World Cup 2018: Who are the most engaging teams, players and sponsors in Russia?

Hookit, SportsPro’s official data partner, offers its definitive verdict on the most interesting and engaging social media activity ahead of soccer’s foremost international showpiece.

World Cup 2018: Who are the most engaging teams, players and sponsors in Russia?

Video-led social media marketing campaigns are now a central element of the commercial activity surrounding the Fifa World Cup.

With all eyes turning to Russia 2018, Hookit, SportsPro’s official data partner, monitors the athletes, teams and brands that drove the most interest and engagement on social media ahead of soccer’s foremost international showpiece.

About this data

Hookit followed activity across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube during the five-month period between 1st January and 30th May, two weeks before the opening game of the 2018 Fifa World Cup. The individual accounts of 745 players were tracked, as were the official accounts of all 32 competing nations and those of Fifa’s 12 official World Cup partners. Interaction data comprises the total number of likes, comments and shares.

The social stars

1998 World Cup winners France made fewer than half the posts of their Brazilian counterparts, and three times fewer than third-placed England, yet drove far more engagement – achieving nearly 578 million interactions and video views. Though they did not qualify for the World Cup, the USA actually drove more engagement than all the teams who did, generating more than 578.5 million interactions and video views from just over 25,000 posts.

The players

Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been by far the most active World Cup player on social media since the start of 2018. Posting 5,039 times to his four official accounts – which, at last count, have a combined following of around 325 million – the Real Madrid star has driven just over 5.1 billion interactions, more than four times the amount generated by his closest rival, Argentina’s Lionel Messi. Interestingly, the top five athletes have driven considerably more interactions and video views than their respective teams despite posting on fewer occasions.


The sponsors

Fifa’s longest-serving sponsor, Coca-Cola has driven more interactions and video views than the rest of the top five most engaging sponsors combined. However, the soft drinks giant, which first advertised at the World Cup in 1950 and supported the World Cup Trophy Tour in the build-up to this summer’s tournament, has also posted 30 per cent more than those four companies put together.

The brand battle

Sportswear giant Adidas, a long-time Fifa partner, has spent big in its quest to dominate Nike this time round. As well as serving as the official kit supplier to 11 of the 32 competing teams, the brand maintains endorsement deals with a host of top players, many of whom have been positioned as the faces of its World Cup marketing efforts.

According to Hookit’s data, Adidas and its endorsers have delivered the most engaging athlete-brand social media combinations, boasting every one of the top 30. Of all the Adidas-sponsored players set to feature in Russia, France and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been the most active and driven the most engagement, generating nearly 72 million interactions and almost 84 million video views from 247 posts that mention Adidas in some way.