December saw Olytico analyse over 7,000 posts and 2.1 million engagements across the Sport for Business member organisations.
Whilst the 7,207 posts and 2,105,561 engagements were 17 per cent and 54 per cent down respectively on the previous month, it is worth noting that in the same period of 2020 when the All Ireland Football and Hurling Championship Finals were being played, the corresponding numbers were 6,525 posts and 1.82 million engagements.
It is also worth noting that for the first time there is a different sporting organisation on top of each of the six charts across activity and engagement on the three principal social media channels that are used by Irish sport.
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 with, 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 % figures are used (unless otherwise stated), they refer to the previous month’s figures.
December 2021 Highlights on Twitter
During December activity on Twitter fell 12 per cent, from 4,418 to 3,873 tweets, the lowest monthly total since April 2021, and this resulted in a 38 per cent decrease in engagements on the platform (from 529,178 to 327,416). Both numbers were still ahead of 2020 however, continuing an unbroke annual increase in activity and engagement on a comparative basis.
Ulster Rugby topped the Twitter activity charts for the first time, their 350 tweets a 117 per cent increase on November with activity peaking on their matchdays against Clermont (56 tweets) and Northampton (52 tweets) in the Heineken Champions Cup.
The province’s top tweet in December announced a contract extension for John Cooney. The Ladies Football account with 287 tweets (-23 per cent) followed in second with Leinster Rugby (224, +27 per cent) in third.
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) December 31, 2021
Cricket Ireland in 10th (183, +151 per cent) kept fans up to date as the Men’s team faced the USA and the U19’s team flew out to the Caribbean for the World Cup, Athletics Ireland in 11th (162, +86 per cent) celebrated success at the European Cross-Country Championships, whilst the Camogie Association (101, +110%) crowned their AIB All-Ireland Senior Champions.
— Athletics Ireland (@irishathletics) December 12, 2021
In the engagement charts, there was no change in the top three placings with the FAI in first with an average of 213 engagements per tweet (-41 per cent), Irish Rugby in second (170, -51 per cent) and Munster Rugby in third (131, -5 per cent). The FAI’s top tweet wished Paul McGrath a happy birthday, generating over 2,500 likes, and the IRFU celebrated a successful weekend for the four Provinces in European competition.
Dublin GAA in 4th (131, +301 per cent) showcased one of Kevin McManaman’s top moments in the Dublin Shirt and Team Ireland in 7th (76, +31 per cent) celebrated Mona McSharry’s performances in Abu Dhabi.
MONA MCSHARRY TAKES A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BRONZE MEDAL
— Team Ireland (@TeamIreland) December 20, 2021
Special mentions to Vision Sports Ireland (20, +45 per cent) as they celebrated Katie-George Dunleavy’s recognition at the #RTESportsAwards and Golf Ireland (17, +9 per cent) who announced the return of the Women’s Irish Open in 2022.
Munster Rugby took the prize for the top tweet in December. Following their victory over Wasps Munster shared images showing how young scrum-half Ethan Coughlan rose from supporter to playing with his heroes which generated over 3,000 likes.
December 2021 Highlights on Facebook
For the third month in a row, Facebook activity fell. Compared to November posts on the platform decreased 14 per cent (from 2,569 to 2,198 posts) and this resulted in a 38 per cent decrease in engagements (from 529,178 to 327,416).
The Ladies Football account completed a hat-trick of first places in the activity charts. Whilst their activity was down 21 per cent on November’s output, their 246 posts held off Athletics Ireland (177, +92 per cent) and the GAA (170, +48 per cent).
Athletics Ireland celebrated victorious scenes in the Men’s U23 European Cross Country Championships as Darragh McElhinney took the individual silver and the team took overall Gold. The GAA announced the 2021 #PwCAllStars Football Team featuring eight of the Tyrone All-Ireland winning team.
