Tracking Twitter for the 2021/22 season

Over the past year I've been tracking how English teams use their Twitter accounts. Here are the results.

6 months ago   •   6 min read

By Scott Goodacre

Every season I update this site's Twitter tables to track how the 92 English clubs have been using their accounts. I post about these regularly on Twitter.

It started because I wanted to track how many replies were being sent, and it kind of branched from there. Once I'd found someone who could help me with the integration with Twitter it seemed a good idea to add a few things in.

This was then fed into a Wordpress plugin, which is what the site was built on at the time. I haven't invested in getting this converted so that I can somehow use Ghost (the current CMS) to display them, so they're all hosted on a separate subdomain for now. For the upcoming season I'm tracking 10 European leagues.

You can view all of the tables here. They're updated daily.

This piece is heavily adapted - some would say copied directly - from a Twitter thread I published looking at how the 92 clubs used their accounts over the 2021/22 season.

The data's pretty good, but a couple of clubs changed their usernames over the season. There's no way of combining the data if I didn't manually update the username to track, and it's hard to know when a club's done that. So some of it will be out. I've used averages to try and mitigate the impact of it, and none of the clubs at the top of the averages charts changed usernames over the season. Some of the ones at the bottom have, but there were only a handful of changes so nothing's too impacted. Plus it's just Twitter.

All figures are from 11 June 2021 to 10 June 2022. There's a link to the full spreadsheet of data at the end.


Most followed clubs

In my day job, I heavily advise against being bothered about your follower count. It's a vanity metric for most businesses.

For football clubs, it's big business. More followers = more sponsorship income, and it's actively promoted as being A Good Thing if your followers are increasing.

As of the end of the season, Manchester United were top of this particular tree. Their 31m followers comfortably eclipses second placed Liverpool (21m). The least followed club out of all the divisions is Sutton United, with 31k.

In terms of the difference between the most followed club and least followed in each division:

  • Premier League: 31,006,943 (Manchester United to Brentford)
  • Championship: 1,047, 165 (WBA to Peterborough)
  • League 1: 934,796 (Sunderland to Morecambe)
  • League 2: 136,606 (Salford to Sutton)

Increasing followers

Good news for commercial teams: every single club gained followers this season.

The biggest winners, again, were Manchester United who piled on 5,591,260. In total, there are 23,382,506 more followers of English clubs than there were at the start of the season. That's now 148,339,437 in total.

Each league breaks down like this.

I also looked at this change as a percentage of their overall followers.

In this case, Brentford were the winners. They added 68,574 new followers this season, which accounts for 26% of their current following. The rest of the top five is made up of more Premier League clubs:

  • Brighton (23.21%)
  • Newcastle (22.18%)
  • Aston Villa (21.93%)
  • Manchester City (21.07%)

In other leagues, the biggest increases were:

  • Championship: Nottingham Forest (19.68%)
  • League 1: Wycome (13.45%)
  • League 2: Forest Green (18.34%)

Prolific tweeters

Out of all the social networks, it's usually Twitter that sees the most activity. It's quick and easy, and moves fast as well. That immediacy gets addictive, which is why there's often a lot of activity.

Between them, the 92 clubs posted 572,007 tweets (an average of 6,217 each). The most prolific club were Northampton, who posted 11,795 times (averaging at 32 times per day). That's pretty impressive.

Rules of engagement

I'm a big believer that clubs should engage more on social media. Usually, they measure 'engagement' as the numbers who like, share, click, or reply to the content they post. But actually responding and posting comments to fans and followers should take up more of their time.

To count this, I include replies and quote tweets. It's not hugely precise as some QTs aren't to fans or followers, but it's still good to have as it demonstrates them responding or reacting to content on the channel.

Coventry are top of this in terms of volume (3,222 posts), but it's Brighton who win in terms of a percentage of their overall activity (43.61%). That's nearly half of their activity, which is great to see.

For this one, we tend to see the same teams in the charts. Brighton, Coventry, Southampton, Middlesbrough, and Exeter are usually up there. Premier League teams only make up four of the top 20, while there are five Championship teams, one from League 1, and 10 from League 2.

There wasn't a single club of the 92 that didn't post a reply or QT this season. There have been in seasons gone by. Rotherham only posted one reply all season, but it does mean we got a clean sweep.

Only four clubs didn't hit double figures with their replies. The lowest number of combined replies and QTs was from Sheffield United.

I did a breakdown of each league so you can see the top five from each one.

The level of consistency for percentage of activity is relatively consistent across the leagues. Only League 1 drops under 10%, which isn't a surprise based on the figures above the last batch of graphics.

Tweet volume across the leagues

In total, there were fewer tweets from Premier League clubs compared to the others. But that's explained by there being four fewer teams.

The average number of tweets per club in each league was around 5,000, which averages at 13 per day, or one every two hours.

Conclusion

That's it for another season. Some - hopefully - interesting figures around engagement. And a strange case where League 1 is the least engaged league by a little way.

As I mentioned, I'm tracking 10 European leagues over the coming season. I'll be publishing regular updates of these on Twitter.

The full spreadsheet is available to copy or download here. If you use or do anything with the info please do let me know on Twitter at @onlinerule (and you might as well follow me while you're there).

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