After a record-breaking March 2021, April saw a small decrease in activity across the Sport for Business member organisations.
However, with almost 7,000 posts combined, there was plenty of content for analysis. We welcomed Vision Sports Ireland to the analysis in April and will be tracking their progress into the future.
Across the Sport for Business member organisations, engagements totalled over 2 million, which, whilst the lowest total since the start of 2021, can be explained via a decrease in overall activity from the IRFU and FAI across all three of the main platforms.
The 20 per cent decrease in activity on Instagram, and the subsequent 56 per cent decrease in engagements deriving from the platform (falling from 3.52 million in March to 1.54 million in April) is the overwhelming reason for the month on month decline and showcases the continued importance of the network.
Olytico analysed the performance of 31 members of Sport for Business in April. Collectively, they published close to 7,000 posts across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The 6,800 posts analysed (a 15 per cent decrease on the previous month) generated 2,032,747 engagements (a 53 per cent decrease) in the form of likes, shares, comments, and retweets.
Activity across all three of the main platforms fell compared to the previous month (Facebook posts were down 13 per cent, Twitter activity fell 15 per cent and Instagram posts decreased 20 per cent), however, this has to be viewed in the context of the records set in March, as all three platforms output were still up when compared to February 2021.
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 is important to note that this analysis is based on publicly available data. It does not include any analysis or insight on paid or promoted content. When percentage figures are used (unless otherwise stated), they refer to the previous month’s figures.
April 2021 Highlights on Twitter
Over 3,600 tweets were sent by member organisations in April, a 15 per cent decrease on the previous month (from 4,258 to 3,638) which led to a 43 per cent decrease in engagements for the platform (from 403,864 to 232,042).
Twitter’s share of overall posts rose slightly in April, up 1 per cent to 54 per cent overall which led to a 2 per cent rise in the platform’s share of engagement (from 9 per cent to 11 per cent).
Horse Racing Ireland topped the Twitter activity charts for the first time, their 429 posts (+11 per cent) held off Leinster Rugby (389 posts) and Ulster Rugby (383 posts), themselves in the top three for the first time since July 2020.
Special mentions to Swim Ireland – their 202 posts keeping fans up to date with all the goings on from the National Team Trials was their highest output since Olytico’s analysis began.
Team Ireland’s 91 posts (+49 per cent, which saw them rise into 13th place) rounded off a busy month for the account as they continued the preparation for Tokyo 2020, and announced Deloitte as a new partner.
Gymnastics Ireland’s representation in the European Championships and success for Emma Slevin, Rhys McClenaghan and Adam Steele proved the catalyst for a successful month for the organisation on social, and their highest ever position of eighth in the engagement table with an average of 46 engagements per post. Emma Slevin’s qualification for the Senior All-Around European Final was their most engaged with content on Twitter in April.
— Gymnastics Ireland (@GymnasticsIre) April 21, 2021
The FAI continues to dominate the Twitter engagement table, finishing top with an average of 219 engagements per post. They held off Muster (136), Leinster (131), Irish Rugby (116), Connacht Rugby (61) and Ulster Rugby (58) to keep hold of the top spot for the thirteenth month in a row.
It is relevant to note here, that whilst still in first and fourth place respectively, with fewer fixtures the FAI and IRFU’s engagements were down 54 per cent and 67 per cent respectively on the previous month – another example of how critical live sport can be for content creation and the driving of engagements.
It is also of note that the Women’s Six Nations, which took place through the month did not achieve the same level of engagement across social media as the Men’s tournament in the previous two months.
Interest is driven by the volume of content as well though and the output on Twitter from the Irish Rugby account was down from 362 posts in March, though only from 295 posts in February.
Success at the European Championships and a second place in the Women’s Fours A Final propelled Rowing Ireland into seventh place, their highest ever finish, with an average of 56 engagements per post.
However, the most engaged with Twitter content for April came from Munster Rugby, as they announced the return of Simon Zebo to the Province for the start of next season. Their tweet generated close to 5,500 engagements and re-confirmed just how popular Munster’s all-time record try-scorer remains with the fans after his three seasons in France.
