Manchester United are lagging at the fifth position the Premier League points table as the race for the title intensifies between table toppers Liverpool and Manchester City. Of the field, The Red Devils have maintained their sheen. After topping the revenue charts for the 2017-18 season, Manchester United have also emerged the leaders in overall social media following.
Despite low key on-field performances, Manchester United stays the number one Premier League club on social media, according to a report from Newton Insight. United top the list with more than 91 million fans on their Facebook and Twitter pages, while the club’s new YouTube channel has amassed 1.3 million subscribers between its February launch and December.
The study ranked the social media performance of all 20 top-flight English football clubs on eight different indicators, including the size of their fanbase, growth of fanbase and engagement.
Report reveals that Manchester United’s cross-city rivals Manchester City are starting to close in the gap on English football’s traditional powerhouses for social media influence. City were the fastest growing club on Facebook, where they have gained seven million new followers – a figure that accounts for nearly half of total Premier League growth on the network.
Manchester City’s growth is attributed to it investing in Facebook in a manner few other clubs are able to match. The club has a clear strategy to build a global brand and much of the club’s growth on Facebook is coming from regions in Africa and Asia where other social networks have less penetration,” the report adds.
Fan activity on Facebook slumped by 42% in 2018 according to the report, with supporters increasingly migrating to Instagram where Liverpool are the dominant force. Jurgen Klopp’s league leaders have added six million followers in an outstanding 12 months for the club.
Other key findings include:
- Chelsea is the fastest-growing club on China’s Weibo with 1.3 million new fans in 2018.
- Liverpool, Bournemouth and Spurs fans express most satisfaction with their clubs according to the number of positive engagements.
- Wolves, Brighton and Liverpool have the most engaged fans.
In total, Premier League clubs have recorded 2.7 billion fan engagements on social media platforms throughout 2018, while their heightened activity across a range of channels saw their cumulative social following grow by 13 per cent, with 140,000 new fans added on average each day.
Commenting on the report, Newton Insight managing director Philip Lynch said: “Social networks are critical to the global ambitions of all clubs and we’re seeing important changes in how fans engage with their teams. The good news for clubs is that overall fan responses are increasing, but fans aref switching their activity from Facebook to Instagram and YouTube.”
The study shows that Facebook continues to lead the way as the most influential social media platform for Premier League clubs globally, although teams are now experiencing a major shift towards Instagram in terms of fan engagement, which has seen the picture-sharing site overtake Twitter as the Premier League’s number two social network.
Manchester United had also prevailed over Premier League leaders Manchester City in the annual earning chart.