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Once again, FC Barcelona is the international benchmark club on social networks. For the third year running, Barça has ended the season as the club that has generated the most engagement in the world on the top three social networks, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, with 1.37 billion likes, comments, shares and retweets in 2019/20. That is 18% up on the previous year, to stay ahead of Liverpool (1.29 billion), Manchester United (1.13), Juventus (826M) and Real Madrid (765M), according to data published by Blinkfire.
Of the three social networks analyzed, Barça is top on both Twitter and Instagram. On the latter, which generates the most interactions, it is the only club to break the 1 billion barrier. Facebook is the sole network on which FC Barcelona is not in front, with the current Premier League champions Liverpool, as well as Manchester United and Juventus, both ahead. Focusing only on clubs in La Liga, Barça is top on every network, with almost twice the number of interactions as those achieved by Real Madrid: 1.37B for Barça as opposed to 765 for the all-whites.
On YouTube, the most commonly used metric is not interactions but views, and FC Barcelona is also way out in front in that respect. From July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, the Barça channel got 458 million views of its material, 30% up on the year before. This growth is especially significant when we note that La Liga clubs are unable to publish match highlights on the networks, unlike clubs in the Premier League and Serie A. The creativity that Barça puts into its editorial content, with an audiovisual language that is specifically adapted to the channel, as well as the Barça Live show that goes out on match days, has compensated for this disadvantage with respect to the big clubs in Europe and South America. Barça also has the most subscribers on YouTube, and is not far from breaking the 10 million barrier.
Barça is also dominating on Tik Tok, the most popular service among young followers. After just one year on the channel, it is ahead of every other sports club in the world in all analysis categories: 4.5 million followers and 38.5 million likes. As of June 30, 2020, it had published 234 short-format videos, with 397 million views. The Tik Tok format has undergone remarkable growth during the lockdown period, and it fits perfectly with Barça’s content strategy.
Effects of Covid-19
In the last 12 months, Barça has picked up 26 million new followers to take the overall total up to 368 million and has managed to do so in highly atypical circumstances. Unlike 2018/19, the present season’s analysis closed on June 30, before most competitions had been completed due to the Covid-19 crisis. The pandemic led to the Champions League and almost all domestic competitions being suspended, which is another factor that needs to be taken into account. The lack of live sports meant teams were forced to devise new content strategies to stay in touch with their fans rather than simply reporting on everyday happenings.
During the most intense weeks of the pandemic in Europe, Barça was the sports club that best connected with its fans, with 178 million interactions between March 12 and May 14. The #Culersathome campaign and support from partners meant the club was able to develop a strategy based on contact with the players, physical and digital activities for fans to do at home, recommendations and making good use of its archive footage.
Barça’s leadership on social media comes at a time when it has been engaging in a number of key projects within its digital ecosystem, such as the launch of Barça TV+, the CULERS Premium Membership program and its own e-commerce service via Barça Store Camp Nou. Barça’s social networks have played a key role in this new context by raising awareness of these new online products, to the extent that in the next five years, digital business is expected to become one of the club’s biggest sources of ordinary revenue.
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