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News Analysis

Social media standings: sports comeback soured, NRL scores top 10 spot as Seven's AFL and Optus Sport shine

By Josh McDonnell - Senior Writer

24 June 2020 3min read

By Josh McDonnell - Senior Writer

24 June 2020 3min read

The NRL and AFL may be back but their 'social status' is still suffering, according to social media statistics from Shareablee. Overall engagement for May remained flat compared to April, as all social media engagement declined 19% year-on-year. But a new trend has emerged: 'humanity and hope', which is helping lift engagement for major brand such as Australia.com. Meanwhile radio's socially engaged listeners have turned to the ABC in the hunt for reliable news sources.
What you need to know:
  • NRL has stormed back into the Top 10 at #2 for June month to date (MTD).
  • While the NRL has recovered significantly compared to April and May, it is still the publisher with the largest engagement disparity year-on-year when compared to June 2019.
  • The Australian sports publishers category for June MTD is down 16% on the same period 2019This is effectively 2.8M less actions across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • The Radio category for June MTD 2020 is flat on the same period 2019.
  • Similar to May, content published is down 7% MTD which equates to 31,431 posts compared with 33,880 in 2019
  • Positive news led the charge for social media engagement throughout May
  • US broadcaster New Tang Dynasty Television shared enough 'humanity and hope' to find its way back into the top 10 publishers on social media at #9.
  • Australia.com cranked up the cute and cuddlees to move to #3 which is the highest-ranking the nation's marketers have achieved YTD.

 

Sports hit the posts in June
  • The Australian Sports Publishers category for June month to date (MTD) 2020 is down 16% on the same period 2019This is effectively 2.8M less actions across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Similar to May, content published is down 23% MTD, 15,964 posts compared with 20,910 in 2019
  • Actions per Post are up 25% which is narrowing the overall deficit at 16%
  • Audiences have grown by 10%
  • Video Views on FB are down 33% and Actions on these videos are down 22%
    • The total number of videos posts to FB from the category is down 15%
Insights

NRL has stormed back into the Top 10 at #2 month to date (MTD). While the NRL has recovered significantly compared to April and May, it is still the publisher with the largest disparity to June 2019.

Total Actions are down 42% compared to 2019. Interestingly, the lower order of the Top 10 have actually bucked the trend and actually grown MTD compared to 2019 with the major standouts being; Optus Sport is up 67%  and 7AFL which is up 56%.

cricket.com.au has performed particularly well considering they have no live content in the month. Total Actions are only down 12% compared to 2019 yet the volume of content published is down 72%.

Actions per Post are up 214% which suggests a hungry highly engaged audience and Video Views have increased by 79% compared to 2019.

Key Stats - Radio Rankings

The Radio category for June MTD 2020 is flat on the same period 2019, similar to May, content published is down 7% MTD which equates to 31,431 posts compared with 33,880 in 2019.

Actions per post are down 20% but audiences have grown by 11%.

Video Views on FB are down 30% and Actions on these videos are down 12% which is a stark contrast to the 111% growth in May

The total number of videos posted to FB from the category is down 13%, that is, 3,965 v 4,562.

Insights

It looks like radio is settling back to ‘the norm’ in June coming off the high in May

The Top 10 composition is almost identical to May 2020 i.e. The Aunty Show with the ranking of the Top 3 unchanged and basically a shuffling of the order below that.

The one new inclusion is Triple M Footy at #8 which is down from #2 in June 2019

Although the overall category is flat on the same period in 2019, many of the Top 10 have achieved significant growth year on year;

  • 702 ABC Sydney 150%
  • ABC Perth 132%
  • 774 ABC Melbourne 84%
  • ABC Adelaide 75%

Triple j appears to be the biggest loser in 2020 with a drop from #1 in June 2019 to #9 in 2020:

  • Total Actions are down 69%
  • Actions per Post are down 48%
  • Content published is down 41%
  • Video Views on FB are down 73%
May day May day social continues to slip

When examining the top 10 brands on social media, McKeon says the return of NTD Television and the rise of Australia.com shows, "there is hope".

US broadcaster New Tang Dynasty Television shared enough 'humanity and hope' to find its way back into the top 10 at #9.

Australia.com cranked up the cute and cuddlees to move to #3 which is the highest-ranking the nation's marketers have achieved YTD.

Basketball Forever maintained its dominant #1 position which he says is quite extraordinary when you consider that the volume of content they published reduced by 73% compared to last year.

"They thank goodness for the Michael Jordan doco, no doubt," he says.

The Betoota Advocate won again on an Actions to Fan ratio and The OP Gaming took out the highest number of Shares by a considerable margin.

"The NRL may be back on the telly but not yet on social. For a second consecutive month the NRL has languished on the bench by neglecting their fan base. At least this month they beat Hillsong," McKeon says.

Overall social engagement was flat compared with last month and down 19% on last year.

The Top 10 accounted for 54% of the year on year deficit. This is, however, a marked improvement on previous months as audiences grew by 7% compared with last year. 

 

Socially active sports survive in May

Starved of live sporting events, Australian's still engaged with those publishers that kept the flame alight.

While overall engagement was down 32% this was more to do with the 27% decline in the volume of content published than consumer behaviour.

Actions Per Post were up 15% and Audience growth was up 10% Year on Year.

Ironically it was the NRL that abandoned their fans in May by reducing their content by 65% and accounting for a staggering 65% of the overall engagement decline for the category, "the lord giveth and the lord taketh away".

In May 2019, the NRL was the #1 sports publisher by a clear margin, in 2020 they are a distant #3.

It was cricket.com.au that won the month across almost all the key metrics. Optus Sport took the prize for Actions to Fans ratio, more than 4x the category and ESPN wins the highest number of shares.

Finally, of all the unlikely crazy plot twists Rugby Australia increased its engagement Year on Year by 193% and grew its audience by 132% whilst imploding.

 

Radio relies on Aunty in May

According to McKeon, the last radio survey noted a major swing to AM stations which has clearly continued based on the social behaviour of audiences in May.

"However, it was 'pure gold' for Jonesy & Amanda as the boomers showed the youth networks how it's done taking the #1 spot for Total Actions from the smallest audience of their peers," he says.

"This is doubly impressive when you consider the result is almost 11x what they achieved last year when they ranked #22. ARN's social team, can take a bow."

May really belonged to Aunty with 8 of the Top 10 hailing from the national broadcaster. ABC Hobart at #3 was a standout for its Video Actions and its Actions to Fan Index score, as was 702 Sydney which very nearly took the gong for Video Views which it shared with KIIS 106.5.

Overall social engagement for the radio category was up 35% year on year. Audiences were doing more on less as Actions Per Post were up 7% and total content published down 6% year on year.

Audiences grew by 15% and Video Views were up 111% with the Top 10 representing 74% of the views recorded.

"No longer are the airwaves a sanctuary for the aesthetically challenged and conspicuously absent and completely off the pace in May were SCA," McKeon says.

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By Josh McDonnell - Senior Writer

24 June 2020 3min read