Why Instagram is the main social platform in sport

With 800 million monthly active users, including 500 million daily, Instagram is the third biggest social network in the world. The Facebook-owned platform’s figures should continue to grow in the coming months as Instragram added 100 million users in only five months between April and September 2017.

In the sporting world, the audience figures are more impressive for athletes than clubs and leagues :

Athletes Clubs Leagues
Cristiano Ronaldo – 122M Real Madrid – 56M NBA – 27M
Neymar JR – 91M FC Barcelona – 55M Premier League – 16M
Lionel Messi – 89M Man United – 21M NFL – 11M
LeBron James – 36M Bayern Munich – 12M La Liga – 6M
James Rodriguez – 35M PSG – 11M MLB – 4M
373 million fans accumulated 156 million fans accumulated 64 million fans accumulated

In addition to this massive audience, the engagement from Instagram users is also important. The latest case with the FC Bayern Cat Selfie shows how a post on the platform can go viral, with the club getting its highest engagement of all time on a unique publication with 596k interactions and an engagement rate of 5%.

#FCBayernSelfie ???????????? #MiaSanMeow #MiauSanMiau #CatContent

A post shared by FC Bayern Official (@fcbayern) on

With the integration of 60-second videos two years ago and Stories in summer 2016, Instagram now looks like a video platform, too. Indeed, 60% of videos are watched with the sound activated and 150 million users use Stories every day where videos are massively employed. Moreover, with the end of chronological feed and the addition of the Explore tab, the chances for an original post to be a trend are bigger.

Accumulated, these elements allow sports actors to provide qualified content to fans: game highlights (like PSG), behind-the-scenes content (like athletes used to do), polls (like the NBA), project evolutions (Tottenham new stadium), ticketing/sales (like Miami Heat) and more.

Trying to HEAT up your Tuesday night?

A post shared by Miami HEAT (@miamiheat) on

As we can see, Instagram is a great place for the sporting world to provide different kinds of content strategies, from the fun to the commercial.

With all of this content and features, Instagram is transforming athletes, clubs and leagues as real media for brands. This  example from Juventus shows how sponsors can get also benefits of sports actors’ visibility, engagement and values on the platform:

Instagram is whitout doubt the fastest growing platforms in the social media game with an impressive audience evolution. With Facebook’s new feed policy and users spending less and less time there, and as Twitter is experiencing some issues with increasing its community of members, and while Snapchat is still small in terms of audience, can we imagine Instagram becoming the main social platform for clubs, athletes and leagues to get interactions?

In my opinion, it should be.

Even if YouTube, where leagues and clubs are coming like Man United or are already active like Man City, is also a place to look with more longer content than anywhere. One thing is for sure: social evolution in the sporting world will be interesting to see!

About author

Adrien Danjou
Adrien Danjou 140 posts

Adrien is a Digital Marketing Manager in France and a Digital Sport lover. Follow him on Twitter: @Adrien_DH

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