great” growth versus just normal, so with this in mind we monitored all of the clubs in these 4 leagues for the last six months (1/1/18 – 1/6/18) and calculated their growth percentages. Of course, we recognise that Twitter followers isn’t the only metric worth tracking and in an increasingly paid advertising focused marketplace, engagement is the real challenge. However, audience size brings with it ‘reach’ which can prove to be a valuable metric to clubs when it comes to incentivising their social media content to sponsors.

Here are a few insights we’ve unearthed from our research:

Who has the most Twitter followers?

There are very few surprises at who tops the Twitter social leagues for each country:

Bayern Munich 6,180,000 Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund 3,222,830 Bundesliga
Schalke 893,700 Bundesliga
Manchester United 18,280,000 Premier League
Arsenal 13,780,000 Premier League
Chelsea 12,120,000 Premier League
Barcelona 46,841,000 La Liga
Real Madrid 46,467,000 La Liga
Atletico Madrid 4,122,000 La Liga
Juventus 7,499,570 Serie A
Milan 6,750,000 Serie A
Roma 2,067,600 Serie A

Arguably there’s no huge surprises here with arguably each of the countries most successful teams topping the charts, and Real Madrid & Barcelona being incredibly close. Moreover it could be a shock to see Manchester United so far behind the Spanish top two in terms of worldwide followers. However, it’s worth remembering that this would be expected as they only joined Twitter in 2012 becoming one of the last major European football clubs to have an official Twitter presence, some three years after Barcelona.

How does their growth compare?

As you can see from the table below the English Premier League & Spanish Premier League are the best performing leagues for growth on Twitter.

The EPLs average growth rate over the last six months has been 1.73%, whilst La Liga sits on 1.73%. Conversely the rate is much lower for Serie A (1.34%) and Bundesliga in particular (0.99%).

A continuing trend across the four leagues, is that January consistently appears to be the best performing period of the year for growth whilst most clubs tend to see their rates reduce considerably by the end of the season. This is perhaps no surprise when you consider the weight that Christmas/New Year period holds with often more football on television and the start of the January transfer window. Recent years have seen football clubs look to adopt innovative and creative ways of announcing their players including Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez “Piano” viral video through to AS Roma’s enormously creative, humorous and subversive player announcement videos.

Key Takeaways for each league

The Premier League on average saw the best average growth over the period, with Liverpool & Tottenham (needs the percentage stats) in particular being the only teams in the league to see above benchmark results month on month.

La Liga saw a huge spike in January 2018, with clubs such as Leganes & Villarreal acquiring Saudi Arabian players on loan. Consequently the average growth for the league between 01/01 and 01/02 was 4.76%, the highest monthly growth for any club in these premier leagues, which just goes to show how tapping into new lucrative marketplaces with transfers and content could help grow club’s international audience overnight.

Bundesliga, conversely saw the single biggest drop of any league during these months, with a negative growth rate of -0.50% between May & June. The most extreme was Koln who saw their followers decrease by over 9k, highlighting perhaps that German fan feeling towards their clubs is far more reactive than other nations – Koln being relegated in this instance.

Serie A bucked the trend from the other leagues by seeing their best growth between March & April.

The Best and Worth Twitter Growth Rates

The fiacuity team has also looked into the overall ‘European Growth Benchmark’ for these leagues which comes out as 1.47%. The below chart illustrates the top & bottom ten sides in terms of growth against this figure:

The Top 10

League Club Growth Rate
Serie A Benevento 6.48%
La Liga Villarreal 5.24%
La Liga Levante 4.82%
Serie A SPAL 4.55%
La Liga Getafe 2.43%
La Liga Leganes 2.41%
Serie A Roma 2.40%
EPL Manchester City 2.33%
Bundesliga Leipzig 2.30%
EPL Tottenham 2.27%

The Bottom 10

League Club Growth Rate
Serie A Lazio 0.25%
Bundesliga Bayer Lev 0.38%
Serie A Hellas Verona 0.40%
Serie A Udinese 0.48%
Bundesliga Ausburg 0.52%
Serie A Sassuolo 0.54%
Serie A Chievo 0.58%
Serie A Sampdoria 0.58%
Bundesliga Borussia Monch 0.58%
La Liga Malaga 0.61%

La Liga saw an inflation in their figures as a result of the Saudi deal, whilst Benevento & SPAL have a smaller number of followers but their growth was helped by their promotion to Serie A. Roma’s success in Europe coupled with their powerful and engaging Twitter strategy has heightened their performance with Man City being the most impressive of Europe’s elite clubs, which is no surprise considering their reputation as one of the world’s most effective and innovative clubs on Social Media.

What is more interesting here, is that only 33% of the clubs achieved higher than the average benchmark over the course of the study, with 13 of the 25 being from the Premier League, 7 from Spain, 4 in Italy and Leipzig being Germany’s only representative.

Whilst growth rate is clearly not the only metric for success, it does give a good impression of a club’s reach and how fans react in the moment to their Twitter behaviour.

So what can football clubs do to improve their Twitter growth?

Our platform and team specialises in analysing brand’s entire digital activity to help identify opportunities, threats and return-on-investment.

Get in touch with us to find out more about how fiacuity can be used to provide strategic recommendations to actively improve your growth rates as well as learn from what competitors are doing to achieve higher rates and success. Our platform can help you review your entire season’s digital marketing activity (social, email, content, paid advertising) and help you make smarter decisions on where to allocate more time and investment.


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