Horse Racing Ireland in 7th (109, -1 per cent) celebrated their #HRIAwards2021 as Honeysuckle claimed the Horse of the Year award with an unbeaten season.
Special mention to Team Ireland (31, +138 per cent) who celebrated Mona McSharry winning a World Championship bronze medal in the 100m Breaststroke.
Cricket Ireland reclaimed the top spot in the Facebook engagement chart with an average of 414 engagements per post (-28 per cent). Ulster Rugby in second (406, +14 per cent) equalled their highest finish of the year and Dublin GAA (370, +516 per cent) finished in the top three for the first time.
Swim Ireland benefitted from the success in the pool and Irish Senior records for Mona McSharry and the Mens 4x200m Freestyle Relay Team as they jumped eight places into 11th (146, +280 per cent). The FAI Women’s National League (67, +14 per cent) confirmed Sligo Rovers would be joining the #WNL for the 2022 season, and the Ladies Gaelic Football account (50, +46 per cent) celebrated Vikki Wall’s nomination for the RTE Sportsperson of the Year Award.
The top Facebook post for December came from Ulster Rugby and confirmed an excellent month for the Province across all platforms as their post celebrating their 23-29 victory in the Heineken Champions Cup against ASM Clermont Auvergne generated over 3,300 reactions, 230+ comments and 140+ shares.
December 2021 Highlights on Instagram
It was always going to be a challenge to back up November’s record-breaking month. The overall number of posts fell 32 per cent (from 1,661 to 1,136), the third month in a row activity has fallen on the platform. This decrease in activity, predominantly due to the decrease in international rugby fixtures, resulted in a 57 per cent decrease in engagements (from 3,652,279 to 1,561,589).
The United Rugby Championship (URC) topped the activity charts with 91 posts (+14 per cent), the account was most active across the weekend of 4th December and included this post from the Sharks v Bulls fixture, their most engaged with content for the month.
View this post on Instagram
Munster Rugby (89, +7 per cent) and Cricket Ireland (89, +98 per cent) completed the new look top three.
Ulster Rugby in 4th (65, +124 per cent) celebrated their first ever win at Stade Marchel-Michelin and Horse Racing Ireland in 6th (57, +24 per cent) congratulated Rachael Blackmore on her RTE Sportsperson of the Year award.
Special mention to Volleyball Ireland in 8th (56, +56 per cent) with their highest ever finish, surpassing their previous best of 12th in October 2020 thanks to their #GameOfTheWeek highlight content.
View this post on Instagram
Cycling Ireland (42, +147 per cent) celebrated Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal as they won the RTE Sport Team of the Year Award and the GAA (39, +457 per cent) announced Cian Lynch as the PwC GAA/GPA Player of the Year in Hurling.
Despite seeing significant decreases in their average engagements per post, the IRFU (5,335, -28 per cent) and the FAI (4,572, -8 per cent) held on to 1st and 2nd in the engagement table. Irish Rugby’s top post looked back at Johnny Sexton’s try on his 100th appearance for Ireland and the FAI celebrated an outstanding year for Gavin Bazunu.
Dublin GAA in 3rd (3,493, +133 per cent) congratulated Kevin McManaman as he announced his retirement after 12 seasons with the Dublin Senior Team and Munster Rugby completed an excellent month across their platforms in 4th (3,002, +47 per cent).
Special mentions to the Camogie Association in 10th (their highest position since June 2021 – 958, +337 per cent), their top post featuring some stunning imagery from Inpho from the AIB GAA All-Ireland Senior Club Championship Final, and Rowing Ireland in 12th (854, +82 per cent) as Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy were nominated for the Men’s Crew of the Year at the 2021 World Rowing Awards.
View this post on Instagram
It was Munster Rugby who walked away with the final Instagram engagement award for 2021, their post featuring academy scrum-half Ethan Coughlan, Conor Murray and Peter O’Mahony generated close to 21,000 public engagements in the form of likes and comments.
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