This week, the Los Angeles Lakers became the first North American sports franchise to reach 11 million fans on Facebook. The accomplishment makes the Lakers fourth in the world in terms of Facebook popularity for sports teams, behind the European football clubs FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Manchester United; each of which have roughly twice as many Facebook fans as the Lakers.
Number of Facebook fans / likes has long been the standard for which most sports teams, and other business entities, measure their success on the social networking site. In recent months however, savvy online sports marketers have been using additional key performance indicators to measure the pulse of their audiences. Facebook is constantly changing how content is delivered to users, and like it or not, messages from business pages are often never delivered to a fan’s feed at all. In the case of FC Barcelona, what good are 23 million+ fans if you do not know how those fans are consuming and engaging with your brand?
A much more intriguing number to look at is how many people are talking about your brand. Liking a page has become an extremely light engagement, but how many are taking the next step to talk about your product? How many advocates have you amassed?
When you look at how many people are talking about each sports team compared to how many likes they have accumulated, and the rate at which their fans are talking about them (mentions divided by the number of fans), a much different picture of who the most popular sports team on Facebook is emerges. The following infographic illustrates the Facebook engagement rates of the world’s most popular sports teams:
While FC Barcelona leads the group with over 23 million fans, they have the second lowest engagement rate at 2.02%. Meanwhile, with nearly the same number of fans as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid has more than double the Facebook mentions! This equates to a whopping 4.38% engagement rate. Also interesting to note, the North American representative in the top four, the LA Lakers, do not only trail the soccer clubs in number of fans, but their engagement rate is also about half that of their European counterparts.Does this discrepancy point to lifestyle differences? Level of fandom around the globe? How Facebook is being used in different parts of the world? I would love to hear your thoughts below.