In March 2019, the 21 organisations analysed as part of the monthly Sport for Business / Olytico analysis, all members of Sport for Business, published over 8,350 Social Media posts across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, an increase of 44% on February.

The increased activity also resulted in an increase in engagement. The 8,350 posts generated over 1.8 million engagements in the form of likes, shares, comments and retweets – an increase of over 50% compared to 1.2 million in February.

While activity increased across all three networks in March, Facebook saw the biggest jump in content published, up 82% month on month. Nine of the 21 organisations analysed published over 100 posts in March.

This was followed closely by Instagram, with 79% more posts in March, and Twitter, which increased by a more modest 30% (albeit this was still an increase of over 1,200 tweets when compared to February).

This increased Facebook activity directly impacted the network split. Twitter remained the most active of the three social networks, with two out of every three social media posts in March from the 21 organisations being published on the network. However, both Facebook (+6% to 26%) and Instagram (+2% to 8%) increased their share of network activity.

Instagram continues to have the biggest impact in terms of engagement, with just under 1.25 million likes and comments generated – representing 68% of the total engagement across all three platforms.

In March, Irish Rugby retained top spot on both Facebook and Instagram, with strong reactions to their Six Nations content (women, men and U-20s). For the fourth month in a row, the FAI topped the engagements charts on Twitter with the performance of the Senior Men’s team in the first two Euro 2020 Qualifiers generating a strong reaction.

In the infographics below, we have ranked each of the organisations across a range of metrics on each network, including the most active, the most engaged and the most engaging content.

It’s important to note that this analysis is based on publicly available data. It doesn’t include any analysis or insight on paid or promoted content.

March 2019 Highlights on Facebook

With over 1,000 likes, shares or comments on average per post in March, Irish Rugby were in a league of their own on Facebook. Their average was almost three times that of their nearest rival the FAI.

In February, a post celebrating Ireland’s victory over Scotland in Murrayfield topped the engagement charts. In March, it was the turn of the U-20’s – with their Grand Slam winning performance against Wales the most engaged with post from any of the 21 organisations during the month.

The post generated over 6,800 likes, 260 comments and almost 1,000 shares. It also highlighted the importance of timely content. The image of the team celebrating with the trophy, surrounded by the five score lines, the Union and sponsor PwC logos was published within hours of the final whistle in Wales and clearly resonated with fans on Facebook.

The GAA continues to be the most active organisation on Facebook, with their 390 posts representing an increase of 66% on February (and 18% of the total Facebook content published by the 21 organisations in February).

Despite the strong numbers from both the IRFU and the FAI, the stand out performance on Facebook in March came from Special Olympics Ireland.

The success of the Irish team in the World Games in Abu Dhabi was reflected in 65 posts published by the organisation on Facebook in March. The average engagement of 382 per post put them in joint second with the FAI last month. They made excellent use of Facebook Live to broadcast the team homecoming from Dublin Airport. The video has been watched over 137,000 times, and generated over 6,000 likes, shares and comments.

Their content also won them new fans – 1,570 in total during the month (a 3% increase) – taking them past the 50,000-follower milestone on Facebook.

March 2019 Highlights on Instagram

Despite a disappointing campaign on the pitch, the Guinness Six Nations continued to drive significant levels of interest and engagement for Irish Rugby on Instagram. Their 65 posts generated over 7,000 engagements on average, 30% more than their nearest rival the FAI in second place. It also illustrates the importance of the platform for the organisation – the average engagement was seven times higher than on Facebook, and over 40 times that of Twitter.

Their top post in February celebrated the bonus-point win against France. The post generated almost 20,000 likes and 120 comments.

The FAI reclaimed second spot, with two wins in the Euro 2020 qualifiers helping boost engagement by a massive 75% on average when compared to February. The GAA dropped to third, but they also increased their average engagement by 6%.

There was a marked increase in content published by a number of sporting organisations in March, none more so than Swim Ireland. Their 83 posts represented a 390% increase on their February activity, as the Irish Open Swimming Championships took place. Swim Ireland used Instagram to great effect in the lead up to the Championships, with a series of look-back posts at highlights from the 2018 IOSC. It was one of these look-back posts – celebrating Shane Ryan’s 100m Freestyle record from 2018 – that generated the highest engagement for Swim Ireland with over 470 likes. In total, the organisation generated over 22,000 engagements on Instagram in March.

Gymnastics Ireland, Ladies Gaelic Football and Cricket Ireland made up the remainder of the top five most active accounts on Instagram, with the 43,000 engagements for Ladies Gaelic Football standing out and moving them into seventh spot on the engagement rankings.

March 2019 Highlights on Twitter

The FAI continued to dominate engagement levels on Twitter in March. Each tweet published by the organisation generated over 250 engagements on average, 45% more than their closest challenger, Irish Rugby.

The most engaged with piece of content for the FAI was the tweet celebrating David McGoldrick’s man of the match performance against Georgia in the Aviva Stadium– with almost 4,000 likes and over 300 retweets.

Ladies Football continued their climb up the activity ranks into top spot in March, with over 900 tweets published in the month. The GAA dropped into second place, with only four tweets separating them from Basketball Ireland in third.


The Irish Sport Social media Report will expand next month to take in new members from the sporting community that have joined Sport for Business in the first quarter of 2019. If you would like to be part of the Sport for Business community and be added to the list, email us today and let’s see what is possible.

If you would like more detailed analysis of your social media activity, contact