April 2021 Highlights on Facebook
Facebook activity decreased by 13 per cent in April (from 2,363 posts to 2,046) which resulted in a 33 per cent drop in engagements.
The April figure had been the first monthly rise in activity for four months.
The platform’s share of overall posts in April rose slightly by 1 per cent to 30 per cent with share of engagement rising 3 per cent to 12 per cent overall.
There was no change in the top four most active accounts, though each of the top four showed a decrease in activity compared to the previous month.
Leinster Rugby (260 posts, a 2 per cent decrease on March) topped the charts for the second month in a row followed by Horse Racing Ireland (214 posts, down 1 per cent), Ladies Gaelic Football (158 posts, down 7 per cent) and the GAA, whose 140 posts was a 16 per cent decrease on the previous month.
Rowing Ireland’s success on Twitter continued through Facebook, reaching eleventh place, their highest standing since May 2020. Their 70 posts ( up 30 per cent on March) documented the team’s performances in Varese, with their most engaged with post celebrating the two silver medals achieved.
Irish Rugby continued to top the overall Facebook engagement charts with an average of 928 interactions per post; and whilst this was 48 per cent down on their impressive figures from March it was enough to hold off Ulster Rugby (268, +34 per cent), Leinster Rugby (245) and Horse Racing Ireland (186, and an impressive 90 per cent increase).
Success in the Challenge Cup and Heineken Champions’ Cup Quarter Finals delivered Ulster Rugby and Leinster Rugby their most engaged with content; while Rachael Blackmore’s success at the Grand National proved to be Horse Racing Ireland’s most engaged with post on the platform, generating over 5,000 interactions.
The IRFU’s post celebrating the Irish Women’s 45-0 victory against Wales in the Women’s Six Nations proved to be the most engaged with post on the platform in April, generating over 6,000 reactions, 300 comments and the post was shared on over 600 occasions.
April 2021 Highlights on Instagram
Instagram saw a 20 per cent decrease in posts compared to March, (down from the record 1,398 posts set the previous month to 1,116), however, and for context, these 1,116 posts are the second highest figures ever delivered for the platform.
Overall engagements fell 56 per cent for the platform (from 3.5 million to 1.54 million) largely due to a decrease in activity from the top four accounts. Leinster mirrored their output on Facebook, topping the Instagram activity charts with 145 posts (down 14 per cent on March), followed by Irish Rugby with 114 posts ( down 31 per cent ), Munster Rugby with 91 posts ( down 39 per cent ) and Horse Racing Ireland with 89 posts ( down 9 [per cent).
With the top 4 all reducing their output, it is little surprise that the platform’s share of posts fell 1 per cent to 16 per cent and its share of engagement fell 6 per cent to 76 per cent, the platform’s lowest share since the turn of the year.
The Ladies Gaelic Football Association account rose to fifth place with 70 posts, a 20 per cent increase in activity compared to the previous month as they were able to announce the early fixtures for the Lidl National League, and prepared players for their return to training with their six-week food series in association with #Gaelic4Teens.
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Swim Ireland’s output increased by 57 per cent to 55 posts as they reached seventh place in the Instagram activity charts, celebrating Mona McSharry, Daniel Wiffen, Darragh Greene and Shane Ryan hitting their target times for Olympic consideration.
Irish Rugby retained their top place in the Instagram engagement charts for the seventh month in a row, with an average of 3,177 engagements per post ( down 63 per cent), closely followed by Munster Rugby (3,048, up 2 per cent) and the GAA (2,884, up 57 per cent).
Athletics Ireland climbed into their highest position of eight in the engagement table with an average of 852 engagements per post (up 39 per cent), as they looked forward to the Irish Relay teams performing at the World Athletics Relays, with the success subsequently achieved, we expect Athletics Ireland to feature heavily in next month’s analysis.
The top Instagram post for March completes a hat-trick for Rugby and a double for Munster Rugby as their Simon Zebo post generated over 22,400 likes and comments.
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Olytico and the sporting organisations featured here are among more than 250+ members of the Sport for Business network of sporting and business organisations working together across a number of key areas.
Sport for Business Partners