The 2019/20 Premier League may only be a few games old, and Tank’s research bods have combined two of their passions, football and social media, specifically the Premier League and Instagram, to create a unique new report.
Instagram’s growth since it was launched in 2010 makes its $1bn acquisition by Facebook in 2012 look like a bargain; a transfer fee which has repaid its manager’s faith no end.
With an active user total over 1 billion, it’s no surprise Premier League superstars flock to the channel to share the best, and sometimes worst, of their on and off field antics.
The global appeal of the league adds to its mystique. A cumulative global audience of 3.2 billion – essentially Facebook and Instagram users combined – watch 20 teams battle it out for glory.
We’d all share a few snaps on Instagram if we took home a slice of that. Hell, some of us do it for free!
Its worldwide domination continues on Google, with searches for ‘Premier League’ reaching an all-time high in April thanks to the down-to-the-wire title race between Manchester City and Liverpool.
A title-winning demographic partnership
When comparing the demographic data of the Premier League and Instagram, along with the average age of a squad from last season (27), you can see a fascinating correlation of a sporting, Instagram-savvy audience.
Source: Global Web Index
61 per cent of 16 to 34-year-olds are Premier League fans, which aligns perfectly with the fact that 64 per cent of 16 to 29-year-olds use Instagram.
Combine that with 85 per cent of all Premier League players actively using Instagram, this gave us an idea…
The good stuff
We could have left all that research there, interesting as it is, but we wanted more.
It needed every single squad. Every single player with a public account. Added up.
Yes, we could have looked at these numbers based solely on the individual team Instagram accounts, but where’s the fun in that?
Our findings have revealed some fascinating data about the Instagram state of play for the Premier League squads for the 2019/20 season.
Analysing every single Premier League team, based on their Official Fantasy Football website squad, we’ve done the maths so you don’t have to.
Dominating the Premier League with 13 titles, but now enduring a six-year ‘slump’, Manchester United top our new-look Instagram table.
Their global brand dominance continues, despite their recent on-the-pitch performances, as they’re the most valuable English football club, and third in the world.
This is supported by their top five players dominating the next most popular four teams, 26 per cent ahead of their nearest rivals, Liverpool. The table shows each team’s top five most followed players and the total for those five.
|Man United||Liverpool||Arsenal||Man City||
|David De Gea 10.7m||Roberto Firmino 10.9m||David Luiz
|Sergio Aguero 12.1m||
Alexis Sanchez 9.9m
|Kevin De Bruyne 8.8m||
|Virgil van Dijk
|Jesse Lingard 6.5m||Sadio Mane
|Raheem Sterling 5.7m||
Michy Batshuayi 2.4m
The Instagram Dream Team XI
Clearly there’s a sway towards the top six, with their squads accounting for 85 per cent of the total across the Premier League. The rest of the top four was made up of Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal, with the relegated teams including newly-promoted Sheffield United and Norwich City, alongside Brighton
Any Premier League research would be incomplete without a Dream Team XI. A starting line-up that dominates the rest of the Premier League thanks to their Instagram prowess.
Composed of 11 players from seven teams, in a classic 4-4-2 formation, the Instagram XI contains some expected stalwarts as well as some surprise packages.
Thanks to their 30+ million followers, both Paul Pogba and Mo Salah comfortably make the starting lineup, with Arsenal duo Mesut Ozil and David Luiz not far behind.
The defence is where things start to get interesting. Premier League Player of the Year 2018/19 Virgil van Dijk is no surprise, likely to be captaining our team, but the inclusion of Manchester United’s Marcos Rojo and Everton’s Yerry Mina inclusions are a revelation.
Considering the talent across the league, it’s clear the Instagram followers for Rojo and Mina like what they see on the social media platform.
The fact no England players made the dream team XI should hardly come as a surprise when 66 per cent of Premier League footballers are international.
Maybe we need to win a World Cup?(!)
Player power on social media
It’s no surprise there’s substantial interest in the lives of some of the planet’s most recognisable footballers.
Now more than ever, we want to know everything we can about our footballing heroes, and Instagram plays a huge part in that. Off the cuff Stories and unfiltered access means we get to see their most private moments, and we revel in it.
Commenting on the marketable value of a players and clubs as brands, we spoke to our client and global creative company, Moving Brands.
Designer, Joel Smith, said:
“Clubs now have the power to pitch their social media presence to potential signings, with the promise of becoming a social and footballing superstar by choosing to sign for a club over its rivals.
“The increase in pre-season tours in the US, Africa and Asia, raises a player’s profile to previously untapped markets that they’d struggle to reach on their own. This will help the player develop their personal brand, increasing off-field earnings through sponsorships and endorsements.”
Smith added, “It also works in reverse, with clubs realising the benefits of signing a talented, but highly marketable player, particularly as these players represent more than just their country of birth – but their continent, mixed nationality, ethnicity or even religion.
“Knowing they can recoup a player’s expensive transfer fee through shirt sales and corporate appearances will put a club at ease before handing over tens, or even hundreds of millions of pounds for a highly-valued asset”.
Now that the research is done, we can finally sleep…
Actually forget it. Same again next season?
If you’re interested in commissioning Tank for original digital PR research, please get in touch.