Real Madrid's approach to digital pays dividends with new follower figures

Real Madrid's approach to digital pays dividends with new follower figures

Real Madrid have furthered their position at the top of the social media leaderboards following the news that they’ve become the first club to pass 100m followers on Facebook, 50m on Instagram, and 25m on Twitter.

If you include the various language profiles the club has, their basketball account, and the Real Madrid Academy, the total following rises by another 100m.

The club’s Facebook account was the first to tip over the 100m mark, surpassing that total earlier this year. The club’s following on Twitter and Instagram has only recently hit the current highs.

The news means that Madrid’s following moves further ahead of rivals Barcelona, who are slightly behind when only counting official accounts on the three platforms. Madrid have also revealed that they recorded over 2bn video views across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter during the course of the 2016-17.

Nathen McVittie, Art Director at creative studio Common Goal, believes Real Madrid’s digital success is “a testament to a strong and nuanced digital strategy that encapsulates Los Blancos’ commitment to fan engagement and building for the future”.

The world’s richest sports team have invested heavily in digital over the past five years. In an article published on Co.Create in 2016 the club revealed that they employed 20 people in their digital operations, adding 17 people over the preceding two years. In the same article the club’s global head of digital, Rafael de los Santos, described Madrid as “a content provider”.

When it comes to posting online, quality is preferred over quantity. This involved not posting for a few days on Instagram to see if it had any impact on content engagement (it didn’t), and analysing the club’s previous activity to see the kinds of content fans were interacting with.

McVittie believes that it’s Madrid’s creative approach that draws in followers, which in turn makes them an increasingly attractive proposition to sponsors. They use live streaming and 360 degree videos to show fans footage they wouldn’t necessarily get a chance to see – for yesterday’s Super Cup warm-up they had a professionally produced live stream exclusively on their Facebook page. With multiple camera angles and commentary it’s footage that wouldn’t look out of place on a major TV channel.

Pre-Spanish Super Cup warm-up!

💪⚽️ #RMSupercopa
Warm-up time!

Posted by Real Madrid C.F. on Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Nearly 3 million people watched the 20 minute broadcast ahead of the game, leading to over 22,000 shares, 212,000 reactions, and more than 22,000 comments. And it’s this level of engagement which McVittie says the club is particularly good at generating:

“Real Madrid stand head and shoulders above the rest in a metric often overlooked by those diving into follower counts – engagement. In an age where organisations stack up fake and purchased followers to bolster their brand, engagement is the measurement that doesn’t lie.

“If the club can continue to find and showcase creative angles of the Real Madrid universe, existing fans will keep returning for more and new fans will flock to begin their journey.”

Real Madrid’s on-field and off-field dominance shows no signs of slowing down. Now the race is on to see which club will pass the next big milestones.